Answerer Book No.5
Questions and Answers on present truth topics in the interest of Seventh-Day Adventist brethren and readers of the Shepherd's Rod.
That everyone who thirsteth for the truth may obtain it, this booklet of questions and answers is, as a Christian service, mailed without charge. Send for it. It levies but one exaction, the soul's obligation to itself to prove all things and hold fast that which is good. The only strings attached to this free proffer are the golden strands of Eden and the crimson cords of Calvary--the ties that bind.
Names and addresses of Seventh-day Adventists will be appreciated.
This "scribe," instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, "bringeth forth...things new and old." Matt. 13:52.
Now "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." 1 Pet. 3:15.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
IS EDUCATION HARMFUL?
Question No. 108:---What is wrong with education? Why does it turn out so many misfits? Am I not taking a dangerous chance in sending my children to school?
Answer:---The trouble is not with education itself, but rather with the kind of education one receives. Yes, there are two kinds of education--the human and the Divine, the natural and the spiritual, the wrong and the right. As man is born with desires to love the natural and to hate the spiritual, naturally, then, the human method of education has been highly cultivated, and the Divine greatly, if not altogether, neglected. Thus the reason for "so many misfits."
It is a recognized fact that the former is actually calculated to train the student, not to produce, but to consume--to be grasping and selfish; whereas the latter is designed to train the student to produce more than he consumes--to be benevolent and unselfish, living for others, not for self.
Then, too, it must be realized that even if the schools were giving the right kind of training, it would be counteracted by parents who allow their children to squander away time, rather than teach them how to lighten someone's burdens and to make a living. So, if there is no mutual co-operation between the school and the home, then despite even a right educational system in the schools, the children would nevertheless be trained to become a burden to themselves, a liability to their parents, and a detriment to the world.
Rather than making their schooling a preparation for life, most students make it a vacation from life. Then when graduation day arrives they consequently have no idea of what they should do next! And even when they do "have a vocation in mind, it often takes them years to acquire the basic work habits required in their fields."
It is a tested fact that during their schooling, students enjoy sponging, a thing that has become a vice. And the longer they go to school the stronger this selfish habit seems to become. And that is why "employers no longer," asserts Dr. Henry C. Link, the psychologist, "fall over each other in their haste to employ college graduates. Moreover, in making their selections, they are often more influenced by a student's extra-curricular activities and his achievements in dealing with his fellow students, than by his success with his professors."
What the present generation needs to learn most in school is to stop sponging and to start producing, the very thing it increasingly dreads. Children should be taught that, after all, the only way for one to be worthy of life is to be primarily a producer, producing more than he consumes, and to be anxious, not to get, but to give, and to realize that such an unselfish, beneficent habit is the very gate to success and happiness.
It was at the time Abraham demonstrated his truly generous and kind hospitality by cordially inviting and then forcibly persuading the three strangers to stop for a rest and a meal, that the promise of a son made years before, became a reality. And Lot's faithfully compelling two of these same strangers to stop overnight in his home, delivered him from Sodom's fiery destruction.
Let us not forget that the embodiment of these Divine principles is the first step toward one's conversion to the religion of Christ. To overlook these necessary requirements while attempting to become an altogether-Christian, is no less absurd than to invite the minister to perform a marriage ceremony without having a willing partner to marry.
On the subject of personality, Dr. Link writes: "Minds are not born, they are acquired by training. Personality is not born, it is developed by practice. But we have no library of scientific books on the latter. The greatest and most authentic textbook on personality is still the Bible, and the discoveries which psychologists have made tend to confirm rather than to contradict the codification of personality found there. Psychology differs from all other sciences in this important respect. Whereas the other sciences have taught us that our previous ideas and beliefs about nature were wrong, psychology is proving that many of the ancient ideas and precepts about the development of a good character and personality were right.
"The keynote which runs through the elements or habits of personality included in this test is this: The child develops a good personality, or at least the foundations of such a personality, by doing many things which he does not do naturally, and many things which he actually dislikes. Eating with a knife and a fork may become natural to him in time, and even enjoyable, but not until his parents have spent four to eight years of laborious effort in getting him to use them properly. Children vary, of course, by nature and heredity; but no matter how good they are, the basic habits must be inculcated by a process of discipline. In view of the inevitable resentment toward discipline which children develop and their inertia in acquiring many desirable habits, every available influence, pressure, or device which will hasten their acquisition of these habits must be utilized. Most parents need every source of help or support available in this process."--The Return to Religion.
Necessarily, to make a real success in life, one must acquire a predominance of skills, superiority in a few, and distinct superiority in one; also a longing desire to please and bless others first, and only secondarily to satisfy himself. God so loved the world that He gave His only son. Men therefore ought also to be liberal to the extent that they, too, freely use their time and energy in serving the interests of others. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Phil. 2:4. In such a happy course they will be benefiting themselves even more than others. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness," commands the Lord, "and all these things shall be added unto you." The one who fully comprehends the operation of this Divine law, and unhesitatingly obeys it, is the only one who makes a real success of life. And the fact that those who make their employer's interest the chief business of their lives are the only ones who receive promotions and who achieve high and responsible positions, shows that this Divine law operates even among non-Christians.
The progressing student needs to test the theories as he goes along and before he learns new theories. That is, instead of applying himself solely to the pursuit of knowledge, he needs to apply the knowledge he has acquired to the pursuit of a livelihood. Besides, the longer a person is shielded from the realities of a working life, the less capable he is to meet them when the necessity confronts him. Such an education can turn out only misfits--social parasites. But true education "prepares the student for the joy of service in this world, and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come."--Education, p. 13.
Hence, parents who would help their children make life successful and worth living, should not neglect to thus train the youth. Then they will plainly see that the right kind of education is not only a fine thing, but that it is everything in the development of good character. None can afford to leave their children without this indispensable education. So if your children are not receiving such a training in school, then inevitably they should receive it at home.
And in assuming this responsibility, parents should ever bear in mind that humans are natural-born spongers. A baby does nothing to help itself. Everything necessary to its existence is done by others. And the only way completely to wean a child from these introvert habits, is to begin as early as possible teaching him to help himself, until finally he becomes master of all his wants. As soon as a bird is out of its nest, the parent birds teach it to fly and to make its own living. Parents who fail to thus train their children are less intelligent than the dumb animals, and most certainly their children's worst enemies.
A certain father failed, as did Eli the priest of ancient Israel, to assume this responsibility and was consequently having great difficulty with his seventeen-year old son. To Dr. Link he confides his own situation:
"My son, I believe, has a good mind, but during the last few years his work in school has become increasingly poor. This term he failed in three of his subjects. However, what worries me more, even, than his school work, is his attitude toward life generally. He seems to think that the world and especially his parents, owe him a living. It happens that we live in a well-to-do community. Many of the families are more wealthy than we, and while I have been quite liberal with my son, giving him a generous allowance, good clothes letting him drive the family car, etc., he is far from satisfied. Now he wants his own automobile, and keeps talking about the many boys in town who have their own car.
"When I ask him to take care of the furnace or the lawn, or to do some other jobs, he tells me that the other boys don't have to do this sort of thing. Although I sometimes get him to do a job, I can never depend on his doing it properly. He has no sense of responsibility or obligation, but he considers his family responsible for making possible anything he wants to do. In fact his one idea in life is to have fun, and his idea of a good time, so far as I can see, is to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, regardless of anybody else. I am terribly afraid he is developing a character which will make him unfit for the world; just as it has already made him unfit for his studies."
There are thousands of such unfortunates of various ages, whose failure in life is traceable to their parents. By doing entirely too much for their children, they robbed them of the opportunity to acquire habits of self-reliance. Instead they have gotten the idea that either their own or another's parents owe them a living, an education, and luxuries which they seriously regard as necessities.
While material advantages conspire to make one's life easier, they make his character weaker. The parents' unrestrained desire to do well by their children, plus the means to do it bring upon them irreparable harm. And thus the sins of the father's foolishness and of his unwisely directed prosperity are visited upon the children. In this connection is seen more and more, the truth in the Divine reproof: "Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." Ezek. 16:49.
It is a well-known fact that as a rule the most learned men are the most hesitant to accept the gospel of Christ, and among the last in keeping pace with the Truth. In this respect more than in any other applies the saying, "Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God." Luke 6:20.
Parents may rid their children of the desire to come into possession of riches which have been earned by others, only if they very early in the child's life start uprooting its introvert habits and inculcating extrovert ones in their stead. In the struggle for character, personality, and usefulness, the children of poor parents have the advantage over those of wealthy parents.
The world's most honorable and its most indispensable men and women, who have left the world something worthwhile, came from poor families. By way of example, we shall remind the reader of but a few such characters:
Jack London's childhood was seared with poverty and hardships, yet obsessed with a driving ambition to become a great writer, he became the famous author of fifty-one books, as well as countless stories. His yearly income became twice as much as that of the President of the United States.
And Helen Jepson, once so poor she could not afford to take music lessons, became one of our greatest singers.
Andrew Carnegie started working for two cents an hour, and he made four hundred million dollars.
The late John D. Rockefeller, who amassed probably the greatest fortune in all history, started out in life hoeing potatoes under the boiling sun for four cents an hour.
Thomas A. Edison, who has been called the most useful citizen of the world, began his career as a newsboy on the Grand Trunk Railway. His first laboratory was set up in a compartment of a baggage car.
Benjamin Franklin was a man distinguished in almost every field of endeavor. Inventor, scientist, author, statesman, philosopher, printer, diplomat, humorist--surely few other men ever ventured on so many careers and worked them out so successfully. Yet he was born into the poor family of a tallow chandler, and had no special advantages as a child.
Luther Burbank, called the "Plant Wizard," was unable to go farther in school than the town academy, and while young began working in a factory.
The life and history of Dr. G. W. Carver also exemplifies the fact that to build character, to acquire an education, and to make a real success of life, it is necessary that one start from scratch, help himself, and pay his own way through school.
We quote from a biographical sketch of this great scientist, as published in The Reader's Digest, December, 1942, just prior to his death Born in Missouri around 1864 Dr. Carver never knew his father and mother--they were carried off by slave raiders when he was a baby. A white planter, Moses Carver, raised the child, gave him his name, and because of the boy's poor health let him do women's work: cooking, sewing, laundering.
But a strange fire burned in him. The only book he remembers in the Carver home was Webster's Speller. He memorized it. Having fallen on hard times themselves, the Carvers were unable to send him to school. He went on his own; slept in barns and haylofts; worked for his food at whatever jobs turned up, took in all the learning that the one-room schoolhouse had to offer. "White folks' washing" paid his way through high school.
He was admitted by mail to the University of Iowa only to be rejected, when he arrived, because he was a Negro. Whereupon he opened a small laundry and at the end of a year had accumulated funds enough to obtain entrance to Simpson College at Incrianola, Iowa. He washed, scrubbed and house-cleaned his way through three years at that school and went on to finish four years of agricultural studies at Iowa State College. There his genius with soils and plants won him, on graduation, a place on the faculty.
Down in central Alabama, at about this time Booker T. Washington--founder and president of Tuskegee Institute--was dreaming of economic emancipation for the Negro farmer. The dreams needed a man. Washington chose young Carver.
When Carver arrived in Tuskegee, in 1896, there seemed to be little for him to work on and nothing to work with. Washington wanted an agricultural laboratory; there was neither equipment nor money. He wanted a school farm; the soil was defiant. He wanted grass on the Tuskegee campus; there was only sand.
Today, in a glass case in the museum are the materials with which Carver made his first laboratory. For heat he rigged up a salvaged barn lantern. His mortar was a heavy kitchen cup, he used a flat piece of iron for a pulverizer. Beakers were made by cutting off the tops of old bottles rescued from the school dump. He turned an ink bottle into an alcohol lamp and made his own wick.
The soil on his 16-acre "experimental farm" was sandy, eroded and impoverished. He sent his students into the swamps and woods armed with baskets and pails. Day after day they brought back muck and leafmold and covered the ground with it. On those acres he demonstrated that the South's worst soil can be made to produce--not one sweet-potato crop per year but two. There also he harvested one of Alabama's first bale-to-the-acre crops of cotton.
"Everyone told me," he says, "that the soil was unproductive. But it was the only soil I had. It was not unproductive. It was only unused."
He found other uses for it. From Macon County's multicolored clays he made pottery, wallpaper inks, coloring for ornamental cement blocks. An inveterate enemy of waste, he turned corn, cotton and sorghum stalks into insulating boards; produced paper from the branches of wistaria, sun-flowers and wild hibiscus; wove decorative table mats from swamp cattails; made table runners, using bright clay dyes for color, from feed and seed bags.
To carry his Green Pastures gospel to the farmer he converted a secondhand buggy into a mobile agricultural school, loaded it with exhibits, borrowed a horse and made regular tours of the countryside. This was the first of the "movable schools" which today, housed in truck and trailer and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cover all of Alabama.
Macon County then, like most of the South, grew cotton and little else. To save the soil and add to farm income Carver advocated growing sweet potatoes and peanuts. Today the sweet potato is a southern farm staple; and our peanut farmers of the South will this year get close to $70,000,000 for their crop. More than any other person, Dr. Carver has helped to break cotton's throttle-hold on southern agriculture.
In his Macon County pioneering, he found scarcely any vegetable gardens, few pigs, chickens or cows. Pellegra--produced by an unbalance diet--was widespread. He therefore preached kitchen gardens and worked out recipes showing how to prepare and preserve vegetables. Today, according to the county agricultural agent, there is hardly a Negro farm in Macon County without a vegetable garden, pigs, chickens and at least one cow. Pellagra has virtually disappeared.
Dr. Carver insists that the start-where-you-are formula will work anywhere. Some years ago he spoke before a Negro organization in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For illustrative materials he spent an early morning on Sand Pipe Hill, near Tulsa. He came back with 27 plants, all containing medicinal properties.
"Then," he said, "I went to Ferguson's Drugstore and bought seven patent medicines containing certain elements found in those plants. The medicines had been shipped in from New York. They should have come from Sand Pipe Hill. 'Where there is no vision the people perish.'"
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He has been called--this man whose parents were Negro slaves--"the first and greatest chemurgist." Million-dollar businesses have been built all or in part from his discoveries--largest among them being a $200,000,000 a year peanut industry. His crop-pioneering puts many millions every year into the pockets of southern farmers.
He has been showered with honors. Thomas Edison invited him to join his staff at $50,000 a year. Henry Ford has given him a laboratory for wartime food research. Last June "The Progressive Farmer" gave him its annual award for "outstanding service to southern agriculture." The Theodore Roosevelt Medal came to him in 1939 as "a liberator to men of the white race as well as the black."
"What other man of our times," asked the New York Times "has done so much for agriculture in the South?"
The world that thus seeks out Dr. George Washington Carver still finds him in the scientific parish where he has worked for 46 years: Macon County, Alabama, and the campus of Tuskegee Institute, famed Negro school.
It is his own philosophy that keeps him there: his belief that there are no greener pastures than those nearby. Science-wise he has reduced that belief to a formula: "Start where you are, with what you have make something of it never be satisfied." Now, approaching 80, he is still making that formula work.
He took me recently through the George Washington Carver Museum at Tuskegee--built from his savings to house the results of his nearby explorations and discoveries. He still wears the familiar battered cap and the frayed gray sweater. His voice is frail and his shoulders stooped. But there are no signs of frailty in his mind and spirit.
In a small field behind the museum he pointed out half a hundred strips of pine board exposed to the sun. They were freshly painted: bright blues, yellows, reds, greens.
"The reason farmers down here don't paint their homes," he said, "isn't because they are lazy or don't care. It is because they don't have cash money to buy paint. The paint that's weathering on these boards costs next to nothing. The color comes from the clays right here in Macon County. The base is used motor Oil."
This home-grown paint, made and proved by Dr. Carver at Tuskegee, is now being used by the Tennessee Valley Authority in a demonstration of rural home beautification in 14 TVA localities.
Dr. Carver was the first and still is the greatest exponent of the use of the South's idle lands and waste products to balance the southern farm diet. This required more than agricultural knowledge, so he learned to be an expert dietitian and cook. His "43 Ways to Save the Wild Plum Crop" is a collection of Carver-proved recipes: marmalade, syrup, vinegar, soup, croquettes.
His famous experiments with the peanut led to the production of more than 300 useful articles. Among those now being commercially manufactured are his peanut butter and peanut flour, besides various oils and fertilizer. Widely used is a pamphlet for the farmer's wife: "105 Different Ways to Prepare the Peanut for the Table," including recipes for peanut soup, bread, patties, piecrust, doughnuts, cheese. With such wider use the peanut crop increased from 700 million pounds in 1921 to 1,400 million in 1941.
Last March Dr. Carver published his own Victory Garden bulletin: "Nature's Garden for Victory and Peace." Its frontispiece quotes from Genesis: "Behold I have given you every herb...to you it shall be for meat." Inside is a list of more than 100 grasses, weeds and wild flowers which can be used for food, and recipes showing how to use them. They include chickory coffee--"some prefer it to real coffee"--pie "similar to apple or rhubarb" from sour grass; "asparagus tips" from the stalks of silkweed, wild clover "for delicate and fancy salads"; grass-salad sandwiches which have a considerable vogue on the Tuskegee campus.
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The Bible, Dr. Carver told me, is as important to his work as is his laboratory. He has two favorite Scripture verses. One of them he calls his "light" passage. It is Proverbs III, 6: "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." The other is his "power" passage. It is Philippians IV, 13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
"This is the only question colored people have to answer," I heard him say to a group of Negro preachers: "Have we got what the world wants?" He told about hearing a group of white men in search of a man who could locate oil. "They forgot to say whether they wanted a white man, a red man, a yellow or a black man; they said only they wanted a man who could locate oil.
"Don't go looking for Naboth's vineyard," he said. "Every one of you probably has all the vineyard he needs."
Let parents now answer this pertinent question: What made Dr. Carver a great scientist, and his indispensable accomplishments possible? Was it not what impoverished circumstances taught him and what his all-consuming desire to bless humanity urged him to do?
It is evident that from the very out-set of their training, children should be taught the value of time and the value of a dollar, and even forced, if necessary, to help themselves and to respect the rights and the property of others--to be builders, not destroyers, not spongers, wasters, or squanderers. Slipshod work-habits result in bad personality.
In the light of the ten commandments, these principles, more than any others, should day by day be instilled in the minds of the young.
"Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul," bids the Lord, "and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them as the days of heaven upon the earth." Deut. 11:18-21.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
Question No. 109:---Does religion consist only of studying and praying, fasting and weeping, preaching and comforting, repenting and forgiving, begging and giving? How can one become religious, and what difference will it make in one's life?
Answer:---Just as the Great Exemplar of Bible religion was the Word (Son) of God in human form (1 John 1:1), so Bible religion itself is the commandments (righteousness) of God in human form (2 Cor. 3:3; Ex. 31:18). But the medium through which the soul comes into vital contact with Bible religion, is the Holy Spirit. And this living connection with the Word of God is the indispensable condition to the practice of Bible religion--the only means of the race's redemption,--its returning from its jungle wanderings to its Eden home. So he who would have true religion, must pray for the Spirit of Truth. In no other way can he become truly religious--become the "fleshy tables," the commandments of God in human form. His living (practicing) them is what keeps him not only from worshiping either false gods or any likeness of God Himself but also from squandering time. Fidelity to the commandments causes him to do all his work in the six laboring days each week, leaving none of it to drag on and on from week to week. And through the commandments, he is both reminded that the seventh day is a Holy Memorial of creation (Ex. 20:3-17) and impressed that he should love his neighbour as himself (Mark 12:31). Thus we see that true religion does indeed consist of something more than merely praying, fasting, giving, and preaching; and that it most certainly does not include "begging."
The members of the Kingdom-church, are, according to Isaiah, to be skilled in their respective trades and professions. As builders, engineers, carpenters, masons, mechanics, or whatever, they are to "build the old wastes,...raise up the former desolations, and...repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations." Isa. 61:4. They are also to be animal husbandmen, vinegrowers, expert agriculturists. And as such, they are to be skilled in the science of management, employing thousands of aliens, not only to minister to their needs and to build (Isa. 60:10), but also to "stand and feed" their flocks and to be their plowmen and vinedressers (Isa. 61:5). Thus it is that the "study in agricultural lines should be the A, B, and C of the education given in our schools."--Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 179. "Pure, practical religion will be manifested in treating the earth as God's treasure house. The more intelligent a man becomes, the more should religious influence be radiating from him. And the Lord would have us treat the earth as a precious treasure, lent us in trust."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 245.
Besides being skilled agronomists, artisans, and tradesmen, these governors of the Kingdom, as living embodiments of genuine Christianity, are to be expert international bankers, economists, personnel and traffic engineers, and provisioners, together handling "the forces" and "the riches of the Gentiles." Isa. 6:5, 11; 61:6. And thus variously equipped with these excellent proficiencies, they are, above all, to be "Priests of the Lord...Ministers of our God"--"men wondered at." Isa. 61:6; Zech. 3:8.
The gospel minister is accordingly to be decently informed in the practical pursuits of life and to be expert in at least one thing. Certainly any preacher getting ten per cent (the tithe) of a farmer's income, should study to become capable of helping him to improve his farming methods in a practical way should ever the occasion arise. In short, he should be competent to assist the members of his church in organizing, correcting, or improving their work and business. Jesus taught His disciples not only to pray, to preach and practice the Truth, to give and forgive, but also to serve, to fish, to feed and clothe, and to pay bills in a business-like way. (See Matthew 6:5-13; 10:5-7, 27; 5:19, 20; 23:3,4; John 3:20, 21; Acts 20:35; Matthew 6:14, 15; 18:21, 22; 20:25-28; Mark 6:35-41; Luke 22:7-13; John 21:3-6; Matthew 25:31-45; 17:24-27.)
But to be such a Christian, a truly religious person, one must first of all organize his entire being, rightly controlling, co-ordinating, and using his strength, his energy, his means, and his time. Anyone who fails to effect this integrated four-fold economy of being, can never achieve any true success. To do so, he must get "sixty seconds worth of distance run out of each unforgiving minute," sixty minutes of maximum application and accomplishment out of every working or resting hour, and peak effectiveness out of every move or stroke. He must, in short, eliminate every wasted motion, as well as every thoughtless, circuitous duplication and overlapping of motions, which bring no results but only deplete his stock of reserve energy. The work of such an altogether-Christian will never be found done in a bunglesome or hit-and-miss fashion.
Furthermore, he is never found living in excess of his means, but so carefully budgeting his income as to enable him to live within his means and also regularly to lay aside a little in reserve for a rainy day. He shuns contracting debts; he knows that the habit of ever borrowing and never being able to pay back, is a species of robbery--lying.
Such a one, whether poor or rich, never fears the future. He unpresumptuously trusts in the Lord for his daily needs; he never has a worried thought "for the morrow." Matt. 6:27-34.
All in all, we see that Bible religion, Christianity, is nothing more or less than turning from obeying the Devil, to obeying the Lord, turning from a life of doing wrong to a life of doing right,--from consuming to producing; from borrowing to loaning; from begging to giving; from cheating to restoring and to dealing honestly; from exacting to forgiving; and from being served to serving.
"True religion is ever distinctly seen in our words and deportment, and in every act of life. With the followers of Christ, religion should never be divorced from business. They should go hand in hand, and God's commandments should be strictly regarded in all the details of worldly matters. The knowledge that we are children of God should give a high tone of character even to the everyday duties of life, making us not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit. Such a religion as this bears the scrutiny of a critical world with a grand consciousness of integrity."--Testimonies, Vol. 4, pp. 190, 191.
"Christianity has a much broader meaning than many have hitherto given it. It is not a creed. It is the word of Him who liveth and abideth forever. It is a living, animating principle, that takes possession of mind, heart, motives, and the entire man. Christianity--O that we might experience its operations! It is a vital, personal experience, that elevates and ennobles the whole man."--Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 421, 422.
All this is what the religion of Christ is, and he who practices it, has true charity (1 Cor. 13)--is truly "born again."
To say it again, every true Christian first organizes himself, then his family, and then his business. And what is more, he learns through it all that some can be organized, while others cannot; that some labor to achievement, while others labor to naught; that some produce, while others only consume; that some are always giving like the maple tree, while others are always taking like the dry sponge; that some bless the world with good, while others live and labor for self and think that all others should live and labor for them; that some quietly practice their religion, while others make a display of holiness by much religious talk and prayer, but few corresponding works, and that some know both when to visit and when not to visit, while others know neither the time to visit nor the time to take leave, and have to be pried loose like barnacles once they are seated! What a jungle is the preacher's problem!
IS A VISION NEEDED?
Question No. 110:---Is it necessary to have a mental picture of the things for which we pray?
Answer:---If we have no such vision, we shall have nothing concrete and tangible to pray and work for. And naturally, then, neither our prayers nor our efforts will accomplish anything. Everyone must have a clear vision of his needs and his aims; lacking such, he goes about blindly, and gets nowhere. Remember that "where there is no vision, the people perish." Prov. 29:18.
All should know beforehand what they are to do, and what they are to become. They should then make certain that their will is God's will, set their goal high, and see that they reach it.
CAN ONE FIND THE TRUTH WITHOUT HAVING TRANCE-VISIONS?
Question No. 111:---Concerning what she writes, Sister White says, "I was shown" or "taken in vision." May I ask how we can believe in "The Shepherd's Rod" literature if its contents were not revealed in like manner--by a miracle?
Answer:---It is never safe for one to base his decision regarding a message from the Lord on the manner in which it is received. Supernatural experiences are not the strongest evidence of one's connection with Divine power. In fact, they are not necessarily proof at all, for there are many doctrines and faiths built upon one miracle or another and yet wholly devoid of truth. And no one should overlook the fact that the forthcoming delusion which is to sweep the world is to be empowered by miracles, even to bringing fire from heaven (Rev. 13:13, 14). Nevertheless, by the Word of God we are warned not to be led away with it.
Neither should one forget that not all the prophets of the Bible had trance-visions. David and Solomon recorded, not what was given them in vision, but what they received through other means. And John the Baptist was called even more than a prophet, yet there is not a single prophetic utterance recorded by him, nor is there any record that he was ever taken into trance and given visions. He was merely an interpreter of the writings of the prophets. Thus God spoke at sundry times in divers manners to His prophets (Heb. 1:1).
It should be noticed, though, that only a small portion of Sister White's writings was received through trance-vision. And the things shown in such visions are, as a rule, prophetic--looking forward to some future event--and, more or less, an addition to the prophecies, not interpretative of them.
Evidently God's people at this particular time are not in need of visions, but rather of interpreters of the visions of the prophets of old which are not as yet understood. And that is what He has seen fit to give us so that we may understand the Bible. This is the greatest miracle connected with The Shepherd's Rod, (See illustration in Tract No. 6, Why Perish, 1944 edition, p. 18.)
But let your faith be not in miracles or in man's experiences, but in the revelations of His prophetic Word.
And now the only safe and sane procedure is to read closely every page of the solemn message contained in The Shepherd's Rod publications. Let not a line escape your attention. Study every word carefully and prayerfully. Be earnest and diligent in your perusal of Truth, and "prove all things; hold fast that which is good." 1 Thess. 5:21.
WHY NEED OF A JUDGMENT?
Question No. 112:---I cannot see the need of a judgment. Why should we be judged after we are saved?
Answer:---That the Bible teaches of a coming judgment no one can deny. We therefore need only to give the reason for it. The true people of God, we are told, are commingled with the untrue, the "wheat" with the "tares." The judgment, therefore, is to determine who are the "wheat" and who are the "tares," and to designate the future of each.
According to Jesus' parable, this work takes place in the time of harvest, the end of the world (Matt. 13:30, 40). And as the congregation of the dead as well as the congregation of the living are commingled with the good and the bad, the judgment takes place among both, first among the dead, then among the living. In the judgment the decision is made as to who are worthy of eternal life, and who of eternal death (John 5:28, 29); who are to come up in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6), and who is the second; also who are to be translated when Jesus comes (1 Thess. 4:16, 17), and who are to perish at the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2:8). This is the first aspect of the judgment, and being only a book work (Dan. 7:10), a work that does not disturb either the dead in the graves or the living in the church, it takes place in heaven.
The second aspect is not a book work but an actual separation of the dead on the resurrection day, and of the living on the day of purification--the righteous dead are raised, and the unrighteous left in their graves, the righteous living are sealed to live eternally, and the unrighteous left to die (Ezek. 9:2-7).
Thus the worthy dead are judged to rise in the first resurrection, and the unworthy in the second resurrection, whereas the worthy living are judged to live on, and the unworthy judged to die. And this is the simple reason for the judgment.
IS IT "HE " OR ARE WE TO LOOK FOR ANOTHER?
Question No. 113:---"He that dasheth in pieces," as I see it after reading Tract No. 14, "War News Forecast," is Hitler. But how can this be, when he is now getting the worst of it, and the allies are winning the war?
Answer:---The tract does not by name identify the one who "dasheth in pieces. Any conclusions, therefore, that may be deduced from one's analysis of its contents, can be only inferential and therefore tentative.
From current developments in the European theater of war, it does look as though Hitler is doomed. Despite this appearance, however Nahum's prophecy analytically fits him, although it is possible that someone else may yet come forth to carry the prediction to fulfillment. And if during this war the prophecy does not meet its entire fulfillment, then it must be that the sealing of the saints is yet incomplete the work of the message unfinished, the first fruits not ready to stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion. This seems to be the only hindrance.
So while we do not as yet see the way in which the prophecy will fulfill itself, we are, however plainly told that at the time "Assyria" falls, the Lord will free His people not only from the sinners in their midst but also from the Gentile rule.
The Assyrian, though, shall "fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited." "For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod." Isa. 31:8; 30:31.
Hence, while the Holy Voice of prophecy declares: "For now will I break his [the Assyrian] yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder," It also commands: "Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!...for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off." Nah. 1:13, 15.
Now is the "convenient time," dear reader, to take a firm stand with him that bringeth the good tidings! Do not put it off.
SHALL WE SEEK ECONOMY AS WE SHUN PRIDE?
Question No. 114:---Should women wear silk or cotton hose?
Answer:---The position and circumstances of some women make very impracticable the wearing of silk hose, and of others, the wearing of cotton hose. But the wearing of sheer silk hose, being neither modest nor practicable in any way, is of course clearly out of the question for all Christians. If, though, service-weight silk hose prove more serviceable and economical as well as more comfortable than cotton hose, then the service-weight are the best choice. But if lisle or cotton, are the more serviceable and economical as well as the more comfortable, then obviously they are to be preferred. There is no hard and fast rule for all. This is a matter for the exercise of individual judgment and conscience.
"Economy in the outlay of means is an excellent branch of Christian wisdom....Money is an excellent gift of God. In the hands of his children it is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, and raiment for the naked; it is a defense for the oppressed, and a means of health to the sick. Means should not be needlessly or lavishly expended for the gratification of pride or ambition." --Testimonies, Vol. 4 p. 571.
"In the establishment and carrying forward of the work, the strictest economy is ever to be shown."--Counsels on Health, p. 319.
A MODEL OUT OF THE WORLD, OR IN THE WORLD ALSO?
Question No. 115:---Some think that the dresses adopted by those who reside at Mt. Carmel, are too long for us who live in the cities. Are they?
Answer:---If a short dress does not constitute "modest apparel" for a Christian woman in an isolated place such as Mt. Carmel, then it would be even more disgraceful in the city.
Any woman anywhere will look far better in a neat dress of modest length and good taste, than she will in a short, immodest dress. She will thus commend herself to the intelligent, and above every other consideration, she will be a power for good rather than for evil.
To begin with, the fashion creators started foolish women wearing short dresses, and the worldly majority willy-nilly patterned after them. And if the stylists should now put the same models in longer, neat, and modest dresses, the multitude of Christian women would unhesitatingly fall in step.
A dress halfway between the bend of the knee and the ankle is a modest length, certainly not too long for any Christian woman anywhere.
God expects His people to be the head, to set the right standard. Therefore, to give an unchristian witness in dress away from Mt. Carmel, where one meets the world's multitude, is even worse than to do so where one's influence is confined strictly to believers.
"You are not accountable for any of the sins of your brethren unless your example has caused them to stumble, caused their feet to be diverted from the narrow path."--Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 256.
SHALL HAIR BE CURLED?
Question No. 116:---My hair is so plain that it makes me appear odd. Would it be wrong to curl it?
Answer:---Since the world's licentious fashions are condemned in the Word, we cannot encourage you to do as the world does. The Christian is admonished to dress modestly, neatly, and becomingly. But while shunning the world's extremes and licentiousness, the Christian should be careful not to go to the other extreme, not to appear unkempt. Keep in the middle of the road; that is, arrange your hair in such a way as to avoid attracting the attention of the public eye by reason of either extreme. (Read Isaiah 3:16-26).
SLACKS OR SKIRTS?
Question No. 117:---Is it all right for a woman to wear slacks while engaged in defense work? Are they not men's garments?
Answer:---If the wearing of slacks should be restricted to men because men today universally wear trousers, then anciently skirts should have been denied women because that garment was then the common garb of men.
But as both men and women then wore skirts the question should not be as to whether skirts or slacks should be always or occasionally worn by women, but as to whether the dress of the women should be precisely like the dress of the men.
Let us remember that there is no Bible command as to what form of dress the church laity should wear, save the command that it should be modest, not costly (1 Tim. 2:9), and that of a man should be distinctive from that of a woman. "The woman," says the Lord, "shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God." Deut. 22:5.
Now if slacks have the distinctive appearance of a garment pertaining to a woman, then they cannot be classed as man's apparel.
There is also another phase of the question to be considered: If the garment is modest, not extravagant, made to meet the need of the wearer, not the caprice of the world's everchanging styles, then we see no evil in wearing it. We think that modest slacks are much better than the short, immodest dresses. But even slacks publicly worn do not afford to a woman that modest appearance of Christian apparel. Except it be on a certain occasion or at a certain work when or where the dress is a hindrance, the slacks must not replace the neat and modest dress that becomes a Christian woman.
If, though, the wearing of slacks is required of one who works in a plant, then we see nothing wrong in wearing them during working hours.
IS DISPLAY A SIN?
Question No. 118:---I think it a sin for my daughter to wear wristwatch. Is it?
Answer:---There is no objection to carrying a watch of any kind. But when one makes a display of it, whether it be on the wrist or elsewhere, it then lends itself to ornamentation, and only cheapens the character of the wearer, makes him proud, and others envious and jealous. When, moreover, a piece of jewelry, worn for display, is of cheap make and quality, it not only cheapens the character and the taste of the wearer but also brands him as a pretentious imitator. A Christian will abandon all vain appearances, and be altogether blameless. If he needs to carry a timepiece, he will do so inconspicuously, as a necessary accessory, and not wear it prominently so as to appear for style or display.
SHALL THE WOMAN LEAVE HER HAT ON WHEN THE MAN TAKES HIS OFF?
Question No. 119:---What does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 11 concerning the woman covering her head? Does not verse 15 show that the hair is her covering?
Answer:---"But I would," says the Holy Spirit, "have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." 1 Cor. 11:3.
Note the order in which divinity and humanity are linked: God, Christ, the man, the woman. Thus it is that "every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head [God]. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head [the man]: for that is even all one as if she where shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn [that is, if a woman will not wear a hat, then let her cut off her hair]: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered [let her wear a hat]. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man." 1 Cor. 11:4-8.
This scripture plainly teaches that a man ought to take his hat off when praying or prophesying (teaching the Scriptures), while the woman should put hers on.
One could not logically conclude from 1 Cor. 11:15 that the woman's hair is the covering referred to. If such were the case, then logically the man should shave his head in order to make the distinction between the two.
Moreover, if the woman's hair is the covering required, then why would the Scriptures say she is to wear it when "praying or prophesying"? What else could she do? And could she take off her hair (covering) when not praying, unless she wore a wig?
The Scriptures therefore make it clear that any religious occasion which requires the man to take his hat off, requires the woman to put hers on.
WHAT ABOUT COMMUNION SERVICE?
Question No. 120:---Should believers who are well established in the message, celebrate the communion service when they meet together?
Answer:---As to authorizing the communion service in our own midst, we believe that since we all, as Seventh-day Adventists, have defiled ourselves as did the Jews at Christ's first appearing (The Desire of Ages, p. 104) and since this sacred service works damnation to those who unworthily receive it (1 Cor. 11: 29), therefore we dare not now, as Davidians, take unto ourselves its hallowed privilege until as a people our lives bear convincing evidence of our repentance from the Laodicean condition.
The lesson in not authorizing this blessed service in our midst at this time, is inversely parallel to that which John the Baptist taught in ordaining and insisting upon the baptismal service then; that is, John's instituting the baptismal service then, showed that the Jews were not ready to meet their King, and the Rod's not instituting the communion service now, shows that neither are we ready to meet our King, and that we must therefore quickly repent from our lukewarmness, buy the "eyesalve," and anoint our eyes. Then we shall gloriously celebrate the communion service, and the shame of our nakedness will not appear (Rev. 3:18).
Those who do not sense this great need are yet blind to the church's undone condition, and to the Lord's holiness. Just a firm outward faith in the message is not enough; its inward work in our lives is the all-essential and supreme work that must take place in the lives of all of us before we can conscientiously and profitably celebrate the Lord's supper. Let us hasten that glad day.
WHAT IS MY GIFT?
Question No. 121:---What is the meaning of 1 Timothy 4:14; "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery"?
Answer:---In the scripture in question, the apostle Paul is urging the Christian to be faithful and full of zeal in the duties which God has placed upon him, and not to neglect his privileges and opportunities, nor to come short of his endowments and capabilities to multiply his "talents."
The first duty of each Davidian is to be faithful in obeying the principles of the doctrine, in doing whatsoever work he is given to do, and by precept and example leading others to do likewise.
Some are thus doing by building Mt. Carmel Center, some by giving studies, others by writing letters and sending tracts and books to their relatives, friends, and acquaintances, and still many others by sending in names and addresses of Seventh-day Adventists to whom Present-truth literature may be sent.
Each must be faithful in his duties, as was Daniel, so that he bring no reproach against his religious profession, but rather, by his consistent behavior and faithful service in the name of Christ, lead others to the message of the hour. Today as Never before, the Christian is to be "not slothful in business," but "fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." Rom. 12:11.
WHAT ABOUT RECEIVING GIFTS?
Question No. 122:---According to Tract No. 13, "Christ's Greetings," 1941 Edition, pp. 5, 6, Christians should not give "time" gifts. But is it wrong to receive them? Or should one return them and thus risk offending the giver?
Answer:---The tract does not intend to convey the idea that it is wrong to accept "time" gifts from those who are uninformed concerning the evil results of the custom, but that it is not right for those who do know better, to give them on traditional occasions. Were one to refuse such a gift, he would doubtless offend the giver.
HOW CAN ONE STAND IF HE PLANS TO FALL?
Question No. 123:---Will you please explain Hebrews 6:4-6?
Answer:---Of those who do not live up to even the first principles of the doctrine of Christ and who do not "go on unto perfection," but who lay "again the foundation of repentance from dead works,... who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away," warns Paul, "it is impossible... to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame." Heb. 6:1, 4-6.
The scripture itself makes plain that those who have been specially favored with great light but who do not live the inspiring principles of the doctrines of Truth are laying a foundation that will lead them back into the world, and that should they thus retrograde, it would be impossible for the gospel of Christ to renew their conversion at "some more convenient season." The classic examples of King Agrippa and Felix (Acts 24, 25, 26) are arresting proof of this.
HOW SHALL WE PRAY?
Question No. 124:---I have been told that when praying to God, the Father, we should always say: "In the name of Thy blessed Son Jesus, Who died for me, I humbly ask, etc." Is this the correct way to pray?
Answer:---Though the foregoing form of address in prayer may be unexceptionable, yet petitions need not necessarily always assume this precise form.
In the Lord's exemplary prayer is to be found the perfect way. There is the prayer beautiful, the prayer perfect, its every word replete with purpose and meaning--"our Father," not "my Father" (especially so in public prayer); "forgive us...as," not merely "forgive us"; "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth"--not in heaven, but "as it is in heaven."
Short, yet all-inclusive and without repetitions, it teaches us to address our Creator by His paternal title our Father, which brings us into a closer bond of union with Him than can any other of His titles. It makes us realize our utter dependence on Him for all our needs. It covers our sins and reconciles us to our Father, and makes us friends to our fellowmen, even to those who sin against us. It creates in us love for His Kingdom, and inspires us with zeal to labor for its coming. And finally, it leads us to do all we can for the enthronement of His will here on earth.
The prayer of prayers, it commands the most reverent study and observance of its sublime principles. (See Mount of Blessing, pp. 151-176).
SHALL WE BE PRESUMPTUOUS AND INACTIVE?
Question No. 125:---Does it not show a lack of faith to pray for the sick and then seek to cure them?
Answer:---Simply praying for one who is sick, with out doing anything for him, can only mean, in the last analysis, that the suppliant is more righteous and pitying than God, and is therefore trying to convince the Lord of His duty to do something for the sick, as though He did not already want to.
When we pray for others, we are not acquainting God with anything with which He is not already infinitely better acquainted than we are or ever will be. Since He knows all about the matter, the reason we pray is not to convince Him that someone needs His help, but to ask His blessings upon what we may be able to do for the needy one. The Levite and the priest did not do anything for the wounded, and were condemned for their pitilessness, whereas the Samaritan did, and was commended for his humanitarianism.
Whether, therefore, we pray for others or for ourselves, we are praying for the Lord's blessings upon our own feeble efforts. If the Lord thereby sees fit to give us the wisdom and skill to bring about the answer to our own prayers, is not His healing the sick through our efforts even more glorious than His healing them without our having to move a finger?
WHEN TO WRITE AND WHEN NOT?
Question No. 126:---Is it permissible on the Sabbath to write missionary letters and to subscribe for gospel literature?
Answer:---While it is well to do good on the Sabbath, yet there are some kinds of endeavor, such as writing missionary letters and selling or taking orders for gospel literature, which, even when done in the interest of the Lord's work, are not permissible. (See Testimonies, Vol. 1, pp. 471, 472; Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 250.) It is turning the Sabbath into a day of work and commerce, not hallowing it as a day of rest and devotion. And if carried on in the house of God, such traffic is a desecration of it.
Though writing missionary letters seems preferable to selling gospel literature on the Sabbath day, yet it, too, changes the pristine purpose of the Sabbath from that of a day of rest to a day of work. On the Sabbath day, God rested from "all His work." Gen. 2:2. Hence, on that day Christians must also rest from all their work.
To help guide in this matter, it should be remembered as a general rule that anything which can be done on another day is sin to do on God's holy day.
The tabernacle building and the sacrifices were of fully as great importance in the worship of God (in the carrying on of the gospel in type in the Old Testament time) as is the sale of gospel literature and the writing of missionary letters at this time. Yet while Israel of old were erecting the Tabernacle for God's own service, He disallowed them to do any work therein on the Sabbath.
"Directions had just been given," says the Spirit of Prophecy, "for the immediate erection of the tabernacle for the service of God; and now the people might conclude, because the object had in view was the glory of God, and also because of their great need of a place of worship, that they would be justified in working at the building upon the Sabbath. To guard them from this error, the warning was given. ["...whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people." Ex. 31:14]. Even the sacredness and urgency of that special work for God must not lead them to infringe upon his holy rest-day."--Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 313, 314.
And Jesus with a whip of small cords drove from the temple those who were buying and selling (John 2:15), although the animals that were being bought and sold were to be used in the sacrificial service.
As a rule, those who think it permissible to write missionary letters on the Sabbath, do very little, if anything, for God during the six working days. They are not willing to give Him of their time even so much as it takes to write a letter. Hence, the letters which they write on the Sabbath are, in reality, letters which issue forth, not from a heart of love, but rather from a desire to save time for self. The common correspondence is often coated with religion in order to pacify conscience and to afford excuse with which to shield the sin of using the Sabbath hours. Satan inspires such acts to make the sin the more exceedingly sinful.
WHO WILL GIVE US OUR PAY?
Question No. 127:---Should "part-time" laborers who are having some success be entitled to any financial support from the Association?
Answer:---Since any true labor for Christ is purely a labor of love, all true-hearted Davidians ever have uppermost in their thoughts but one thing--the saving of souls. They leave the matter of wages entirely to the "Householder" in the certain knowledge that when "even comes" He will give them "whatsoever is right." The faithful whom the Master hires, go forth to labor without knowing what they are to receive at day's end. Therefore His laborers, whom He is sending into His vineyard now, at the eleventh hour, must learn that the work is to be carried out altogether in His, not man's way.
Should the message give financial support to those who do part-time field work, it would thereby be binding itself to a precedent to support anyone and everyone who does anything, be it little or much. Such a precedent obviously could not be followed. And even if it could be, it would only damage the worker and those for whom he might labor.
Consequently, the only right procedure is that all who engage in the work of this sealing message, report their activities to the Headquarters of the work, so that the Office may credit to them the results of their labors. And if there accrues from their efforts sufficient means to enable them to give full time to the teaching of the message, then they might be granted full time status, entitling them to a necessary living expense from the financial results of their labors.
In this call for laborers, all--small or great, rich or poor, learned or illiterate--have the high and exalted privilege of becoming the ministers of Christ.
"Present truth leads onward and upward, gathering in the needy, the oppressed, the suffering the destitute. All that will come are to be brought into the fold. In their lives there is to take place a reformation that will constitute them members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King."--Testimonies, Vol. 8, pp. 195, 196.
Finally, all Present-truth teachers are asked to keep the Office posted as to their endeavors, and it shall in turn render every possible support to make their work a success.
FEED THE SHEEP ONLY OR THE LAMBS ALSO?
Question No. 128:---Is it as essential to contact the newly converted to Laodicea as it is to contact the older members? I am under the impression that those who have become Seventh-day Adventists since the sealing message was first given might stand a chance to come in with the multitude; otherwise, how can the work ever be finished, considering that new ones are coming into Laodicea faster than we can possibly get around to them?
Answer:---We see no reason why those who have lately accepted the Advent faith should be neglected. As a matter of fact, it would be an almost impossible task to segregate them. It is therefore not only right but necessary to take advantage of every opportunity to present the Truth to Seventh-day Adventists, young or old in the Third Angel's Message. Beyond this the responsibility rests with the Lord. He has promised to take the reins in His own hands and to cut the work short in righteousness.
However, in conversing or studying with one whom you know to be a recent convert, you should exercise special care and judgment and tact in presenting only the simplest reform truths first so as not to bewilder the mind of one who is only a "babe" (a "Maher-shal-al-hash-baz") in the Scriptures.
WHY NOT WORK FOR THE WORLD ON SPARE TIME?
Question No. 129:---When we are not working for sinners in Zion then why not go to work for sinners in the world? Has the Lord given us the light for us to hide it "under a bushel," or to lighten the world with it?
Answer:---If we are not working for sinners in Zion, then we had better indeed be working for sinners in the world. However, if we truly understand the situation, and believe in faithfully executing our trust, we should be working for the sinners in Zion with such an all-consuming burden that we would at present have neither time nor energy left to work for the sinners in the world, save for such as those represented by the "Syrophenician" woman (Mark 7:26). Then we shall be doing our full part in the calling of the 144,000 to their task, and thus hastening the time of the ingathering of the great multitude from the world--the day of the Loud Cry.
WHAT TRACTS ARE FOR OUTSIDERS?
Question No. 130:---Which of "The Shepherd's Rod" series of tracts are suitable to give those who are not members of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination?
Answer:---The Shepherd's Rod literature is designed for Seventh-day Adventists, but should occasion demand giving some to non-Adventists, Tracts No. 12, 13, and 14 are best adapted.
WHAT TO STUDY?
Question No. 131:---Should the subjects contained in "The Shepherd's Rod" publications or those contained In other works, be studied in our Sabbath meetings?
Answer:---If The Shepherd's Rod contains the message of the hour, then it takes precedence over every other truth for the Spirit of Prophecy says, "It is 'present truth' that the flock needs now."--Early Writings, p. 63. "'These things [the sealing of the saints] should engross the whole mind, the whole attention.'"--Early Writings, p. 118. "Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 118.
IS IT SAFE TO CHALLENGE?
Question No. 132:---If we are to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good," and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is in us, then ought we not challenge those who are enemies of "The Shepherd's Rod" to prove it in error?
Answer:---Even those who have settled it once and for all that The Shepherd's Rod contains a heaven-sent message, not to mention those who are incapable of defending it in all its aspects, are in no wise justified in exposing their precious jewel of Truth to the Enemy, whose only aim is to take it away from them. Especially so when he is not coming with a promise to give them something that will replace that which they already have. They cannot afford to invite his challenge to prove whether or not he can cheat them of their treasure. When it is gone, the "proof" will be sad consolation! Placing themselves thus on Satan's vantage ground will make them guilty not only of the folly of presumptuousness but waste of time and of energy as well. It will be but inviting the Devil to rob them of eternal life.
All of us must guard our heavenly treasure with the utmost care, and preserve our faith by studying to give an answer to every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is in us, but not by challenging him to ply us with deceitful questions, and then debating with him.
If, though, for any compelling reason you assume the risk of meeting the Enemy in this great spiritual warfare, then you must at least hold him to answer to the whole Truth; do not let him switch you to some certain moot point which no one, perhaps, at the moment could clear. Do not permit yourself to be backed into a defensive position, but rather keep yourself on the offensive, yet never debate.
Do not forget that the Enemy who seeks to take your crown is mightier than you, and that therefore if you are not absolutely settled on the message, then by all means rather than to study with its enemies, go study with its friends. Not until you have thus done all to let the messengers prove it right, and are still convinced that it is not Present Truth, can you rightly study with its opposers. Do all to make sure that someone does not cheat you of a message from the Lord. Let "no man take thy crown." Rev. 3:11.
Remember that if there is someone ready to undermine one truth, there is another one ready to undermine another truth, and so on and on. In fact, the Enemy is ready to dynamite every truth in existence, even the Bible Itself, if you but give him the chance. Certain it is, though, that Satan does not begin to have as much room for an argument against the Rod's truths as Sunday keepers have against the Sabbath truth.
Ever bear in mind that "the efforts made to retard the progress of truth will serve to extend it" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 454), and that you will be promoted with it if you faithfully keep in the middle of the road, not running ahead with a zeal that is not according to knowledge.
"Our convictions need daily to be re-enforced by humble, sincere prayer and reading of the word. While we each have an individuality, while we each should hold our convictions firmly, we must hold them as God's truth and in the strength which God imparts. If we do not, they will be wrung from our grasp."--Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 401.
Hence, for one who is settled in the Truth and who is searching for more, to challenge the Enemy, is like putting one's sword in his hand and daring him to cut off one's head.
Never challenge, therefore, but ever be ready to give the right answer intelligently and convincingly to every man; never debate, but always teach the Truth; never go to an enemy or to a non-believer of a message to prove it right or to prove it wrong; rather, do all your proving with its friends, with its authors--those who know all about it.
WHAT IS MEANT BY "THAT WHICH IS PUBLISHED"?
Question No. 133:---"The Symbolic Code" says: "Teach only that which is published." Will you please explain whether this restriction is Intended to include Bible, Spirit of Prophecy, and "The Shepherd's Rod" literature, all together, or just the writings of the "Rod"?
Answer:---The Bible and the books of the Spirit of Prophecy being the sole source of The Shepherd's Rod message, therefore when the Rod is taught, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy are taught. And since none but the Spirit of Truth who transmitted the mysteries of Inspiration can interpret them, then those who attempt to teach them without this Inspired interpretational authority inevitably fall into the forbidden practice of private interpretation (2 Pet. 1:20)--the great evil which has brought Christendom into its present almost-boundless state of schism and consequent confusion, strife, and impotency.
As we dare not follow in such a path, we must therefore, as teachers of The Shepherd's Rod (the official publications of the Davidian Seventh-day Association), teach only in the light of the Rod those passages which in one way or another need to be interpreted. Thus only will all Present-truth believers ever become of the same mind, seeing eye to eye and speaking the same things (1 Cor. 1:10; 1 Pet. 3:8; Isa. 52:8).
And such as do choose to engage in private interpretation are respectfully asked to desist from teaching in the name of the Rod and at its expense. Let them like honest men, teach in their own names and at their own expense.
HOW TO PROVE THAT THE SLAUGHTER IS LITERAL?
Question No. 134:---How can I prove to a Seventh-day Adventist that the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 is literal?
Answer:---First call his attention to the fact that the Lord Himself was at the threshold of the earthly house while the slaughter took place therein. Carefully study Tract No. 1, The Dardanelles of the Bible, treating of the event as seen by the prophet, and get this point along with kindred ones well fixed in the mind.
Second, acquaint him with Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 211, which says: "Here we see that the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God."
Then approaching the subject from another angle, introduce the Spirit of Prophecy evidence which reveals that when the message of Ezekiel 9 is proclaimed to the church, some will deny its literal fulfillment, saying: "He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment."--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 211. And consequently is written the sad pronouncement: "They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days. Times have changed." --Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 211. To say that the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 is not literal, is to say, "The church will never feel the stroke of God. We need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days." Those who say this, are condemned for denying the plain warning of the literal, miraculous, slaughter described by Ezekiel.
Third, from Isaiah 66:16, 19, 20 show that the slaying mentioned in verse 16 is to be literal, for those that escape are to be literally sent to all the nations, to proclaim His glory and His fame. Furthermore, that this literal slaughter is in the church only, is seen from the fact that those who "escape of them" are God's servants whom subsequently He sends to the Gentiles. If, though, the slaughter is not literal, then for what purpose will it be, and from what will they "escape"? Ezekiel saw them as literally slain (Ezek. 9:8).
ARE ALL THE GIFTS AMONG US NOW?
Question No. 135:---From Brother ______'s teaching that the gift of healing is not yet among us, but will be restored after the church's purification, are we to understand also that the gift of teaching has not yet been restored? If this is not to be inferred, then do teachers of "The Shepherd's Rod" have the gift now?
Answer:---"Christ is the same compassionate physician now," declares the Spirit of Prophecy, "that He was during His earthly ministry. In Him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as the disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow; for 'the prayer of faith shall save the sick.'"--Ministry of Healing, p. 226.
Brother______ did not intend to convey the impression that there is no gift of healing among God's people now, but simply that the great miracles of healing, foreshadowed by those wrought in the time of the early Christian church, are yet future.
Concerning the gift of teaching, we read: "And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers." Isa. 30:20.
When the church is purified, her teachers will be recipients of a greater pentecostal power than were even the 120 disciples. This is clearly seen from Joel's prophecy of the latter rain, which comes as a teacher of righteousness (Joel 2:23 margin), and which invests its recipients with the power (Joel 2:28) finally to proclaim that righteousness throughout the world. (See also Early Writings, pp. 277, 278).
WHAT WILL THE PRUDENT MAN DO?
Question No. 136:---What is one to do now when money was never so easily earned, but when prices are sky-high? Is he thus to spend everything he makes, or is he to deprive himself of such extravagance and save all he can? And where shall he deposit his earnings?
Answer:---From past experience, the wise have learned the inexorableness of life's law of inflation and depression. They know that the abnormal amount of money In circulation swells the demand for goods beyond what the market can supply, and thus sends prices sky-rocketing. They recognize in this a warning signal of impending financial disaster.
The prudent also know that the wild orgy of spending everything they make must sooner or later end in an upheaval of privations, sorrows and regrets,--the shattering of many homes. So the wise take steps beforehand to insure themselves against the inevitable day of economic eruption. In time of price inflation they will sternly deny the mania for making more luxurious their present standard of living. And in this time of stepped-up money circulation they will lay by, save rather than spend. They will not fall into that careless attitude befitting only the lowest forms of animal life,--of "feast today and famine tomorrow"; nor will they join with them who say, "let us eat, drink and be merry [spend our money as fast as we make it] for tomorrow we die."
Anyone now boarding the pleasure-boat on its gay excursion down the stream of least resistance, is sure to be sucked into an inextricable maelstrom of financial mismanagement. Too late, he will find himself a victim of his arrant improvidence--rank presumption. The mental likeness of such a one may be compared only to that of a senseless leech--that stupid little water creature which listlessly starves itself when there is nothing convenient for it to fasten to, and then kills itself from over-eating when something finally comes its way. This form of prodigality is of the worst kind because for such there is no "father's house" to return to.
If the experiential criterion that history repeats itself is to be acknowledged, then out of this war must come a transition period with its inevitable depression. A dollar now is easily earned; and a dollar saved now may be worth two or three dollars after the war, when money may become even scarcer than it has ever been. So now is the time to spend as little as possible and to lay aside as much as possible. Now is the time of plenty in which to reap a harvest and to store it for the time of need that lies ahead--not to consume it on "whatsoever the soul lusteth after."
Beyond whatever necessary expenditures and increasing deductions one may have--Income Tax, Victory Tax, War Bonds, Social Security, tithes and offerings--every wise wage-earner will every week put aside a certain amount in savings, no matter how small, and tenaciously determine to allow nothing to divert him from this plan, and nothing to diminish this fund. This, however, one will find very hard to do, owing to temptations of spending, and to clever business men who have spent a lifetime studying how to exploit the other fellow's savings. The Association has therefore prepared special Bequeathment Certificates which will assure the holder a nest-egg for a "rainy day," or insure him against financial disaster in the days of old age.
The busy bee stores and saves its honey during the summer months. Then when winter comes, she has not only enough to carry her through the hard spell but also even some to spare for her keeper. Present-truth believers should not be less wise than a little insignificant bee! Let the Bequeathment Certificate be your reminder that where the moths cannot enter and where the thieves cannot break through, is the safest place to deposit your treasure. And a little of such foresight now will make it immeasurably easier on the Father's house when the strenuous times come, because you can then draw on your own reserve fund on your Certificate. It may be impossible then for the Association to serve all the unfortunate ones; and those who make no provision in this little time of seeming prosperity, may feel embarrassed then. Of course, none but those who hold a Certificate of Fellowship can invest in the Bequeathment Certificate--share in this divinely dedicated savings system and consecrated social security.
IS IT TAXABLE?
Question No. 137:---Is my "Bequeathment Certificate" subject to tax?
Answer:---The Bequeathment Certificate herewith reproduced, clearly certifies that money thus placed with the General Association of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists does not represent a savings deposit, but a bequeathment, in consideration of which the Association voluntarily binds itself, in a sense of moral obligation, to assist the certificate-holding members at least to the amount they bequeath and deposit. And bequeathments are not taxable.
WHAT ABOUT GOVERNMENT BENEFITS?
Question No. 138:---Is it wrong for a Christian to accept support from government relief agencies?
Answer:---Under federal pension and social welfare provisions, the government's old age and relief funds are just as legitimately available to its citizens who are church members as to its citizens who are not church members. Thus the Christian as a citizen has no less moral right to accept relief from his government than as a church member he has right to accept relief from his church.
SHOULD A CHRISTIAN JOIN LABOR UNIONS?
Question No. 139:---What should be our position as to Labor Unions?
Answer:---Though in their formative years Unions neither had the power nor exercised the pressure which they do now, yet even then men were arduously at work to make them what they now are. So to safeguard the true believer from becoming compromised by their dictates and thus involved in their strikes and picketings (not to restrain him from paying to them a part of his wages if they compel him to), the Testimonies forbid his taking part in furthering their unchristian purpose. (See Testimonies, Vol. 7, p. 84).
In persecuting Jesus and His followers, the Roman and the Jewish governments were doing a thing even more unrighteous than the Unions are doing today in coercing labor into their ranks, yet Jesus directed His followers then to pay tax to Caesar. So we must conclude that if one is required to pay a fee while working at a trade which permits no "open shop," he therefore has no alternative to meeting this necessity as one of the shop's requirements, regardless whether the Union be a good or a bad organization. Thus, though in order to hold his job in support of himself and his family, he may pay the fee which the Unions exact for the opportunity to labor, yet he should not participate in any of their activities and functions--political, social, or otherwise. In short, he will not have any fraternal connection whatsoever with them.
Under such circumstances, there is no difference in paying Union dues, state tax, or some other necessary expense, fee, or cost in order to keep at work. In view of this, those who follow in the light will pay Union dues only as they have to, and will discontinue paying them as soon as possible.
IS IT WRONG TO CARRY PROPERTY INSURANCE?
Question No. 140:---"Testimonies," Vol. 1, pp. 549-551, speaks against insurance. Does it mean to include property insurance?
Answer:---The statement in question deals only with life insurance. As we know of no restriction on one's carrying property insurance, the decision must rest with the individual.
WHAT ABOUT BUYING DEFENSE BONDS?
Question No. 141:---Are either Mt. Carmel's workers or the institution itself buying United States Defense Savings Bonds?
Answer:---As workers in a religious-charity institution working in common for a bare subsistence wage the residents here, from the lowest to the highest, are consequently without margin of buying power for any but the veriest necessities of life. No one, therefore, has earning capacity sufficient to enable him to make any kind of monetary investment.
The institution itself, being strictly a charitable organization in its entirety, is in a similar circumstance. Being a non-profit-making medium through which its members do their appointed work by contributing to it from their income, that it may feed, house, and clothe its workers, print religious literature, and disseminate it free of charge throughout the world, it consequently does not have funds of its own. So it cannot morally, even if it could financially, make any investment not put to this constituted purpose, however commendable that investment in itself might be.
Nevertheless, the institution in carrying on its regular work for the good of others, not to its own profit, is purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of postage stamps each month. Thus, though it is not in a position to help directly (through purchasing United States Defense Savings Bonds) in the defense program, it is doing its part indirectly (through purchasing United States postage stamps), its money simply going into another compartment of the same national till, from which it does not, of course, receive either interest or principal.
SALUTE OR NOT?
Question No. 142:---Is it wrong to salute the flag?
Answer:---"Render...unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's," "...to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man anything." Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:7, 8.
When "the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom;...they could find none occasion nor fault." Dan. 6:4. Finding him thus faultless, his enemies "consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of" the king, should "be cast into the den of lions." Dan. 6:7. By securing the king's signature on the decree, they sought to effect a situation that must necessarily involve Daniel in an act of rebellion against his king. They knew that though he purposed to render unfailing allegiance to the king, he would not do so at the price of showing disloyalty to his God. Daniel therefore continued to petition his God as he was wont to do, with the result that he was cast into the den of lions. But the One to Whom he prayed saved his life from the hungry beasts.
Then there is the notable case of Joseph who for his unswerving loyalty to the government of Egypt, was exalted to a position sharing the throne with Pharaoh.
From these and other Bible incidents, we recognize that anyone's loyalty to his government is his real pledge of allegiance to it--a salute to its flag.
All together therefore, we see that while on the one hand one's disloyalty to God is a sin against Him, on the other hand one's disloyalty to his government is a sin against it, and indirectly against God also: for disloyalty to one's government is disobedience to the Lord's express command: "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work. Tit. 3:1. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well." 1 Pet. 2:13, 14. "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Rom. 13:1, 2.
As the flag is not an idol or a fetish but a symbol a standard, the salute to it is not idol-worship, as some think, but rather public confession of one's loyalty to his government, just as baptism is one's confession of loyalty to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
At the command of God, the Israelites made standards (flags) according to their tribes, for purposes both of identification and of emblemification of their loyalty to that for which the flag stood. (See Numbers 2).
Clearly, then, to charge one with idolatry because of his saluting a national flag, would be to accuse God of forcing idolatry not only upon His ancient people but, by their example, also upon the faithful of all time since!
So every Christian, if he would be obedient to God's commands, must be loyal to the country in which he lives. Wherefore, as Christians in America, devoted to God and consequently loyal to the just principles of this free "government under God," first we pledge our hearts, our minds, our hands, our all, to the flag of God's eternal Kingdom, and to the Theocracy for which it stands one people made up of all nations, and bound by the cords of everlasting love, liberty, purity, justice, peace, happiness, light and life for all; and second we "pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." And so long as Old Glory unfurls itself as the emblem of the inviolate principles of its constitution, so long is our pledge of allegiance to it an inviolate thing.
IS PATRIOTISM CHRISTIANITY?
Question No. 143:---Shall we in this war take the stand of conscientious objectors or that of patriots?
Answer:---Anyone taking any other stand than that of a patriot cannot be a true citizen of his country. A Christian, though, must ever remember that he is under two governments,--a spiritual and a temporal,--and that he is thereby obliged to serve both, although there may be times when circumstances arise to prevent his giving to both the same "full measure of devotion." But always will he do his best to serve both to the fullest as far as possible.
The Bible plainly teaches, and history has countless times borne out, that one's disregard of God's statutes is disastrous both to himself and to his nation. This tragic truth, so endlessly enacted over the long roll of the centuries, not only amidst the chosen nation of Israel, but also amidst all the nations of earth is "for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come."
Thus as one's disobedience to God's commands must work harm upon his nation as well as upon himself, a Christian bears the double responsibility of doing all in his power to safeguard the welfare and to promote the success of both the spiritual and the temporal kingdoms And to insure his fully acquitting himself of this weighty two-fold responsibility, he will implicitly obey the Lord's command: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17. "And I," says the Lord in promise to the obedient, "will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Gen. 12:3.
Ancient Israel as a nation and a government were obliged to protect their own property, people, and families--even by the sword. But they were not to war against their own brethren. When the ten-tribe kingdom, Israel, confederated with Syria to war against the two-tribe kingdom, Judah, God's curse rested upon both Syria and Israel, and each was consequently broken by the king of Assyria. (See Isaiah 7:1-8; 8:4).
But when persecuted for the gospel's sake, the Christians were instructed never to retaliate: "I say unto you," says the Lord, "That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matt. 5:39-45.
The light that is shining from both the Old and New Testaments, shows that a Christian, as a loyal citizen, will in time of war serve to protect his country; but if the war involve Christians on both sides, as the wars do today, he, as a citizen of Christ's Kingdom, cannot conscientiously engage in shooting his fellow citizens of that Kingdom. For "if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself that house cannot stand." Mark 3:24, 25.
But though in such a war, Christians must not bear arms to kill one another, they are morally bound to do humanitarian work such as performed by the good Samaritan--minister to the sick, wounded, and dying, regardless of their nationality.
VOTE FOR OR AGAINST PENSION?
Question No. 144:---Would you please explain your position relative to the pension issues that are now being presented to the public? Do you think they merit our voting on them?
Answer:---We are admonished that the cause of God "should engross the whole mind, the whole attention."--Early Writings, p. 118. Consequently, as we cannot conscientiously devote enough time to the study of these political and economic issues and of their ultimate results, intelligently to pass judgment upon them, we cannot conscientiously vote either for or against them. For our uninformed voting might work hardship and deprivation upon some, while leading others into the paths of idleness and extravagance. "Behold," says the Lord "this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness." Ezek. 16:49.
In the world of today, both its political and its religious interests are far better served by specialists. Only those who have their whole heart and mind in the temporal things of life, who can devote enough time to the study of the world's economic and political issues, are qualified for participating in such interests. Those who are heart and soul devoted to the world's spiritual needs, which are eternal and of far greater importance than the temporal concerns of life that are soon to perish and be forgotten, can no more serve the world in its economic and political needs than can those who have their hearts and minds engrossed in the temporal things, serve the world's spiritual needs.
"Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord! Yet He also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back His words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out His hand both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together." Isa. 31:1-3. "The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in Him; and all the upright in heart shall glory." Ps. 64:10.
"What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it." Isa. 14:32.
IS VOTING BECOMING TO A CHRISTIAN?
Question No. 145:---Is it right to vote?
Answer:---As the franchise is one of the inalienable rights of a free people, there cannot be any wrong in exercising it if thereby either the law or offices of the land can be better served. To cast a vote though, which will further such an end, requires conscientious study; failing that, one's vote can only be unintelligent guesswork, and thus adverse rather than conducive to good government.
Those, therefore, who are in no position to devote the time and study necessary to inform themselves on political issues sufficiently to qualify them to vote intelligently on them, cannot conscientiously cast such a vote.
Being ministers of the gospel, with our time completely preoccupied with the spiritual interests of the people, we ourselves are not able to give attention to their political interests also, just as the people's political representatives are not able to give proper attention to their spiritual needs also. And therefore rarely, if ever, do we see our way clear to vote.
WHAT ABOUT USING MILK AND EGGS?
Question No. 146:---Since diseases among cattle and poultry are becoming more and more numerous, virulent, and widespread, should we not now discard milk and eggs from our dietary?
Answer:---If there is an epidemic among cattle and fowl in your region or locality, then you should definitely exercise great caution when using milk and eggs, and should work toward replacing them, just as soon as possible, with suitable substitutes.
At present we have no knowledge that would compel or justify a country-wide disuse of such poultry and dairy products, and the more especially so if no suitable substitute is available and if the Lord has not opened the way to provide such. Nevertheless, we should all be diligently seeking for something better so that when conditions do develop to make the continued use of these products unsafe, we will not be caught without a satisfactory substitute.
"Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream or butter because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth."--Testimonies, Vol. 7, p. 135.
"The time will come when we may have to discard some of the articles of diet we now use, such as milk and cream and eggs; but it is not necessary to bring upon ourselves perplexity by premature and extreme restrictions. Wait until the circumstances demand it, and the Lord prepares the way for it.
* * *
"...I am instructed to tell them to eat that food which is most nourishing. I can not say to them: 'You must not eat eggs, or milk, or cream. You must use no butter in the preparation of food.' The gospel must be preached to the poor, but the time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet."--Testimonies, Vol. 9, pp. 162, 163.
SHALL WE KEEP CATTLE AND FOWL?
Question No. 147:---Is it permissible to keep cows and chickens?
Answer:---If milk and eggs still compose part of our diet then it is best, if possible, to obtain them from our own cattle and fowl.
Those who object to keeping cows and chickens, on the grounds that the Spirit of Prophecy disapproves, are taking a position based upon an extreme interpretation of what is written.
From the time the Seventh-day Adventist denomination was organized, up to the present, its institutions as well as its members have kept cattle and fowl. Had it been wrong to do so, the Spirit of Prophecy would have plainly so instructed the people. Since, though, there is no such published record, those who advance such extreme views are wresting the Spirit of Prophecy and giving support to their own radical ideas.
Stay in "the middle of the road," and do not allow extremists to lead you to one side or the other.
We should learn to respect the writings of others by neither reading into them nor leaving out of them that which the author has never intended or sanctioned.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH EATING CLEAN MEAT?
Question No. 148:
In the light of Matt. 15:11 and other scriptures, is it not clear that vegetarianism is of man and not of God?
If the scriptures cited constituted the Bible's entire treatment of the subject, then an unqualifiedly affirmative answer to the question might be necessary. But in the beginning "God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." Gen. 1:29. All this and naught else was to be the "meat" of mankind.
Thus in the beginning, man's diet did not include flesh food. Not till after the flood, when every green thing on the earth had been destroyed, did he receive permission to eat flesh. Then God said: "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as the green herb have I given you all things." Gen. 9:3.
Later, though, while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God provided them with manna. But when they murmured against it, and attributed its phenomenon only to circumstances, claiming that it was impossible to obtain flesh foods in the desert, He literally and angrily heaped quail upon them. At what price, though! Thousands died in order to teach the lesson that the manna was not the mere result of circumstances but rather a purposive Providence. For "while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague." Num. 11:33.
Because the Exodus movement was to fit up a people to take the promised land and to set up the kingdom then, as we are now, they were charged to abstain from all flesh foods. And because John the Baptist bore an important message in his day ("Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand"--Matt. 3:2) similar to ours today, his diet was of honey and of the fruit of the locust tree. How much more important, then, as our types teach, that we who have the culminating message of the gospel, and who are the vanguard of the hosts of the eternal kingdom, defile not the temples of our souls with that which our types were forbidden to eat.
Furthermore, as the Elijah of Malachi 4:5 and Matthew 17:11 is to restore all things before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, then necessarily he will restore vegetarianism, man's original dietary. Then, not only man but beast as well, will be strict vegetarians, and all will once again consort together in the renewed fellowship of Edenic peace.
"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Isa. 11:6-9.
Still further, if the words, "not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man" (Matt. 15:11), be understood to mean that it matters not what we eat or drink, then why should we not eat swine's flesh, drink tea, coffee, and even liquor, and smoke tobacco,--indeed, eat and drink whatever we please?
ARE ALL SPICES INJURIOUS TO HEALTH?
Question No. 149:---The "Testimonies" condemn the use of spices, but do not give a definite list of the ones pronounced unfit for human consumption. Are all seasonings condemned?
Answer:---The fact that sage, onions, parsley, mint, garlic, celery, and other similar herbs are not only harmless but actually beneficial to the body, clearly shows that not every botanical seasoning is to be classed with unwholesome spices.
In the commercial market, however, are highly spiced sauces and seasonings, which, as a well-known fact, are harmful in their effects on the body. As we understand it, these are spices and condiments such as Sister White condemns.
We know not, though, that cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaves, mace, vanilla, capsicum (red pepper), cloves, and ginger, if used in moderation, contain elements which are injurious to the health. In fact, it has been found that red peppers, dried and ground into powder, make an effective cold preventive. And too, spices were used in the sacrificial services (Ex. 30:23-25, 34).
Hence, not all spices are harmful. But let it be understood that to use any spice in excessive amounts is injurious, as is any excess.
WHAT IDENTIFIES ONE AS A DAVIDIAN SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST?
Question No. 150:---As the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association does not have a formal membership what evidence can one give to identify himself as a member of the organization? And how can he establish the length of time he has been with it?
Answer:---One's support of the timely Davidian message, and his living out its principles (baptism, Sabbath observance along with the rest of the ten commandments, vegetarianism, dress reform total abstinence from tobacco and alcoholic beverages, and all else contained in the Spirit of Prophecy), are the truest witnesses of his affiliation, and the only genuine visible certification of the fact. These are the only absolutely convincing evidences of one's worthiness to membership in the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association.
Just how long one has been a member of the Association depends entirely upon how long one has known and lived these principles.
To those who make request, the Association will send an application blank for Fellowship. If the applicant is unable to comply in full with all the requirements of the message, then to his application he must attach a satisfactory statement of explanation. Otherwise a Certificate of Fellowship cannot be granted.
MUST I REACH PERFECTION FIRST?
Question No. 151:---In order to sign the application for the "Certificate of Fellowship," must one have attained perfection?
Answer:---The applicant must be striving to be an overcomer--to be freed from sin, to keep the Truth and to continue in the race; striving not to fall but resolving, in case he should fall, to rise again and to press on more determined than ever to reach the goal. He must be able thus conscientiously to sign the application for fellowship.
MUST BAPTISM PRECEDE FELLOWSHIP?
Question No. 152:---Though I have never been baptized, yet I fully believe the additional message of "The Shepherd's Rod," and now I wish to know if I am eligible to apply for the "Certificate of Fellowship."
Answer:---Being the initial step in the Christian's public confession of his faith, baptism is requisite to fellowship. So first apply for baptism, and afterward for the certificate.
IS ONE A MEMBER WITHOUT THE CERTIFICATE OF FELLOWSHIP?
Question No. 153:---May one be a member of the Association without holding a "Certificate of Fellowship?"
Answer:Yes, one may be a member without holding the Certificate of Fellowship. But to be an accredited member, privileged to enjoy to the fullest all the benefits which the Association affords, he must hold the certificate.
WHO MAY HOLD OFFICE?
Question No. 154:---Are Davidians who do not hold a "Certificate of Fellowship" eligible to hold office?
Answer:---All officers serving the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association, as well as all Mt. Carmel residents, should hold the Certificate of Fellowship.
WHOSE SCHEME IS MONEY-GRABBING?
Question No. 155:---If only those who pay a second tithe are eligible for a "Certificate of Fellowship," then is not such a requirement only a money-grabbing scheme?
Answer:---Were one who can but does not pay second tithe to secure the Certificate of Fellowship, he would indeed be "money-grabbing," for he would be reaping where he had not sowed--enjoying benefits from a fund he had contributed nothing to build up, and which he had declined to support. In other words, while hoarding his own second tithe, he would be gaining the benefits of the Association's second tithe fund.
WHAT IF I HAVE NO TITHES TO PAY?
Question No. 156:---Can one hold the "Certificate of Fellowship" if he has no tithes to pay?
Answer:---Yes, if he is otherwise eligible.
TO TITHE OR NOT TO TITHE?
Question No. 157:---My husband is not a believer and would not approve of my paying first and second tithe on all the money I handle. What am I to do?
Answer:---Though the Lord has commanded man to tithe all his increase, He does not hold a believer accountable for tithing the income of an unbelieving companion who is opposed to tithing.
He has endowed every man with the inalienable right of religious liberty, and no man may justly take it from another man. And doubly inviolate is it in the family. Neither husband nor wife should interfere with the other's exercise of religious choice.
The wife who faithfully keeps house for her husband and faithfully cares for the family, is not doing so as a menial or a slave: she is a partner a "helpmeet" in the home. And therefore by all moral rights, the husband's earnings are half hers. Both are accordingly under highest moral obligation to honor each other's right in the matter of tithing. So if the husband chooses not to tithe his half of the family income, the wife has no right to interfere.
IS SMALL INCOME TITHE EXEMPT?
Question No. 158:---As my income is very small, am I not exempt from paying tithe?
Answer:---God designed the plan of systematic benevolence so as to make it as equitable to the poor as to the rich, no more a tax on the mite than on the million. And we know of no Scriptural authority for exempting from tithe any income, however small. All, poor as well as rich, are given the privilege of returning to the Lord His own. Many with a "mite" income are paying both first and second tithe, and in return are receiving a rich bestowal of blessing.
Thus reason forces the conclusion that if one is not obliged to receive charity help in addition to his income (whatever its source) to cover his living expenses, then for him not to pay tithe is to cheat Himself of the abundant blessing which attends a faithful regard for the royal privilege of being one of God's stewards.
ARE DOLLS IDOLS?
Question No. 159:---Are not dolls to be considered idols? And should I let my children play with them?
Answer:---Although dolls are not to be classed with idols, and though grown-ups may not make idols of them, yet there is danger that the growing ones may make too much of them. Wisdom counsels that children be taught to find pleasure in doing little things about the house, that they may become useful and helpful, rather than that they be helped to acquire the habit of spending their time playing in order to be happy. Children reared to play do not become industrious, nor truly happy either. Most play, like a habit-forming drug, causes an ever-increasing craving for it when the effects are worn off. So as long as the child is not pressing for dolls or toys, far better not to put them in his way.
WHAT ABOUT PLAYING GAMES?
Question No. 160:---Is it wrong for Davidians to play cards, chess, checkers, tennis, baseball, and other games?
Answer:---"Card-playing should be prohibited." "There are amusements, such as dancing, card-playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve, because Heaven condemns them."--Messages to Young People, pp. 379, 392.
"A view of things was presented before me in which the students were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the character of these amusements. They were presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations."--Counsels to Teachers, p. 350.
"The public feeling is that manual labor is degrading, yet men may exert themselves as much as they choose at cricket, baseball, or in pugilistic contests, without being regarded as degraded. Satan is delighted when he sees human beings using their physical and mental powers in that which does not educate, which is not useful, which does not help them to be a blessing to those who need their help. While the youth are becoming expert in games that are of no real value to themselves or to others, Satan is playing the game of life for their souls, taking from
them the talents that God has given them, and placing in their stead his own evil attributes....He seeks to engross and absorb the mind so completely that God will find no place in the thoughts."--Counsels to Teachers, pp. 274, 275.
ANY RESURRECTED AMONG THE 144,000?
Question No. 161:---Sister White was told that only the 144,000 may enter the holy temple in heaven. Since, however, she herself went in (for she says, "The wonderful things I there SAW"--"Early Writings," p. 19), is she not one of the 144,000?
Answer:---We must realize that Sister White entered the temple only in vision, not in reality. The 144,000 were not bodily there, and neither was she. She was taken there in vision for no reason other than to view the things therein, that she might describe them to us. So necessarily, of course, she had to enter in. And since she certifies that the 144,000 are "living saints" Early Writings, p. 15) and since she herself died, she cannot be one of them, though she can be one with them.
This fact is very clearly borne out in another vision in which she was taken to a planet that had seven moons, where she "saw good old Enoch." The place was so beautiful and her desire for it so keen that she begged the angel to let her stay there. "Then the angel said, 'You must go back and if you are faithful, you, with the 144,000 shall have the privilege of visiting all the worlds and viewing the handiwork of God.'"--Early Writings, p. 40.
So, though she will not be one of them, she will, happily, be one with them.
ARE THE 144,000 JEWS BY ADOPTION ONLY?
Question No. 162:---Since "the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel" (Rev. 21:12) are written on the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem, must not the 144,000 in consequence be Jews by adoption only?
Answer:---Without exception, adoption is accorded only to the Gentiles. And nowhere in the Scriptures is there to be found even the remotest suggestion that the 144,000 are Gentiles. On the contrary Revelation 7:4-8 states specifically that the 144,000 are made up of twelve thousand from each of the tribes of "the children of Israel." Adoption is not only not mentioned but not even implied. And the Gentiles, let it be remembered, are not of the twelve tribes, but of many nations!
If, though, it still be contended that the 144,000 are not living Israelites but Gentiles and thus Jews by adoption only, then please tell us to whom are they and the rest of the redeemed Gentiles to be adopted? If the true Israelitish family is no longer extant, then adoption is no longer possible, for the living cannot be adopted to the dead! (See Romans 8, 9.)
WHAT DOES THE "HOLY MOUNTAIN" SIGNIFY?
Question No. 163:---In dealing with the various prophecies, "The Shepherd's Rod" consistently applies the term, "the holy mountain," to Jerusalem, the church, whereas it applies the term, the glorious "holy mountain" (Dan. 11:45), to Mt. Sinai. What reason do you give for this sidestepping, as it were, from the rule?
Answer:---The phrase, "the glorious holy mountain," cannot designate the church, for the context of the verse does not support the notion. On the contrary, it clearly shows that the King of the North is to "go forth" from the "glorious land," Palestine, and "plant" his tabernacles in the "glorious holy mountain," while other scriptures show that the Lord is to "return" to the glorious land, and plant His tabernacles in Zion the "holy mountain." Zech. 1:16; 2:10-13; 8:3. So, since both tabernacles cannot be in the same place, and since the Lord's is to be in Jerusalem, obviously, therefore, "the glorious holy mountain," where the King of the North is to plant his, must be elsewhere.
HOW TO MATRICULATE IN THE INSTITUTE?
Question No. 164:---What makes one eligible for matriculation at the Davidic-Levitical Institute? What part of the student's expense at Mt. Carmel does the second tithe take care of, and how much in cash must one pay?
Answer:---Only those who hold the Association's Certificate of Fellowship, are eligible to matriculate in the Davidic-Levitical Institute. And it is required that the enrollee deposit with the Bank of Palestina the Qualification Fee of $30. This fee will care for his room, board, and laundry during his orientation period--his first two months only. Should he readily adapt himself to the manual phase of his training and, during this two-month period of orientation, earn enough wages to defray these expenses, then the $30 fee may be credited to his drawing or savings account.
In addition, he is required to deposit the amount of return transportation home, so that should he not find himself able to fit into the school's program, or for any other reason decide to leave Mt. Carmel, he as well as the Institute will be protected against his being stranded without sufficient funds to leave.
Besides, for the duration of the war, he is required to bring his own bed (single), springs, mattress, and bedding.
The second tithe takes care of his tuition, books, and other supplies, and for manual-training wages paid him above what the Department in which he is employed can pay him--the part which he does not actually earn. In short, from the time he arrives at Mt. Carmel, he need pay only for what he would pay at home--board room, laundry, clothes, and other merchandise.
(Those wishing to enroll, may send for application blanks.)
TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER REGISTRATION OR TO ENROLL BEFORE?
Question No. 165:---Should a Davidian who is planning to matriculate at the Davidic-Levitical Institute, and who is approaching Selective Service Registration age, matriculate after registration, or should he enroll at the Institute before registration, and then register from Mt. Carmel Center?
Answer:---Any Davidian who has been called of God to study for the ministry at the Davidic-Levitical Institute, Mt. Carmel Center, but who is approaching Selective Service Registration age, should if possible enroll at the Institute in time to register from Mt. Carmel Center.
If, however, he has already registered with Selective Service, but plans to enroll immediately at the Institute, then regardless whether or not he has returned his Selective Service Form 40 to his Local Board of origin, he should at once request the Board to transfer him to McLennan County, Texas, Local Board No. 4, for classification.
Failing to secure this transfer before leaving for Mt. Carmel, one may find it too late to do so upon arrival, and may not be able to avoid the inconvenient and unsatisfactory results often attendant upon representing one's case by correspondence with his Selective Service Board.
Furthermore, neglecting to take these steps, one can hardly expect a Board to grant him Ministerial deferment.
(All italics ours.)
WHAT SHALL YOUR NEXT STEP BE?
Now if you have enjoyed, appreciated, and profited by this question-and-answer excursion through Book No. 5, and if you desire to continue, then send for Book No. 6. It will be mailed as a Christian service without charge or obligation.