Newsletter 41, April, 1997
Articles by Larry Walker
Larry Walker, pastor of the United Church of God, Bend, Oregon, is a sincere student of the Bible, and a personal friend. With his permission, I am very pleased to publish his articles, beginning with this issue of the Giving & Sharing Newsletter. All of his articles are also available on computer disk (ASCII text format, readable by any personal computer) for a donation of $2.50 from Giving & Sharing. Mr. Walkerís topics include Galatians, New Covenant, Sabbath, Church Government, the Lordís Supper, and building bridges among groups.
I became acquainted with Mr. Walker as a result of the Australian Friends of the Sabbath seminar in 1996. Although some ministers run rough shod over lay members and exercise "dominion" over them, contrary to the Bible, Larryís attitude is entirely different. He receives half salary for his ministerial duties, largely supporting himself with several sales activities, including his hobby, western history magazines. Mr. Walker sees his role as equipping lay members to preach the gospel. He invited me to speak at a Friends of the Sabbath seminar in Bend, Oregon, April 12-13. (For cassette tapes of Friends of the Sabbath seminars, write: The Bible Sabbath Association, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718.)
It Takes Guts
The following was forwarded to me off the Internet from my daughter Barbara.
This is a true story of something that happened just a few years ago at USC. There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist. His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God couldnít exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic. For twenty years, he had taught this class and no one had ever had the courage to go against him. Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever Ďreally gone against himí (youíll see what I mean later). Nobody would go against him because he had a reputation.
At the end of every semester, on the last day, he would say to his class of 300 students, "If there is anyone here who still believes in Jesus, stand up!" In twenty years, no one had ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, "because anyone who does believe in God is a fool. If God existed, He could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking. Such a simple task to prove that He is God, and yet He canít do it." And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces. All of the students could do nothing but stop and stare. Most of the students were convinced that God couldnít exist. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years, they had been too afraid to stand up.
Well, a few years ago, there was a freshman who happened to get enrolled in the class. He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about this professor. He had to take the class because it was one of the required classes for his major, and he was afraid. But for three months that semester, he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up, no matter what the professor said or what the class thought. Nothing they said or did could ever shatter his faith, he hoped.
Finally the day came. The professor said, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" The professor and the class of 300 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the classroom. The professor shouted, "You FOOL!! If God existed, he could keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!" He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleats of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away, unbroken. The professorís jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man and then ran out of the lecture hall.
The young man who had stood up proceeded to walk to the front of the room and share his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. Three hundred students stayed and listened as he told of Godís love for them and of his power through Jesus.
Let us not fear to stand up for our beliefs. We must not be ashamed of the gospel, Romans 1:16, nor deny the Messiah, Matthew 10:33, II Timothy 2:12. If we confess Him before men, He will confess us before angels, Luke 12:8; Revelation 3:5.
David Hill: Down Under Sabbath-Keeper
David H. Hill (b. 1956), lives Queensland, Australia, with his wife Wynita and two daughters, Larissa (16) and Jade (14). He is a leader of a small independent group of Sabbath-keeping Christians, and a member of the Brisbane Seventh Day Baptist Church, about 60 miles away. Raised in a Methodist, and later, Baptist home, as a young man, David became so bored with the Bible, that he pleaded with God to open up something new from His Word. A visit with a Jehovahís Witness convinced him that he did not have a good knowledge of Scripture to combat even the most basic of errors. David determined to prove from Scripture every belief and doctrine that he had inherited from his parents in order to put the J.W.ís right on their next visit. To his surprise, he found he could not substantiate many of the traditional doctrines of the Protestant Church.
One Sunday morning, David watched, in succession, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Herbert Armstrong. Coincidentally (?) all three spoke on Matthew 24:30, and Armstrong presented the most Biblically correct study of all. After writing for many of Armstrongís booklets and articles, David Hill faced a monumental choice: "the doctrine of the Sabbath asked me to do something; something that could cost friends and family. This time I could not only believe, I had to believe and put my faith into action. God was patient with me and finally with no alternative but obedience, I followed Him."
After disagreements with Armstrongís ministers over the issue of the Godhead, and the "true church" teaching, Hill discovered Seventh Day Baptists. "We contacted them and found them quite open and friendly," Hill relates. "We discovered that they were quite unique in that they believed most of the things that we believed, but were not dogmatic. They were not worried if their members held different points of view. They believe in the individualís right to have the personal teaching of the Holy Spirit. The S.D.B.ís welcomed us as brothers and sisters in the Lord, without regard to our beliefs on minor issues. We immediately knew that this is where God wanted us to be and started to fellowship with them straight away. I was also encouraged to foster a new fellowship in our local area and before long I was leading a small group of believers. We still have close fellowship with the church in Beenleigh and regularly get together." Hill has written many religious articles, available on the Internet.
In 1996, David spoke at the Australian Friends of the Sabbath in Sydney, met Richard Nickels, and became Australian representative for The Bible Sabbath Associates (Australian name for The Bible Sabbath Association), and Giving & Sharing. In 1997, Mr. Hill was accepted to the Baptist Theological College of Queensland to complete a Bachelor of Theology degree. This forced him to give up his position in the Queensland Ambulance Service and BSA. He continues to work hard to serve others and promote the faith.
In spite of overwhelming Biblical evidence that the so-called "Last Supper" was indeed held at the time of the Passover, on the beginning of the fourteenth day of the first Hebrew month, some professed teachers continue to claim that the Last Supper was not held at the Passover. Matthew 26:17-21 states that on the "first of unleaveneds" (original Greek), the disciples came to Jesus, saying "Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?" The Savior instructed them to tell a man in the city, "The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples." When even was come, as they did eat, Jesus revealed that one of the disciples would betray Him. Mark 14:12 tells us that this time was "when they killed the Passover," and Luke 22:7 says "when the Passover must be killed." The Messiah did not observe the Passover a day earlier than the Biblical requirement! Was the "Lordís Supper," or so-called "Last Supper" a Passover meal with new meaning? Let the Savior answer: "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer," Luke 22:15.
Some espouse the fallacy that the Old Testament Passover was observed at the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth day of the first Biblical month. But even a cursory reading of the Old Testament by someone unacquainted with the Bible would lead to the obvious conclusion that Passover is ON the fourteenth, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the fifteenth day of the first month, and that these are two separate feasts, Leviticus 23:5-6. The Passover was killed on the fourteenth, between the two evenings, that is, after sundown. The Eternal commanded the Israelites to remain in their houses "until the morning," Exodus 12:22. He could have changed this command, and allowed them to leave the night of the 14th, right after death struck Egyptís firstborn at midnight. But, there is no record that Godís instructions were modified. Israel left Egypt by night, Exodus 12:41-42, on the fifteenth day of the first month, Numbers 33:3. The morning of the fourteenth day was spent assembling and completion of the spoiling of the Egyptians. Passover, in both Old and New Testaments, is observed on the beginning of the fourteenth day of the first month.
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lordís death till He come," I Corinthians 11:26. Some Sabbath-keepers tell us "as often as" means "as often as we want," i.e., every Sabbath. However, this violates the rule of context. Verse 26 is to be understood in the context of verse 23, "the same night in which He was betrayed." Passover is an annual memorial, not a weekly option. Donít allow false teachers to lead you astray from Passover basics. May you have a meaningful Passover memorial this year!
Review: God's Festivals in Scripture and History by Samuele Bacchiocchi