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2 Peter 1:12

Dear Readers,

December 2009

“Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Timothy 1:2). I pray that each of you are doing well. God has blessed us all much more than we deserve. “Praise Him according to his excellent greatness” (Psalm 150:2). 

New Address for the Beachys: We have a new address for correspondence. You may write to us at PO Box 315, Kansas, Oklahoma 74347. We look forward to hearing from you. 

In this Issue

The Humanity of Christ

by Lynnford Beachy

Waldensian Center

by David Sims

Something for the Young at Heart Ye May Freely Eat?

by Jim Raymond

Florida Camp Meeting

by Jerri Raymond

The Gospel in Creation (Part 11)

by Ellet J. Waggoner

"Foxes Have Holes..."

by Kendra Beachy


The Humanity of Christ 

by Lynnford Beachy 

Last month we examined what the Bible says about the divinity of Jesus Christ. We saw that Christ is divine by nature and that the Bible calls Him, “God” (Hebrews 1:8, 9). We recognized that we are commanded to honor and worship Him as the divine Son of God (John 5:23; Hebrews 1:6). 

This month we will discover what the Bible says about the human nature of Christ when He came to live among men. He exchanged “the form of God” for “the form of a servant… in fashion as a man” (Philippians 2:6-8). When He took this new form He, for a time, relinquished all the advantages that the form of God provided. When He was here “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3), “in all things… made like unto his brethren” (Hebrews 2:17), He experienced hunger, pain, exhaustion, temptation, and the weaknesses of fallen human flesh. It is important for us to know these limitations placed upon Him so that we can understand and relate to the immensity of His sacrifice and suffering on our behalf. This is a key component for knowing the love of God. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). 

The Death of the Son of God 

“We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). God did not send just an ordinary man, not a human. The divine Son of God died to reconcile us to God. 

God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son into this world to die for wretched sinners like you and me. This is more than a cliché. The thought contained in these words demonstrates the immense sacrifice that God made in our behalf. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). If God was willing to give up His own Son for us, it proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He is willing to give up all that He possesses for our benefit, because His Son meant more to Him than anything in the universe. When we understand what took place at the cross, it will melt our hearts like nothing else can. 

The Emotional Struggle 

The extreme anguish Christ experienced at the cross is described in the following verses: “Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves” (Psalm 88:6, 7). Christ suffered the worst death that anyone has ever, or will ever, suffer. Others have suffered equally or even greater if we limit His suffering to His physical pain alone. Christ’s death was the worst because His relationship with His Father was closer than anyone has ever experienced. Therefore, the loss of that relationship caused Him the greatest anguish that anyone could ever suffer. As He realized His Father’s displeasure, fearing that His separation would be eternal, it literally broke His heart. Jesus said through the Psalmist, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels” (Psalms 22:14). “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none” (Psalms 69:20). When His side was pierced, water and blood flowed out (John 19:33, 34). This indicated that the Son of God died of a broken heart, not from the whippings or the nails in His hands and feet. 

Christ experienced suffering much greater than just the physical pain He endured. Suffering so great that He would have died even if the Roman soldiers had not beaten Him and hanged Him on a cross. Just before the soldiers came to take Him captive, Jesus pleaded with His Father the third time, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:42-44). If an angel had not come to strengthen Him, He would have died right there in the garden under the load of our sins. His agony was so great that He sweat as it were great drops of blood. This only takes place under extreme stress. It is very obvious that the real sufferings of Christ were much deeper than the physical pain inflicted upon Him by the Roman soldiers. 

In the Garden of Gethsemane 

Christ ate His last supper with His disciples and, afterward, “they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch” (Mark 14:32-34). 

When Christ entered the Garden of Gethsemane He began, for the first time, to be “sore amazed,” literally meaning: “to be struck with terror” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). Something happened to Christ that terrified Him. We also read that He was “very heavy,” literally meaning: “to be in distress of mind, (to be sated to loathing)” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary). To be “sated to loathing” means to satisfy totally (the appetite or a desire) so fully as to cause a sudden violent hostility or disgust of feelings, to the point of abhorring those feelings. (See Grolier’s New Webster’s Dictionary on “sated.”) 

For the first time in Christ’s life, He was flooded with terror, and filled with feelings that were disgusting to Him. What were those feelings? The Bible says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). The sin (along with the guilt) of all the world was placed upon the Son of God. The result of sin is explained by Isaiah, “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Whenever a person sins against God, it causes a separation between himself and God. We call this feeling guilt. Just think of the most guilty, dirty feeling you have ever had, and multiply that billions upon billions of times, and you will have some idea of the guilt Christ was experiencing in the Garden of Gethsemane. He had always done those things that please His Father. He said, “He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). Jesus Christ delighted to do the will of His Father, and He knew that His Father was pleased with Him. He never sinned against God, not even in thought, so He did not know what it was like to feel His Father’s displeasure and the awful feeling of guilt and shame. 

All this changed when He entered the Garden of Gethsemane. When my sins and your sins were placed upon Him, and He stood before God as if He had done the wicked things you and I have done, then for the first time that perfect peace between Him and His Father was broken up. He staggered under the weight of our sins. He left His disciples and, no longer able to stand, “He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:35,36). Three times He pleaded with His Father to take this experience away from Him. 

The Son of God entered into an experience that even He did not foresee completely. Just a few hours earlier He told His disciples, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (John 16:32). He said, I know you will all leave me tonight. I know that I will be forsaken of my friends, but that’s alright, because my Father will be with me. He will not leave me alone. 

But, when He entered into the Garden of Gethsemane, and the sins of the whole world were placed upon Him something took place that He had not fully understood. He had just told His disciples that His Father would not leave Him alone, but now He began to feel a separation from His Father, so great that He faltered under its weight. 

Did Jesus Know All Things when He was Here? 

Some people may say, “Wait a minute, Jesus couldn’t have been surprised by anything because when He was here He knew all things.” But that is not what the Bible says; instead it is a fruit of that old Trinitarian absurdity. [For a thorough study on the trinity doctrine, explaining its ascendence and outlining its dangers, please contact us and request our new book entitled, God’s Love on Trial.] It is part of the obstacle placed in people’s way, by Satan, to hide God’s love. When Jesus was here He said, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father [only]” (Mark 13:32; compare with Matthew 24:36). It also says, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). It is impossible to increase in wisdom when you already have it all. When Jesus came to this earth, He was limited by the human body prepared for Him, and He had to learn things just as you and I do. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). He only knew what He had learned by the normal processes of life, and what His Father had miraculously revealed to Him. It is true that Jesus knew the thoughts of others at times, but this was no sign that He knew all things, for Peter, Elisha, Daniel, etc., all had the thoughts of others revealed to them by God. (See Acts 5:1-4; 2 Kings 5:25-27; Daniel 2:28-30.) 

So this experience Christ went through was truly an experience of entering the unknown. It is one thing to say, “I know I am going to die,” but it is another thing to experience it. I can tell you I am going to die, but I cannot tell you what it is like. The same was true with Christ. There was an element that caught Him by surprise. He told His disciples that His Father would be with Him throughout this experience, but when He entered the Garden of Gethsemane He began to feel His Father withdrawing His presence. The separation grew worse until at Calvary He finally cried out with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Truly He has “trodden the winepress alone” (Isaiah 63:3). 

The separation was so awful that He pleaded with His Father to spare Him from this dreadful hour, saying, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me” (Luke 22:42). He “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death” (Hebrews 5:7). 

Was Jesus All Powerful when He was Here? 

Some will say, “Wait a minute, Jesus Christ was all powerful when He was here, so He did not have to rely upon His Father for help.” Here again is the stamp of Satan, a fruit of the Trinitarian doctrine specifically designed to hide God’s love. Jesus said “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). Right after His resurrection, He told His disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). No amount of power could be given to someone who already possesses it all, but Jesus said “all power is given me.” He was given all power by His Father after He was crucified and rose from the dead, which is very clear evidence that He did not have it while He was here, confirming His own words when He said He could do nothing of Himself (John 5:30). All the miracles performed by Christ while He was here were done by the power of the Father. Every great miracle that Jesus performed, was performed in a similar manner by His disciples or by prophets in the Old Testament, including walking on water and raising the dead. (See Matthew 14:29; 1 Kings 17:22; Acts 20:9, 10). This is no sign that they had all power, but a sign that God was with them, as He was with Jesus. Peter said, “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). Jesus said, “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10). 

As Christ was struggling under the weight of sin, pleading with His Father to save Him from death, He made the conscious decision that if it meant He must die for eternity so you and I can live with God forever, then He was willing to do it. He decided that He would rather die for eternity than live without us. That is an amazing amount of love. Some have been willing to give their own temporal lives to save others, but very few would be willing to give up their eternal life for another. 

Yet, there is another man who was willing to do that. His name was Moses. He pleaded with God for the children of Israel, saying, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin––; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written” (Exodus 32:32). Moses was referring to the book of life. He was saying, if you cannot forgive them, and give them eternal life, then I don’t want eternal life either. Jesus Christ made the same decision. He laid down His eternal life for us. (See John 10:15). That is why the 144,000 will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. They too will love “not their lives [souls] unto the death” (Revelation 15:3; 12:11). 

At any moment the Son of God could have cried to His Father to deliver Him, but He went on, knowing that some would be saved. When a group of soldiers came out to capture Christ, Peter began to fight for Him, but Christ rebuked him saying, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). Notice that Christ did not say He had the power to deliver Himself, but that He could petition His Father for deliverance, which was His only avenue of escape. Yet, He was determined never to give up, even if it meant He would not live again. He had decided to surrender His will to His Father, saying, “Not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36). The Son of God was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). Finally, as He died upon the cross, right after He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), He yielded up His eternal life into the hands of His Father, saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). He was saying, “Father, I am giving my eternal life into your hands. If you wish to raise me from the dead, or if you choose to leave me in the grave for eternity, I am leaving that in your hands.” 

Was Jesus Immortal When He was Here? 

“Wait a minute!” says the objector, “The Son of God was so exalted that He could not die or cease to exist.” Again we find the unholy trinity doctrine exerting its unholy influence. This doctrine teaches that Jesus Christ is exactly equal to His Father in every way. Therefore, it is claimed that since the Father cannot die, then His Son cannot die either. But the Bible says there is only One Person who cannot die under any circumstances, and He is God the Father. The Bible says that when Jesus appears, “he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate [Sovereign, or supreme ruler], the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:14-16). This can be none other than God, the Father, for He is the One whom “No man hath seen… at any time” (John 1:18). The Father is the one “who only hath immortality.” Yet, we know that we will “put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53), many angels have immortality, and Jesus Christ is “alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). 

When the Bible says the Father “only hath immortality” it must mean immortality in an absolute and unlimited sense. The Father is the only One who cannot die under any circumstances. Man can die; “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Jesus Christ was made subject to death, and “died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Angels can die; “everlasting fire,” is “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). This fire is so hot, it will devour them. God said to Satan, “I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.… and never shalt thou be any more” (Ezekiel 28:18, 19). So it is certainly true that God, the Father, is the only Person who cannot die under any circumstances. This excludes His Son, who tasted “death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). We are compelled by this verse to conclude that Jesus Christ was not immortal when He was here. In fact, the primary reason for Him becoming a human was so that He could die for our sins. The Son of God suffered a real death for our sins. (See Isaiah 53:6 and 1 John 2:2.). It was not pretend, it was not an act, it was real. 

The Completeness of Christ’s Death 

There are some who claim, as a result of the trinity doctrine, that Christ came down from heaven and inhabited a human body and that, when it came time to die, only the human body died while the divine being who came down from heaven remained alive. With this view we would have to conclude that there was only a human sacrifice made for our redemption. No matter how exalted the pre-existent Son was, no matter how glorious, how powerful, or even eternal, if the manhood only died, the sacrifice was only human. It is contrary to reason to believe that a human sacrifice is sufficient to redeem mankind, and it is contrary to Scripture to say that only half of Christ died. If Christ only pretended to die when He was here, it takes away the necessity of Him becoming a man, for He “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9). If He was planning to pretend to die, He could have done that without becoming a man. 

In Hebrews chapter one, Paul portrays Christ as being highly exalted, the one who was begotten in the express image of His Father’s person. Then, in Hebrews chapter two, Paul explains the necessity of Christ becoming a man so that He could redeem us. In verse nine of this chapter he explains, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Paul explains the importance of Christ becoming a man, made a little lower than the angels, so that He could die; not so that a human body could die, but so that the divine Son of God could die. 

The fact that Christ did die is brought out even more clearly in the following verses: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation [Greek: emptied Himself], and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:5-9). The same identical Being who was in the form of God in verse six, died in verse eight. Jesus Christ Himself made it very clear to John that He was dead. Jesus said, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). 

In Isaiah 53 we read the following account: “it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,… he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:10-12). 

According to the Scripture, the soul of Christ died; the soul of Christ was made the offering for sin. The soul of a person constitutes the entire being. If a soul dies, the entire being is dead. The soul is more than just the body. Jesus said, “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). 

We are told that the soul of Christ was in the grave. On the day of Pentecost Peter said, “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption” (Acts 2:31). The word hell in the preceding verse was translated from the Greek root word hades. This word means grave in every case. The soul of Christ rested with His body in the tomb. 

The Resurrection of Christ 

The Spirit of Christ inspired David to write concerning Christ’s death, “I am shut up, and I cannot come forth” (Psalm 88:8). Christ was shut up in the tomb, and He could not come forth. The Bible says more than thirty times that God, the Father, raised Christ from the dead. [Acts 2:24,30,32; 3:15,26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:23,30,33, 34,37; 17:31; 26:8; Romans 4:24,25; 6:4; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:15; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:8; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 1:2.] Paul wrote that he was an apostle, “not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God, the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Galatians 1:1). 

Paul also emphasized, in Ephesians 1:19, 20, that “the exceeding greatness” of the Father’s “mighty power” was demonstrated “when he raised” Christ “from the dead.” If Christ had actually raised Himself from the dead, as some people believe, then Paul’s words could not have been true. It would not have been the Father’s power, but the power of Christ which would have been demonstrated. 

Christ did not raise Himself from the dead or else He would not have been dead to begin with, and His words could not be true, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). When the Son of God was asleep in the tomb, He was as the rest of the dead who “know not anything” and whose thoughts have “perished” (Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalm 146:4). 

Of Christ we read, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Hebrews 5:7). Who was Christ praying to with strong crying and tears? Was He praying to Himself? Absolutely not! He was praying to His Father, the only One “that was able to save him from death.” 

It would have been a mockery for Christ to have cried out to His Father to save Him from death, if all the while He was immortal and able to save Himself from death. Christ died completely, Friends, and He relied upon His Father to resurrect Him. He said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46), indicating His complete dependence upon His Father to save Him out of death, and His willingness to entrust His eternal life into the hands of His Father. 

Many Christians believe that when Jesus was on earth He was omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (having the ability to be all places at once), and immortal. These misconceptions keep people from being able to appreciate the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice and suffering in our behalf. If Christ possessed these divine qualities while He was upon this earth, He could not have experienced surprise, terror, or any concern for His future outcome. It would reduce His emotional turmoil to merely reciting words of a play, pretending to be distressed. 

Some have been confused by Jesus’ statement: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:17, 18). 

The same Greek word that was translated “take” in this verse was also translated “received” at the end of this verse. The King James Version translated this verse in a way that makes it appear that Jesus had the power to raise Himself from the dead, but this would contradict over 30 verses that say the Father raised Him. The KJV translation is not completely accurate in this case. Notice some other translations of this statement: “I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to receive it again. This is the command which I received from my Father” (Twentieth Century NT). “Authority, have I, to lay it down, and, authority, have I, again, to receive it: This commandment, received I, from my Father” (1902 Rotherham Bible). “I am authorized to lay it down, and I am authorized to receive it back again. This is the command I received from my Father” (1912 Weymouth NT Translation). “Authority I have to lay down her, and authority I have again to receive her; this the command I received from the Father of me” (1865 Diaglot NT). 

The above translations are correct in the way they render the words “authority” and “receive.” Jesus was not stating that He could raise Himself from the dead. The prophecy in Psalm 88:8 was true of Him, which says, “I am shut up, and cannot come forth.” 

It was an immense sacrifice for Christ to limit Himself by becoming a man to live among us. There was a genuine risk involved. He could have sinned, which would have doomed Himself, along with the entire planet. God’s entire “government” was “upon his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6). If Christ would have failed, God’s government would have failed. 

While Christ was in heaven, He could not die (Hebrews 2:9). But when He laid aside the aspects of divinity that prevented Him from experiencing death, He was wide open for the attacks of the devil. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). The Bible says, “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1:13). Comparing these two texts demonstrates that while Christ was here He did not retain those qualities of divinity that prevent God from being tempted, such as omniscience. Satan knew that Christ was vulnerable, and he exercised all his energies to get Jesus to fall into sin, with no success. 

Christ’s Ability to Save Us 

To accomplish our salvation, Christ was obligated to take upon Himself our fallen human flesh. “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:16-18). His carnal flesh was just like ours, yet His mind was pure. His mind could not have been carnal, for the Bible says, “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Christ “loved righteousness, and hated iniquity” (Hebrews 1:9). He said, through the Psalmist, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalms 40:8). This was Christ’s experience from his mother’s womb. He was “born again” from the beginning of his life as a man. Yet, for all others Christ declared, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). 

Some may say that Christ had an advantage over us if He naturally loved righteousness from the beginning, and all others are born with a bent towards sin. This is true, this is a huge advantage over the unrepentant sinner, but Christ gives this advantage to all those who accept Him into their hearts. Love for righteousness and hatred for iniquity is not inherent in fallen man. It is something that must be instilled in us when we are born again. God promises to give us a new heart causing us to walk in His ways (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). This is what the new covenant is all about! God promised, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33, also quoted in Hebrews 10:16). 

The Bible says, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). I am glad that Jesus has something better, or else He could not offer us anything more than we already have. I know from experience that I need something better, and that something better is in Christ. It is my prayer that you will experience the blessing of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). 

Something for the Young at Heart 

We would like to give you an interesting and easy way to study the Bible, so we are including a crossword puzzle for you. In order to maintain the flow of the study, this crossword puzzle is not split into Across and Down sections—Across or Down is indicated at the end of each line. (The KJV is required.) 

Fear God - Part 1

  • John saw an angel having the everlasting ____ to preach to the whole world. Revelation 14:6—5 Down 
  • We are commanded to preach to every ____. Mark 16:15—18 Across 
  • Jesus said all ____ has been given to Him. Matthew 28:18—13 Down 
  • Jesus continued, “Go ye therefore, and ____ all nations…” Matthew 28:19—17 Down 

Note: Jesus used the word, therefore, in this statement as a conclusion to what He had previously stated. He said that He has received all power, therefore we are to teach all nations. How does Jesus receiving all power help me to teach all nations? We shall see. 

  • Jesus said, “I am ___ ___ alway…” Matthew 28:20 (2 words)—9 Down 

Note: Now we can see why Jesus receiving power helps us to teach all nations. He brings us that power when He comes to live in us, and this power is to attend the preaching of the gospel as we preach to the world. 

  • Paul said, “I am not ____ of the gospel of Christ…” Romans 1:16— 7 Down 
  • The gospel is not shameful because it is the power of God unto ____. Romans 1:16—11 Across 
  • The gospel is so powerful because the ____ of God is revealed in it. Romans 1:17—2 Down 
  • Jesus said the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the ____ before the end comes. Matthew 24:14—19 Across 
  • The angel with the everlasting gospel begins by saying, “____ God…” Revelation 14:7—8 Down 
  • The whole ____ of man is to fear God and keep His commandments. Ecclesiastes 12:13—16 Across 
  • The fear of the LORD is the ____ of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7—14 Across 
  • The fear of the Lord is ____. Job 28:28—15 Across 
  • We are to serve God with ____ fear. Hebrews 12:28—3 Across 

Note: This indicates that there is ungodly fear, which we should avoid. 

  • God has not given us the ____ of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7—11 Down 

Note: The fear in this verse is ungodly fear. God does not give us this type of fear. 

Different Types of Fear 

  • After Adam sinned, he told God, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was ____…” Genesis 3:10— 6 Across 
  • Moses told the Israelites to ___ ___. Exodus 20:18-20 (2 words)—1 Down 
  • Moses also told the people that God wanted His fear to be before them that they ____ not. Exodus 20:18-20 —12 Across 

Note: This clearly shows two different types of fear. One that is godly fear, and the other is ungodly. We are not to have ungodly fear of God which would cause us to run and hide from him. Rather we are to have a godly fear of Him that causes us to reverence and love Him, and turn from our sins. 

  • By the fear of the LORD men ____ from evil. Proverbs 16:6—4 Down 
  • The fear of the LORD is to ____ evil. Proverbs 8:13—20 Across 
  • Stand in ____, and sin not. Psalms 4:4—10 Across 
  • There is ____ with God that He may be feared. Psalms 130:4—1 Across 

Answers to Last Month's Crossword

2010 Florida Camp Meeting 

by Jerri Raymond 

We now have made official reservations for our 2010 Florida camp meeting. It will be held at the Florida Lions Camp in Lake Wales, Florida, beginning February 23, at 7:00 p.m. and running through to Sunday morning, February 28, 2010. This camp is equipped with meeting rooms as well as various types of accommodations to suit any preferences in style or price. They have lodges which are like hotel rooms, cabins, which hold several guests sharing space, RV sites for those traveling with their own homes, and tent sites for other campers. We have rented the meeting spaces, but each attendee will need to contact the camp director to reserve whatever accommodations they would choose. This is the website where you can investigate the options with pictures: www.lionscampfl.org/rentals.html. Go to the bottom of the page and click on the Facilities page to see pictures. After deciding, simply call the camp director, Robert Cage, at 863-696-1948 to make the reservation. For any further questions call: Jerri Raymond at 407-291-9565. 

“Foxes Have Holes…” 

by Kendra Beachy 

Wow! Much time has passed since I wrote, “Here, There and Places in Between” (March 2008)”, and Lynn typed out, “Beachy Travels Update” (September 2008). Please forgive us for our negligence in keeping you updated! 

It has now been over a year since God changed our plans and sent us to Florida instead of back to Arizona to search for property. July marked our third anniversary of full time RV life. I am sure you can only imagine the twists, turns, and lessons that God has directed us into throughout that year. Above all He has been faithful and good. We are truly blessed. 

I am not going to attempt to go back and relive all of the places we have been over the last year. Lynn left off his story in Michigan, with plans to head south, holding meetings in Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee and then Florida. In “A New Printing Machine” (November 2008), Lynn shared that we did arrive in Florida and the ways God was working to set up a printing ministry there. 

When we left West Virginia in July 2006 our plan was to travel for a year searching for a place to set up a home base and printing ministry. The plan was to take short trips out holding meetings, and then spend time at home printing and catching up, the way we used to live in West Virginia. Mold and health concerns made it inadvisable to continue that West Virginia life and, aside from missing the friendships we had formed during the eight years we lived there I never longed for my old home, I just knew that God had a plan for us somewhere else. 

By 2008, a year past the time frame of our plans, I was struggling with maintaining contentment in the life of a wanderer that God seemed to have mapped out for us. Philippians 4:11 took on new meaning for me, as literally I was trying to learn to be content in forty-eight of the fifty states. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” God was providing all of our needs in amazing ways, and I would thank Him for all He had done, and was continuing to do. Yet, my heart wanted more. I wanted a backyard where my kids could play and I could walk barefoot through the grass (this was especially true in Arizona where a careless bare foot ended up with painful goat heads and cactus spines). 

In reality I didn’t even care if I had a house on that back yard or not. I have always enjoyed small places, and have never felt claustrophobic in my current home. The desire of my heart was to be able to have a place that was restful, a place where I did not feel that I was shaking even when the rattle of the road had ceased to rattle the rest of my world. “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalms 37:4). 

For me, the emotions came to a head on a visit to Tennessee. God had worked miracles to get a friend of mine and her family into a beautiful new home. Everything they had prayed for was right there for them. She told me how even things she didn’t remember praying for were there in that house, prayed for, forgotten, then called to remembrance as she discovered them in her day-to-day life. What a blessing! We talked of many things, our visit uplifting and so joyful. I spoke of the blessings that God had so abundantly given my family and me and we rejoiced together. Joy that, for me, quickly dissolved into a pity party upon our departure. 

“God” I cried, “You own the cattle on a thousand hills and have a thousand ways to provide that I know nothing about. I’m not asking for a thousand ways, just one way, and You’re not just providing my friends their needs, You’re providing their wants too.” I remember the thought coming to my brain, “What if this is God’s will for the rest of your life? What if the only place you ever get is what God gives you in heaven? Could you be happy if that was His will?” I am not sure how long I spent wrestling with that question before I decided that I could be happy with His will, learning to be satisfied with whatever He planned for me, as long as He would prove Himself to be strong in my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). The verse quietly echoed in my mind, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). 

Florida was a wonderful reprieve. We were busy with camp meetings; visiting; setting up the print shop; printing, folding, tabbing newsletters; yet, with the exception of the Florida camp meeting, our home did not move from its place until we left for the West Virginia camp meeting earlier this year. We did make a couple trips to West Virginia, and some other places in Florida by car, but our home was stable during that time. I felt I had a place to come home to, and while I was home I rested. The Raymonds and the Beachys seem to be an interesting blend of personalities that just mesh together, and I came to greatly value their counsel and friendship. Jerri and I took long walks, played with the kids in the park, and I was there long enough to feel things beyond the next trip. However, Lynn and I never felt that Florida was where God wanted us to be permanently. We knew He wanted us to be there at the time, and He made that very plain.  

We arrived in Florida with me joking that God had given a sure sign that we were in the right place. I used to laugh that God would have to stop us by breaking us down in the place He wanted us to stay. Blowing sparks from the Alabama border to their driveway, we knew that our home wasn’t budging another inch until Lynn did some work on the engine. Fortunately, it wasn’t too serious, injectors needed a good cleaning, and we were up and running again by the Florida camp meeting in February. 

Sometimes it seems God’s will takes on a life of its own and leaves us to catch up if we will. Lynn and I have felt for some time that God wanted us to have a printing ministry out in the country. I am not sure when God laid that idea on Jim and Jerri Raymond’s hearts as well, but at some point we began taking the idea before the Lord together. We left Florida headed for the West Virginia camp meeting with a tentative plan to meet with Jim and Jerri to look for property in Oklahoma and Missouri in the fall, two states I had never considered before in my queries to God, yet those states seemed to have been laid on our hearts. I used to lay out a map in front of me, close my eyes and point to a state to see what I might think of it. I don’t remember all of the states I visited that way, and yes it is reminiscent of my school girl days, but believe me, I’ve prayed over a lot of states, and never once considered Oklahoma or Missouri. 

Camp meeting was a blessing to all. For a little while, I thought that possibly God’s plan was to put us back in West Virginia! Yes, I wrestled with that too, and yet I felt that if it was His will He could keep us strong and healthy and show us how to live. We pulled into the Smyrna Camp Meeting after a heavy rain. The ground was slippery and God kept us from sliding into our neighboring camper by mere inches. Trying to get our home level on a rough surface wasn’t easy, and one bump too many cracked our windshield. After being informed by our insurance company that it couldn’t be fixed until after camp meeting was over, we settled in with duct tape and buckets, managing quite nicely to keep both dry and put together. The glass company asked us not to move the RV to more level ground because they were afraid the movement might jar the broken window loose and possibly cause the other side of the windshield to break (there was a large gap between the glass and the seal). Hoping to save everyone $900.00 we stayed crookedly put. 

I was at Granny Ann Ford’s after camp meeting when the glass repair man showed up, so I missed the excitement first hand, but God was truly in control. Lynn told me, “The man came, took one look at the RV and stated, ‘There is nothing I can do. If I had seen a picture of this before I came, I never would have driven out here. The frame is twisted, and I am going to have to condemn it. It can not be driven on the road according to Federal laws.” 

We still had some neighbors, Butch and Ann, in a 5th wheel because their truck had broken down and they were also waiting on repairs. Of course, we got together for Bible studies and conversation, and I think we all enjoyed the extra time together. Butch reasoned with the repair man, “You drove all this way, why not let him back the RV onto level ground and then see what you think.” Reluctantly, he agreed, with the condition that if any glass fell out he would not touch it. After sending up a prayer, Lynn started the motor and backed onto the road, up the hill, turned into the church’s gravel parking lot, up that hill to the flat ground. The glass stayed put! “I have worked with motorhomes for over twenty years and I have never seen an RV flex that much, and then level back out!” is what the glass man said after completing the repairs. Praise the Lord!! :) 

After the West Virginia camp meeting we headed to Ohio. We had a wonderful time visiting with church family there. We parked our RV at Lynn’s sister’s home and enjoyed our time with her and her family. We visited with many in the area, and then made a quick car trip to Pennslyvania to help get their printing machine running properly. Thank you to Pete and Missy for having us in your home. We really enjoyed our stay with your family! We spent Sabbath morning with Calvin and Paula Bickel in their little home church. Lynn spoke on overcoming sin, which was a blessing to all. In the afternoon we headed over to Ken and Maria Corklin’s. I always enjoy visiting and studying with their family. I can feel God’s presence in their home. Such a blessing! 

On Sunday the printing machine finally worked. Thank you to God for bringing the thought that fixed it into Lynn’s mind. Ed and Sandy Cyrus invited us over for lunch along with Abraham Westbrook. The food and conversation was so nice. Afterwards I shared some colporteur tips with Abraham as he is hoping to do some of that work in his area. Please pray that the Lord will be with him and with the families with whom he shares. 

We went from there to Melissa and Terry Boreman’s home for great conversation, pony rides for the kids, and an introduction to the joys of chickens as pets. I have never seen chickens before that seemed to enjoy being hauled all over creation, hugged, cuddled and talked to! 

After Pennslyvania we headed back to Ohio, then on to Michigan. I visited with my parents and sister while Lynn flew back to Florida to print the August issue of Present Truth. Then he headed to northern Michigan to hold some meetings there. I was not able to accompany him on that trip, but I prayed that all would be blessed, and I am sure that they were. We then headed South holding meetings in Indiana and visiting in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, then back to Missouri to meet with Jim and Jerri and some realtors.  

Land, lots of it, some too far out, some too close to town, some too small, some just not what we were looking for! There was one agent in Oklahoma with walking boots, knowledge of his property, sense of humor, and patience for our endless questions. He had a piece of land he wanted to show us, and after much prayer we felt God was leading in that direction. 

We then journeyed on to Northern Florida, where we held meetings at Emerald Coast Ministries, and took a short break from travel. Our hearts are with Chaplain Jack Van Ord, and the work he is doing among those struggling with addiction and poverty. Tentative plans are in the works to go back and hold a series of meetings in the future. 

From there we headed North to the Tennessee camp meeting. While there we got word that everything in Oklahoma had a green light, and we left for Oklahoma after camp meeting. The Lord works in mysterious and amazing ways, opening the doors for us to obtain this piece of property in partnership with the Raymonds. He also led us to a good used backhoe, and Lynn has been spending long days fixing the road and clearing out a place for a print shop. He arrived at the property the other day to find that our neighbor had used his bulldozer to grade the driveway. That was an unexpected blessing as we had been considering hiring someone to do that task. 

We have been renting a space at an RV park in Arkansas while trying to get the property ready to live on. We need a septic system, and an electrical source. Adjoining our property is another piece that has septic, electricity, a well, and a steel building on it that the owner has used as a hunting cabin. He recently told us that he is planning to sell that piece after this hunting season is over, as he is in the process of building a home elsewhere. We are praying that God will direct us. We feel that we should buy that piece of property as everything is already in place there to start a print shop, but the Lord will have to make that plain. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. 

On our first day in town we stopped at the local health food store. Seeing that it was closed on Saturday and open Sunday, I assumed that the owner was a Sabbath keeper and asked about churches in the local area. To our surprise, we have been placed in the middle of many Sabbath keeping churches. Two days later we attended a local Sabbath keeping church and met the pastor. We ate dinner together and Lynn gave him a copy of Present Truth with the article “Go and Sin no More.” 

Later that week the pastor called and asked if Lynn would share his testimony at church. He said the sermon was going to be on creation and they wanted an example of the creative power of God in the human life. Of course, Lynn was happy to comply, interspersing words with pictures of his childhood, his druggie days, and life after his conversion, ending with a picture of the newsletters and the web address: www.PresentTruth.info. 

After the service, several people said they were blessed by the testimony. One lady asked him if he had ever been to Australia. Lynn said he had not, but that some of his friends had visited there. As their conversation continued she soon realized that he was the same Lynnford Beachy whose articles she had read, and she gave him her phone number so we could get together later and talk. 

The night before this lady had made a “spur of the moment” decision to visit a friend who lived in Arkansas. They were both non-trinitarian Sabbath keepers, and usually did not go to church when visiting each other, prefering to worship God at home. If they did attend church, they usually went to one a little further away, but that morning they decided not only to go to church but to attend the church where Lynn was sharing his testimony. Because the visiting friend recognized Lynnford, we have now been introduced to like believers in the area. Isn’t God awesome!! He had all of this planned long before we arrived in town, I am sure. :)  

I have learned so many things this past year. I have learned that so far, every time I’ve resorted to telling God the plans I think He should have for my life, He then avoids every choice I’ve placed before Him and presents a solution far above anything I could have imagined while I was struggling with waiting on Him. 

My friend whose blessing I coveted lost that beautiful home during the economic troubles. Another friend who had blessings that I desired lost her job and even faced hunger. Don’t try to imagine the shame I felt. In their trials they are praising God. My friend even told me that while we were speaking of the blessings that God had given both of us she was wondering what it would take for her to live the simple debt free life that I have. Both of us were coveting the other’s blessings when it would have been far better to embrace the fact that God held us in the palm of His hand, exactly where He wanted us each to be. 

At the time I did not look at my attitude as coveting. I didn’t want exactly what they had, I only wanted my dreams to be realized as theirs appeared to be. Yet, it was coveting; coveting her blessing and missing out on my own true blessing in the process. What wasted moments! 

I still find myself struggling with the concept of being thankful in all things. I don’t want to fall into the trap of seeking after earthly treasure only to find, in reality, it has become my greatest curse. Let us seek for that pearl of great price; the true treasure of life in Christ. He has been my greatest encouragement, and is constantly providing for my every need, even though I may not recognize it right away. I pray that He will do the same for each and every one of you, wherever He has provided for you to lay your head. 


(Please notice the new address on the top of page one.    Editor

Waldensian Center Update 

by David Sims 

The Waldensian Center begins a new term February 2, 2010. 

We are often reminded, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37). The cause is in desperate need of missionaries, ministers, Bible workers, canvassers, and medical missionaries. The times demand that these gospel workers know how to support themselves in secular labor as well. This all demands a thorough training in both the secular and spiritual lines. 

The great commission includes every one of us. God is calling you! He asks “…Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). Are you wanting to respond “Here I am, use me”, but you need training? Do you need some direction to know where and how to begin? 

The Waldensian Center will provide just such a training. The new term will begin, February 2, 2010. For more information, please see our website at: www.7thdayhomechurchfellowships.com or contact David Sims by phone at 530-294-1115 or 619-851-0953, or you may e-mail david@historyinfo.net. 

“…ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). Strength, time, intellect, are but lent treasures. They belong to God, and it should be our resolve to put them to the highest use.

You May Freely Eat? 

by Jim Raymond 

(Brother Jim Raymond has been a food scientist for many years, and has agreed to share some of his knowledge with us.    Editor

Yes or No, Please! 

My October entry in Present Truth has generated quite a few responses. Interestingly there were more phone calls than written queries. Most written responses were requests for sources for one or more of the supplements mentioned, yet all but one of the phone calls concerned the hope that Vitamin D3 could help a personal problem or that of a friend. 

Some of the questions were basically: “Will vitamin D3 help my problem?” “Will” begs a straightforward yes or no response. Believe me I can sense the painful urgency and share the concern, but I cannot answer this question with either a yes or a no. Nor can any one else. When dealing with human physiology or pathology nothing is simply that straightforward. Too many variables! 

I have personally known the disappointment of overly confident promises by a medical professional. During my military career in the early 1970’s I was diagnosed with cancer that had metastasized (spread or moved into) to the lymph system. What a great blessing this turned out to be – more on this later. When the lump in my neck was found my doctor sent me for tests. One of these tests was a Picker® Scan where a radio active substance was given by a Nuclear Medicine Doctor. The Picker® machine then measured the radiation and printed a “picture” of the location and size of any hot spots (areas where the radiation accumulated in the body). 

Hot spot? Oh yes! A big red blotch printed out on my scan corresponding to the left side of my neck. I assure you,” said the Picker Doctor who gave me the test, “you will never have trouble with your Thyroid gland”. 

My surgeons, a skeptical lot, were not assured. A few days later they did a full surgical biopsy. The lump proved to be a few closely located lymph nodes which were overly packed with cancerous thyroid cells. In the ten and a half hour surgery that followed, out came the enlarged lymph nodes and all others they could locate, and of course the whole thyroid gland. The suggested cause was exposure to radiation. One of the hazards of the time and the place. 

As soon as the sutures were out, I was back with the Picker Doctor to see if a scan would reveal anything that might have been missed. The scan showed there were some cells scattered about my neck. He claimed that this happened when some of the live cells escaped from the lymph nodes and from the thyroid gland when cut open during the surgery. Some of these cells were washed into crevices during the clean up process just before sewing up the area. 

The solution? A high dose of radioactive iodine. It was not easy for me to understand how radiation could be both my cause and my cure? Honestly, the little sense it makes is still fuzzy, but not to the Picker Doctor. He was positive that any active thyroid cells would lap up the poisoned iodine as would a child with an ice cream cone on a hot summer day, and the radiation would kill the stray cells and I would never again have to worry about thyroid cancer. This was promise number two. 

My next visit to the Picker Doctor proved him wrong again. Shame-faced and in solemn silence he administered the second thyroid cell killing dose of radioactive iodine. 

What a blessing this whole experience was and is to me! Through many divinely orchestrated experiences during the months I was in the hospital (yes months – I shortened the story a lot), I came to believe that the Father was serious about offering me a place in the kingdom of His Son and through faith in merits of His sacrifice, I entered a saving relationship with the only begotten Son of God. 

I believe in miracles. And I believe in a savior that is willing and able to save us from our sins; to write His law in our hearts; to take away our sins, that we might abide in Him and sin not; and to present us to Himself holy and without blemish; for truly our fellowship is with the Father, and his Son (Matthew 1:21; Hebrews 10:16; 1 John 3:5, 6; Ephesians 5:27; 1 John 1:3). 

I may not be able to answer some of the questions the way we would all like, yet I can share what the research shows, and in that context, we both can infer whether or not it may work. And I can hope and pray with you and for you that it will. I am not afraid of your questions; I welcome them (written or phoned), and I pray that you will find always hope in salvation even when healthfulness is not part of your answer. 

So far, I can tell you that vitamin D3 research shows that low blood levels of the stuff is associated with a growing list of very serious maladies such as: 

Autism, breast & prostate cancer, chronic pain, depression, glucose intolerance—type II diabetes, flu, inflammation based age-related memory impairment, kidney failure, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, spontaneous fractures, tuberculosis. 

More promising, is the news that research consistently shows that D3 benefits many of those suffering from these maladies. Caution! Herein surfaces the many variables that make it hard to fit one method or one dose (sun or supplements) alone to all people. Variables like dark skin, scaring, dermatological conditions, and seasonality and weather conditions for instance impede effectiveness of the sun exposure method. Moreover, using the supplementation method to attempt to arrest the progress of cancer or MS, the stage of malady may interfere with intestinal absorption making it difficult to achieve tissue saturation and imposing uncomfortable effects along with the need to maintain a daily intake of 10,000 – 20,000 IU. Adding insult to injury, research shows a possibility of experiencing toxic affects at the high end of this dosage range if continued for more than a few months. 

Sun exposure is the best way to get D3, but for now, if you live in the northern hemisphere, it is going to be very difficult to achieve therapeutic levels of D3 without supplementation until late next spring; second best is an expensive set of electric light tubes that emit UVB light waves. According to the best research, adults need about 4000 IU a day. To consistently achieve this will likely require balancing sun exposure with supplementation (oral or topical). 

You may refer to my October Present Truth article for a general D3 tissue saturation method and maintenance dosage—or contact me if you need more details. I put together some educational handouts for those who made requests to the October Present Truth topics— one page on Rapid D3 Tissue Saturation, a 3-page listing of current knowledge points (or lack thereof) dealing with some of the health problems in the above list and internet links to the supporting research; finally (for now) there is a list of supplement suppliers for the vitamins mentioned in the article. These handouts are available by email (jim@presenttruth.info) or postal mail (for now please use the return address on this issue of Present Truth). 

Input Please: This is my first attempt at relating this field of study to people outside of the scientific or practice arena and I really hope to make this column relevant to you, so I welcome your suggestions and questions about anything related to food and nutrition, food science, and the food processing industry. 

Here are some category examples: 

  • Ever curious about (or shocked by) a food or cosmetic ingredient or a processing method? 
  • Nutrients—vitamins, micro or macro minerals, cofactors 
  • Phytochemicals or phytonutrients or nutraceuticals 
  • Advertisement or benefit claims—truths or myths 
  • Food composition 
  • Food safety 
  • Recipe request—formula changes, conversions, substitutions 

Please let me know if you have any suggestions. 

Blessings!  JR 

The Gospel in Creation (Part 11) 

by Ellet J. Waggoner 

Did I say that we were content to believe that it is the power of the word of God that is manifested in the blade of grass? Nay, not content merely, but glad that we can recognize God’s power in small things. In that we see the assurance that God is able to do for us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20). For the same power that works in the grass of the field also works in the man who puts his trust in the Lord. “All flesh is grass” (Isaiah 40:6). Man is as weak and frail as the grass, having absolutely no power in himself; yet he is able to do all things through Christ, who strengthens him. 

Recall again the “voice pictures.” There we saw that the voice of man can produce the forms of living things; but the voice of God produces the very living things themselves. Not only do the grass, the trees, and the myriad forms of fruits and flowers, grow in obedience to the command of the Lord, but they are the visible representation of His voice. In nature we see the voice of God, and that is the basis of our trust in that word when we read it in the Scriptures. It was not an accident that the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, which is a record of some of the mighty works that have been wrought in feeble men by simple faith in the word of God, begins with the statement that “by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.” Men may smile at the simplicity of the poor Indian, whose untutored mind sees God in clouds, and hears him in the wind. But better far that “untutored mind” than the mind filled with the “instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27). 

To us Christ says, as well as to His disciples of old, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). But how are we to bring forth fruit? By the same power that causes the natural fruit of the earth to grow. That word which said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit,” and whose power we can see manifested in the grass and trees, says to us, “Bring forth fruit”; and if we are willing to be as submissive to the word as is the inanimate creation, the fruit will be as abundant. But take notice that the fruit is to be to the glory of God. “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (John 15:8). If the power to bear the fruit were in us, there would be nothing to the glory of God; but whatever fruit is borne is to the glory of God, because the power is all from Him. We, like the grass, are but the powerless instruments through which God manifests His own power. 

The divine command is, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). But how are we to grow? Just as the seed grows in the ground. Hear the words of Christ: “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth; and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how” (Mark 4:26, 27, RV). We may not know how the good seed of the word of God springs up within us, to cause to bring forth fruit, but that make no difference. “God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him.” Our part is to yield to the divine husbandman; His part is to cause the growth and the perfect fruit. 

The growth of plants is again and again used in the Scriptures as illustrating Christian growth. The apostle Paul says, “Ye are God’s husbandry” (1 Corinthians 3:9), or tilled land. So the Lord says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound… to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified” (Isaiah 41:1-3). 

Bear in mind that the whole thing is of the Lord. We are His tillage. We are His planting, that He might be glorified. But note further how likeness to the growth of plants is carried out. See how salvation from sin—a life of righteousness—is indeed as when one casts seed upon the earth. 

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations” (Isaiah 61:10, 11). 

It is wonderful what God can do if we will only let Him. Does someone say, “If He is so powerful, why does He not have His way in spite of us?” Simply because His power is the power of love, and love does not use force. God wants everybody in the universe to be satisfied, and so He gives to all the right of perfect freedom of choice as to what they will have. He tells them the relative value of things, and begs of them to choose that which is good; but if any are determined to have that which is evil, He lets them have it. He will have free men in His kingdom, and not a race of slaves and prisoners. Such they would be, if He compelled them to have salvation against their will. He wants subjects whom He can trust in any part of the universe; but if He were to compel any to be saved, He would still have to exercise force to retain them in the kingdom. Christ came to preach deliverance to the captives, and He does not propose to deliver them to bondage. 

To be Continued… 

(This article was taken from pages 97-102 of the book entitled, The Gospel in Creation, by Ellet J. Waggoner.    Editor


To view or print this issue of Present Truth in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) click here.

Present Truth is published monthly by the Present Truth Department of Smyrna Gospel Ministries. It is sent free upon request. Duplication of these papers is not only permitted but strongly encouraged, as long as our contact information is retained. Present Truth is available online at www.presenttruth.info.

Editor: Lynnford Beachy, PO Box 315, Kansas, OK 74347, USA. Phone: (304) 633-5411, E-mail: webnewsletters@presenttruth.info.

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