Babylonian Captivity

In the first chapter of Daniel is described a scene of captivity. After the reign of Solomon, the kingdom was divided. The nation of Israel was made up of ten tribes, and the nation of Judah made up two tribes. Comparing the history of both nations, Israel was more rebellious and was eventually destroyed by the Assyrians. Judah was also destroyed, but before that, while under the rule of Jehoiakim, the city was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who took many captives among whom were the royal seed. It was the purpose of the king to educate these young men, the princes, and turn them into Babylonians.

Before the coming of Christ, the people of God are going to face another captivity, one of economic boycott, social restraint, and political and religious pressure that will be applied to enforce the mark of the beast.

Are you ready for captivity? Do you know what it means to be under captivity, under the control of another nation? Like it or not, many of us will face this captivity. Under his rule, the last day spiritual king of Babylon will do all in his power to try to change your body, your mind, and your soul.

The Bible says in Daniel 1:3, “And the king spake unto Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes.” When Babylon besieged Judah, they captured the young people, but not just any young people; they were the king’s seed and their princes.

Satan’s primary attack in these last days is also against the best. Are you a child of the King of the universe? Satan wants to capture the children of God, those who are the apple of His eye. The Bible says that if it is possible, Satan will deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24). The more devotion and dedication you give to God and the more faith you put in God’s hand, the more danger you present to the devil and the greater persecution you may face. But you should have no fear, because perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

Daniel 1:4 tells us what kind of children Nebuchadnezzar sought: “Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” The blemish here mentioned is physical blemish, without even a bad odor in their mouth.

“The erect form, the firm, elastic step, the fair countenance showing that the blood was uncorrupted, the undimmed senses, the untainted breath—all were so many certificates of good habits, insignia of the nobility with which nature honors those who are obedient to her laws.” Reflecting Christ, 121. These young men were a picture of health, were physically fit, and mentally equipped. And although that text does not mention their spiritual condition, it was also in excellent condition. These young men were captured because Satan hated them because they were physically, mentally, and spiritually well-balanced and strong.

You may be physically fit, but if you are spiritually weak, Satan does not want to bother capturing you, because you are already captured. You might be mentally strong and skillful in knowledge and science, yet, if you are spiritually weak, Satan does not want to bother you because you are already weak, and he wants you to stay that way. His target is anyone of any age who is totally dedicated to God.

Notice what the king planned to do with these young people. The very first thing attempted was to teach them a new language, the Chaldean language, the Babylonian language. The Bible states in Matthew 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” That means the words that you speak express your heart or your mind, so your words are closely related to your mind.

Every language reveals the character or personality of that culture. In order to speak Chinese and communicate properly, you have to speak with a Chinese mentality. If you speak Spanish, it must be with a Spanish mentality, not with a Korean or American mentality. By teaching these young men the language of the Chaldeans, they were being educated to have a Babylonian mind, to think like a Babylonian.

Then the king provided for them food. “And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.” Daniel 1:5.

Food is to build the body, and the young captives were offered a Babylonian diet. I can imagine on that beautiful Babylonian table a big pig with an apple in its mouth surrounded by the wines of Babylon. This kind of diet was not healthy according to God’s word. Praise God for the stand of Daniel! He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. This decision was not made when he arrived in Babylon but before he got there. To stand strong as did Daniel, before going into captivity, you had better make that purpose and decision.

A study of the life of Jesus reveals that there were two places He must enter at the end of His life. Calvary is always remembered, but there was also the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane was the place of His decision. Calvary was the hill of His sacrifice and His action. One place was to make a decision; the other place was to carry out that decision. So before you go to Calvary, you had better go to Gethsemane. Daniel went to his own Gethsemane. As he crossed the desert, he prayed, “God, no matter what is going to happen to me, I am not going to defile myself before You. God help me.”

Every person must make that decision day by day, choosing to follow Jesus all the way with grace and power, because character cannot be built overnight. When captivity comes, character will be tested. Where are you standing; on the Rock or on the sand (Matthew 7:24, 26)?

The king provided mental education—Babylonian mind. The king provided physical education—Babylonian diet. “Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” Daniel 1:6, 7.

What was the purpose of the name changes? What was wrong with Daniel and Hananiah and Mishael and Azariah? They were good names. Dan means judge. El means God. So every time Daniel is spoken, it reminds that God is judge. Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzer, meaning Bel is god. Mishael means who is like God; Meshach means who is like Venus. Hananiah means God is grace. Shadrach means command of Aku. Azariah means helped by God; Abednego means servant of Nabu.

The new Babylonian names reflect the names of Babylonian gods. A person’s name refers to character. Having a Babylonian god in the new names indicates that the Babylonian nation wanted them to have the Babylonian character and worship Babylonian gods. Changing their names was an attempt to change their spiritual condition from worshiping the true God to worshiping idols made by man’s hand.

The Babylonians tried to change three things of their captives: mental, physical and spiritual. When Satan attacks, he attacks your body, mind, and soul, which encompasses everything! That is exactly what Satan tried to do in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:4 the Bible says, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” He told Eve that even if she would commit sin, she would not die. If you cannot die, you are immortal. His claim was that even though she may sin, she would be immortal. Satan was lying to her about immortality of the soul. Today immortality of the soul is called spiritualism. Right there in the Garden of Eden Satan introduced to Eve spiritualism. But not only that—“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods.” Verse 5. Eating is related to the physical body. Eye opening experience is connected to receiving a new understanding, which deals with the mental. That word gods is related to spiritual.

Satan was telling Eve, I have something better for your body. I have something better for your mental condition. I have something better for your spiritual condition. All three things he offered to her, and she listened to the serpent.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [physical], and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise [mental], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Verse 6. What happened to her spiritual condition? She lost it. Satan had attacked all three areas—physical, mental, and spiritual.

If Satan gets your body, he has your mind. If he has your mind, he’s got your soul, because they are all connected. Your body is the house of the mind; the mind is the house of the soul. He attacks all three. This is the very reason why Jesus came to this world, to restore man physically, mentally and spiritually—three areas—and also, socially.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom [which is mental], stature [which is physical], and in favour with God [which is spiritual] and man [which is social]” (Luke 2:52). Jesus had a perfectly balanced education—intellectually, physically, socially, and spiritually.

These are the four basic needs of man. In this world, everyone has these four—physical, mental, spiritual and social—and each individual starts out with their cup empty. It is imperative to know what is needed to fill these empty spaces.

Usually the felt need is not so much spiritual, but physical and social. People usually forget about the mental and the spiritual needs even though they also are searching for something. That is why people turn to New Age, yoga or meditation and all of the strange religions that are in the world today. People know that they are missing something in their life but are often unaware of the greatest thing that they are missing—God.

One time when doing evangelistic crusade meetings, a free massage and free blood pressure check were offered to attendees. The crusade meeting leaders went to where the people were, set up the tables and chairs and put up a sign saying, “Free Massage.” In no time, that place was flocked with people. When you show concern about a person’s body, they are open to hear what you have to say about their soul. The people are open to listen to causes when they are suffering from high blood pressure. The usual causes are high fat intake, high protein, cholesterol, unclean food, no exercise, alcohol, tobacco, soda, sugar, and things like this. Their body is clogged up with junk, and when you tell them, they listen. After their blood pressure check, they receive a massage.

A massage feels good, so while the individual was feeling good, they would be given literature on health, present truth, the Sabbath, and the Three Angels’ Messages that they could take to their home, and every time they looked at it they would think of that good massage. When invited to the meeting, the people would come.

In one small town, there was a man who owned the biggest hotel. He was so impressed by the work that was being done that he asked, “Where are you having meetings every night?” When told that the meeting was in a nearby hall, he said, “That hall is not good enough for you; come to my hotel.” The hotel was right next to the park, so after completing the medical missionary work, the meeting was opened at the hotel and it was packed with people. They wanted to hear the message, the gospel. Jesus gives us a perfect example how to work for the people for their body, mind, and soul, and their social well-being.

In Matthew 9:35 the Bible says, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues [teaching is dealing with mental], and preaching the gospel of the kingdom [which is spiritual], and healing every sickness and every disease among the people [which is physical].” Jesus gave us the example of working with all three—mental, spiritual and physical. Balanced education prepares us to give a balanced ministry, which is so important, because it helps the people to really obey God’s commandments.

In Mark 12:30 the Bible says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Heart is referring to your thoughts and your feelings. The heart encompasses everything. “Love the Lord thy God … with all thy soul” is for spiritual, “and with all thy mind” is for mental, “and with all thy strength” is for physical. You are to keep God’s commandments with your body, your mind, and your soul—with everything. Satan is trying to destroy your body, destroy your mind, and destroy your soul. God is trying to restore your mind, restore your body, and restore your soul.

This is the great controversy, and as you are working for the people, all those areas must be covered. Every church should be a place of education, training, nurturing and guiding. People should be able to come to church and get healing. It should not be an unusual thing to have a clinic right next to a church.

The church should be a center of missionary effort. Church should not be a day care center for lukewarm Christians; it is not a place of babysitting sleepy church members. All church members should become living, active, moving agents of God.

To get ready for the coming of Christ, all aspects of your life have to be prepared. I understand there is no way to have a perfect body without any problems. Sometimes you may be diseased, but as far as possible you are to keep your body healthy. Some individuals may be slow in thinking, forgetful, not clear, not focused, not intelligent yet, by the grace of God, the Bible says, as you fear God, you begin to have the wisdom of God (see Psalm 111:10). So we can, by the grace of God, increase physically, mentally, and spiritually.

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Here are those three things again—mind, soul and body. Why are those three things being repeated over and over again? What was previously read in Genesis about the life of Christ, and now in the writings of Paul, are those three things mentioned again and again and again. The Bible says you are to “be preserved blameless.” In other words, the condition of your body, soul, and mind should be preserved. The word preserved means keeping it in good condition until Jesus comes.

There is no way you can think or believe that you can just continue in the life of corruption, in a life of iniquity until Jesus comes. The Bible says He is able to preserve you blameless until the coming of Christ. It is clear on this point. “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” Verse 24. It is not you that does it. God is faithful; if He has called you to become blameless, preserved, whole, sanctified, dedicated to God and to love God with all your soul, mind, and heart, He is able to do it for you.

“The very best you can do will not merit the favor of God. It is Jesus’ worthiness that will save you, His blood that will cleanse you. But you have efforts to make. You must do what you can on your part.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 167.

“No man can of himself work out his own salvation, and God cannot do this work for him without his cooperation. But when man works earnestly, God works with him, giving him power to become a son of God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 38.

You must allow Him to do it. You must surrender your heart, your mind, your soul, and your body—everything to Him. When Jesus died, He died to purchase your body. Jesus died to purchase your mind. Jesus died to purchase your soul. He paid the price to buy every part of you.

Notice the message that needs to go out to the world in these last days, the Three Angels’ Messages. “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people saying with a loud voice [this is the message that needs to go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and notice the message], Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:6, 7.

Observe how verse 7 encompasses the three areas of body, mind, and soul. It is interesting to observe that the “fear God” message is connected to your mental development, because the Bible says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). And also the “give glory to Him” message is connected to your physical health, because 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” The “worship Him that made” message certainly refers to the spiritual connection with your Creator. You can easily observe the elements of balanced education in the first angel’s message.

Notice what the mark of the beast is trying to do in the last days to God’s people in Revelation 14:9: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship …” What is that? Spiritual. In other words, in the last days people will follow the beast spiritually. And the Bible continues to say, “… worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead … .” What do you have in your forehead? Mind. People will follow the beast, not only spiritually, but they will also follow him mentally and receive the mark of the beast in their forehead or in their hand. In the Bible, hand represents physical. People will follow the beast physically.

There are two different types of education competing against each other in the last days. There is God’s balanced education: physical, mental, and spiritual. But Satan, by his education of mental, physical, and spiritual, is the worldly way of developing the body, the mind, and the soul. God is calling you to go back to the old paths, to His way, which is the good way, the narrow way, the way of salvation (Jeremiah 6:16).

When you get ready for these last day events, you must get ready physically, mentally, and spiritually. Otherwise the mark of the beast is calculated in such a way that it will get you wherever you are weak; whether you are weak spiritually, whether you are weak mentally, or whether you are weak physically, he will get you. You have to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11).

Are you hearing the word of God? You must examine your life daily to see if you are developing physically or if you are damaging your body. Are you working just too hard and not getting enough rest, or are you eating or drinking something that you know is damaging your body? You need to examine, and make sure every day to seek and to develop to the glory of God.

Are there certain things in your house that are not helping you mentally? These may include a novel, some magazines, or video games. Are you holding on to certain things that are destroying your mind; certain kinds of music, certain television programs that you are watching, or allowing your imagination to grasp? Things like this are destroying your mind.

If you are serious about the Second Coming, if you are serious about the Three Angels’ Messages, if you are serious about loving God with your body, mind, and soul, consider Jesus on the cross, bleeding, as He cried out, “My child, I gave all for you; give all for Me.”

Whatever is destroying your life today, if you are truly serious about it, you must hold it up before Jesus, and say, “Jesus, help me to give this up. If it is tobacco, help me to stop, today. If it is wine, help me to stop this very day. If it is certain magazines, help me to burn them. If it is music, help me to break them and put them in the trash. If myself is an idol, if I worship myself, and I spend more money on myself, oh God, please help me to worship You. Tear away any idols from my heart, and let God’s throne sit at my heart, that I may worship and follow only Christ.”

Who knows, perhaps God is not sending people to your fellowship because you are not ready to preach the Three Angels’ Message. You are not ready physically; you are not ready mentally, and you are not ready spiritually. There are people out there waiting to come to Jesus, but God does not want to discourage those people by your poor example. They are too precious to be discouraged in these last days. If you are serious about the love of Christ, surrender all to Jesus.

As Jesus is cleansing the sanctuary in heaven, let God cleanse your heart first. Let God then cleanse your family. Let Him cleanse your church so that you are ready to cry aloud, “Fear God, give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come, and worship Him,” and when you make this cry, it will be powerful.

Thank God for the Bible and for Jesus Christ who is trying to restore us physically, mentally, and spiritually. Now is the time to submit all to Him.

Are You a Student in Abraham’s School?

As a stone, hurled from some mountain peak, crashes its way toward the valley beneath, gaining velocity with each foot of descent, until, wrapped within it, lies a power of destruction unmeasured, so man, turning from the gate of Paradise, began a downward career which in intensity and rapidity can be measured only by the height from which he started. Before the strong will of men of the first ten centuries, few forces could stand. As the plane to which it was possible for him to attain was perfection, so the level to which he descended was confusion itself. Men’s lives, instead of being narrowed by the brief span of threescore years and ten, were measured by centuries; and intellects, mighty by birth, had time as well as power to expand. Adam lived to see his children to the eighth generation; and when we think that from his own lips Enoch learned the story of the Fall, of the glories of the Eden home; when we bear in mind that Enoch probably saw this same ancestor laid in the earth, there to molder to dust, we better understand the relation he desired to sustain to his God. After a life of three hundred years, in which the Sacred Record says, he “walked with God”, earth’s attraction grew so slight that he himself was taken into heaven. This was less than sixty years after the death of Adam. This was the beautiful result of the education received by Enoch.

Two Distinct Classes

Passing beyond the gate of Eden, two classes of minds developed. Clear and distinct as light from darkness was the difference between the two. Cain, by exalting his own reasoning powers, accepted the logic of Satan. Admitting the physical plane to be the proper basis for living, he lost all appreciation of spiritual things and depended wholly upon feeling. True, for a time he adhered to the form of worship, coming week by week to the gate of Eden to offer sacrifices; but his eye of faith was blind. When he saw his brother’s sacrifice accepted, a feeling of hatred sprang up in his breast, and, raising his hand, he took that brother’s life.

Men are startled at the rapidity of the descent from Edenic purity to a condition where murder was easy, but it was the natural result of the educational system chosen by Cain. Reason exalted above faith, makes man like an engine without the governor.

Murder, however, was but one result of the decision made by Cain. He fled from the presence of God, and with his descendants, built the cities of the East. Physical needs predominated so that the whole attention of this people was turned to the gratification of fleshly desires. Pride increased, love of wealth was a ruling passion; the artificial took, more and more, the place once occupied by the natural. In the place of God-worship was self worship, or paganism. This was the religious aspect; and here are to be found the first worshipers of the sun, the human progenitors of the modern papacy.

As there was a change in religion, so there was a change in government.

There could no longer be a theocracy, with the father of the family being the high priest unto God; for God had been lost sight of, and His place was filled by man himself. Hence, these descendants of Cain flocked together into cities where the strong bore rule over the weak, and thus developed an absolute monarchy.

The education which upheld paganism in religion, and monarchy in government, was the same as that which in later days controlled Greece and is known by us today as Platoism. It is but another name for an education which exalts the mind of man above God and places human philosophy ahead of divine philosophy.

Pagan Education

We think, perhaps, that there were schools then; but that is a mistake. “The training of youth in those days was after the same order as children are being educated and trained in this age,…to love excitement, to glorify themselves, to follow the imaginations of their own evil hearts.” Special Testimonies on Education, 92. Their keen minds laid hold of the sciences; they delved into the mysteries of nature. They made wonderful progress in inventions and all material pursuits. But the imaginations of their hearts were only evil continually.

Children educated in the cities had their evil tendencies exaggerated. The philosophical teaching of the age blotted out all faith; and when Noah, a teacher of righteousness, raised his voice against the popular education and proclaimed his message of faith, even the little children scoffed at him.

So polluted were the cities, that Enoch chose to spend much time in retired places where he could commune with God and where he would be in touch with nature. At times he entered the cities, proclaiming to the inhabitants the truth given him by God. Some listened, and occasionally small companies sought him in his places of retirement, to listen to his words of warning. But the influence of early training, the pressure brought to bear by society, and the philosophy of the schools, exerted a power too strong to resist. They turned from the pleadings of conscience to the old life.

Scoffers and Critics

As Noah told of the coming flood, and as he and his sons continued to build the ark, men and children derided. “Water from heaven! Ah, Noah, you may talk of your spiritual insight, but who ever heard of water coming out of the sky? The thing is an impossibility: it is contrary to all reason, to all scientific truth, and to all earth’s experience. You may think such things were revealed to you; but since the days of our father Adam, no such thing ever happened.” Such statements seemed true. Generation after generation had looked into a sky undarkened by storm clouds. Night after night dew watered the growing plants. Why should they believe otherwise? They could see no reason for it. To those antediluvians, the possibility of a flood seemed as absurd as does it’s recital as a matter of history to the modern, higher critic. It was out of harmony with men’s senses, hence an impossibility.

Before the Flood, no peal of thunder had ever resounded among the hills, no lightning had ever played through the heavens. Such a thing had never been seen before. “How unshapely,” say they. “How absurd to think of water standing over the earth until that will float!” but in the ears of the faithful whispered the still, small voice of God; and the work went steadily on.

The controversy was an educational problem. Christian education was almost wiped from the earth. Worldly wisdom seemed about to triumph. In point of numbers, its adherents vastly exceeded those in the schools of the Christians. Was this seeming triumph of evil over good a sign that evil was stronger than truth? By no means. Only in the matter of scheming and deceiving does the devil have the advantage; for God can work only in a straightforward manner.

The tree of life was taken to heaven before the Flood, thus symbolizing the departure of true wisdom from the earth. The Flood came. Deep rumblings of thunder shook the very earth. Man and beast fled terrified from the flashes of lightning. The heavens opened; the rain fell, at first in great drops. The earth reeled and cracked open; the fountains of the great deep were broken up; water came from beneath. A cry went up to heaven, as parents clasped their children in the agony of death; but the Spirit of the Lifegiver was withdrawn. Man, satisfied with schooling his senses, with depending upon his own reasoning powers, closed, one by one, every avenue through with the Spirit of God could work; and nature, responding to the loss, was broken to her very heart and wept a flood of tears.

From the beginning to the end it was a matter of education. Christians today exalt the material to the neglect of the spiritual, as surely as did men before the Flood. Shall we not look for similar results, since similar principles are at work?

The Fall Continues

The ease with which men fall into evil habits is illustrated in the history of the world after the Flood. Upon leaving the ark, for families who had known God, and it had been committed to them the peopling of the earth, but evil tendencies, the result of years of acquaintance with the iniquity of the antediluvian world, gained the ascendancy; and the sons of Noah. Failing to carry out the principles of true education in their homes, saw their children drifting away from God. Not more than a single century had elapsed since the Flood had destroyed all things. The change was a rapid one.

The successive steps in degeneration are readily traced. They chose an education of the senses rather than one of faith; they left country and congregated in cities; a monarchy arose. Schools sprang up which perpetuated these ideas; paganism took the place of the worship of God. The tower was a monument to the sun; idols filled the niches in their structures. Men offered their children as sacrifices.

The slaying of infants and children is but carrying out in the extreme what is always done mentally and spiritually when children are taught false philosophy. That man might not bring upon himself immediate destruction, the language was confused and education in false philosophy thus rendered more difficult.

Abraham Is Called by God

It was from this influence, as found in the city of Ur of the Chaldees, that Abraham was called. Although the family of Terah knew the true God and His worship was maintained in the home, it was impossible for him to counteract the influence of the city with it’s idolatrous practices; so God called Abraham into the country.

He was obliged to go forth by faith. The removal meant the severing of every earthly tie. Wealth and ease were exchanged for a wandering life. How he could make a living Abraham did not know. How he could educate his children he did not understand. But he went forth. Terah, his father, and Lot, his nephew, went with him. They halted at Haran, a smaller city, and remained there until the father’s death. Then came the command to go forward. Out into a new country he went, a pilgrim and a stranger.

Power is synonymous with life; there is no power without life, and a teacher has power in proportion as he lives what he wishes to teach. Abraham was to be a teacher of nations, hence he must have power. Power could come only as the result of a life of faith, so his whole life was one continual lesson of faith. Each experience made him a more powerful teacher.

The Father of Nations

His faith grew by trial and grew only as he mounted round by round the ladder which spanned the gulf twixt heaven and earth, which seemed to lengthen with each successive generation. A period of not less than twenty-five years—years filled with doubt, fear and anxiety—was necessary to bring him to the place where the name Abraham—the father of nations—could be rightly claimed by him. Another quarter of a century rolled over his head, years in which he watched the growth of the child of promise; then the voice of God called him to raise his hand to take the life of that same son. He who had said that in Isaac should all nations of the earth be blessed, now demanded the sacrifice of that life at the father’s hand. But He, the Lifegiver in the event of the child’s birth, was now believed to be the Lifegiver should death rob him of his child, and the father faltered not.

These fifty years, with God and angels as teachers, reveal for us, as no other period does, the results of true education, and merit careful attention. If the workings of the Spirit ever wrought changes in the human heart, those changes came to Abraham. It is not strange that when God called the first, time, the voice seemed far away had but partially awoke the slumbering soul. As if in a dream, he, his father, his nephew, and his wife, broke away from earthly ties and from the beautiful Chaldean plains, where luxury and learning were daily things of life, and journeyed toward the hill country.

In Ur, God said, “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and will make thy name great.” Genesis 12:2. Years passed, age crept on, and still there was no heir. Could he have mistaken the voice which bade him turn his face toward Canaan?

Ninety-nine years passed over the patriarch’s head, and still the voice of heaven’s messenger was greeted with a laugh when the promise was repeated. Sarah turned within the tent door when the angel guest, whom they had fed, repeated to Abraham the promise concerning his wife. But she bare to Abraham a son whom God named Isaac, in whom the nations of the earth were blessed. Joy untold filled the heart of the mother and father as they beheld the babe.

This was the joy of sight. Twenty-five years before, the thing was just as true and Abraham might lawfully have worked upon the basis of its truth; but the stubborn human heart requires many lessons.

Abraham’s School

Those who wished to worship the true God gathered about the tents of Abraham and became pupils in his school. God’s word was the basis of all instruction. This word was the basis for the study of political science, and Abraham’s “methods of government” were carried out in the households over which the [his students] should preside. The equality of all men was a lesson first learned in the home. “Abraham’s affection for his children and his household led him…to impart to them a knowledge of the divine statutes, as the most precious legacy he could transmit to them, and through them to the world. All were taught that they were under the rule of the God of heaven. There was to be no oppression on the part of parents, and no disobedience on the part of children.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 142. His was not a school where theory alone was taught, but the practical was emphasized. In studying political science, they found the nucleus of a divine government; in the study of finances, they actually made and raised the flocks which brought recognition from the surrounding nations. “The unswerving integrity, the benevolence and unselfish courtesy, which won the admiration of kings, were displayed in the home.” Ibid.

God’s Plan For Education Today

The influence of country life and direct contact with nature, in contrast with the enervating influence of the city with its idolatrous teaching and artificial methods, developed a hardy race, a people of faith whom God could use to lay the foundation for the Israelite nation. We see then, that when God founds a nation, he lays that foundation in a school. The nation, of which Abraham and his followers formed the beginning, prefigured the earth redeemed, where Christ will reign as King of kings. The education of the school of Abraham symbolized Christian education.

As faith was the method employed in teaching in the days of the patriarch, so in the schools of today faith must be the motive for work, the avenue to the fountain of wisdom. There are today those who can not harmonize their feelings and their ideas of education with the plan which God committed to His people. Likewise, in the days of Abraham, there was at least one family which withdrew from the influence of the school.

The Road To Destruction

Lot had felt the effects of the teaching of Abraham; but through the influence of his wife, “a selfish, irreligious woman,” he left the altar where they once worshipped together and moved into the city of Sodom. “The marriage of Lot, and his choice of Sodom for a home, where the first links in a chain of events fraught with evil to the world for many generations.” Ibid., 174. Had he alone suffered, we would not need to follow the history; but the choice of a new home threw his children into the schools of the heathen; pride and love of display were fostered; marriage with Sodomites was a natural; final destruction in the burning city was the terrible but inevitable result. “When Lot entered Sodom, he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity, and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children’s connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interests in a measure with theirs.” Ibid., 168

The injunction to “remember Lot’s wife,” should serve as a warning to Christians against flocking into the cities to give children an education. The words of Spalding are true. “Live not in a great city, for a great city is a mill which grinds all grain to flour. Go there to get money or to preach repentance, but go not there to make thyself a nobler man.” As Quoted by E.A. Sutherland in Living Fountains or Broken Cisterns, 66.

The Results Of Two Types Of Education

The two systems of education are nowhere more vividly portrayed than in the experiences of Abraham and Lot. Education in the tents of Abraham, under the guidance of the Spirit of Jehovah, brought eternal life. Education in the schools of Sodom brought eternal death. This was not an unnatural thing. You can not find here any arbitrary work on the part of God. To partake of the fruit of the tree of life, imparts life. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil it has been said, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The system of education revealed to Abraham, would, if fully carried out, have placed Israel on a plane of existence above the nations of the world. It was a spiritual education, reaching the soul by a direct appeal to faith, and would have placed the people of God as teachers of nations. Not only a few were intended to teach, but the nation as a whole was to teach other nations. The second Israel will occupy a similar position, and they will be brought to that position by means of Christian education.

The End