10: The Elders’ Scroll

This is the content of the Elders’ scroll.


1. There is but one living and true God.

His Attributes

2. The attributes of God are the qualities, elements and perfections which belong to Him. They belong to Him and are parts of His divine nature—not that His whole being consists of a combination of them, but because they are the forms and expressions of His being which He has revealed to man.

3. These attributes are natural and moral. The natural attributes reveal His existence as an infinite and rational spirit; that is self-existence, freedom, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, wisdom. The moral attributes are holiness, righteousness, justice, goodness, love, grace, mercy and truth.

4. As known to men on earth God is an invisible spirit, whom no man has seen nor can see. He is eternal and self-existent. He creates beings with immortality, but God alone possesses eternity. He is infinite, filling all space in the entire universe, embracing all worlds. He is omnipresent, i.e., infinite in power, shown by all His creations from the infinitely great to the infinitely small. All His acts are done by the exercise of His volition, and are seen by man in the universality, variety and multitude of His works. God’s omnipotence is limited only by His moral perfections. God cannot lie nor do any bad act, although He has the power.

5. God is omnipresent. The creator, upholder, and governor of all things. He is also omniscient, all things being open and naked before His eyes. God’s wisdom is infinite, embracing all knowledge and is independent of all His creatures. We can tell Him nothing which He does not know, but His intelligent, infinite intuition comprehends all things past, present or future. This intelligence is perfect and absolute. Man analyzes things to find out their nature. God knows the nature without the analysis.

6. The foreknowledge of God is also absolute. How the foreknowledge of God is to be reconciled with man’s free agency and moral accountability is indeed to men in the world a dark problem, but in the Scriptures both are clearly taught, and faith accepts what reason cannot reconcile. Some of the churches on earth have denied man’s moral freedom. Others maintain that God in the exercise of His omniscience, like His omnipotence, abstains from knowing what His creatures will do under certain given circumstances. But the foreknowledge of God itself, unrevealed to men, does not impose nor even hint to me any course of behavior whatever; it in no degree affects his liberty of action. Man neither sins nor follows holiness, as the result of God’s foreknowledge; so notwithstanding God’s foreknowledge, He has made man in His image, a free moral being.

7. God is infinitely wise, always knows what is best, always adopts means which will best accomplish His purposes. That is wisdom, for wisdom is the art of turning our knowledge to best account. God’s wisdom is seen in both creation and providence. His wisdom and His works everywhere confirm each other as being of God. No higher wisdom has ever been seen or known than God’s wisdom in the plan of human redemption. It solves the problem of God’s justice in justifying the believer in Jesus Christ.

8. The perfect goodness of God is seen in the benevolence which embraces all mankind and provides for their welfare. His merciful dealings with men declare His goodness. It is also seen in His unmerited favor, drawing man to salvation and in the use of so many means to this end also in the abundant provision which He has made for man’s present and eternal happiness.

Moral Evil

9. How sin can exist in the world with all its terrible consequences in connection with God’s righteous government is an awful and difficult problem, the complete solution of which is not possible to man in his earthly life. But sin does exist, and God permits it for reasons of His own, not fully revealed to men. In heaven it could not be so. No taint of sin can ever enter the gates of this city. If an angel should again sin God would instantly cast him down to hell.

10. Righteousness and justice are divine perfections. It is holiness exhibited in government. Truth or faithfulness of God is much the same as His righteousness. All He says and does is true. His truthfulness is an element of His character. God cannot lie. As God is eternal His truth remains the same. Whatever is out of harmony with His revealed truth, that is a lie. To the question, “What is truth?” this answer which we repeat in heaven is true, “To know God as He has revealed Himself to man is truth of the highest order.” Our Lord declared: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” All things taught or believed that are out of harmony with His clear revelations are both false and misleading.

The Triune God

11. The eternal God has revealed Himself to men as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Son of God is and always was divine. He is the express image of the Father. There have been many errors and heresies in the church in past ages. But we worship one Triune God neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substances of them. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost—but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is one God.

The Divinity of Jesus Christ

12. He was the word of God from eternity. In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God. While on earth we always held Him to be divine and worshipped Him as God, and in heaven He is confessed by all, both saints and angels, to be God and equal to the Father. All the hosts of heaven worship Him. He was God manifest in the flesh.

The Holy Spirit

13. The Holy Ghost is one with the Father and with the Son—equal in eternity, power and glory. In creation He moved upon the face of the waters and developed form and beauty out of disorder and confusion. He proceeded from the Father and from the Son, and took up His abode with His church on earth. He has been with them ever since His coming on Pentecost. He is the comforter, guide and sanctifier of His people.

Man’s Original State and Fall

14. God made man upright. He was both material and spiritual and possessed of a divine life, and made in the image of God. He could hold communion with God, with all that is divine, as well as with the material universe. He was made but a little lower than the angels, and was crowned with glory and honor and had dominion over the works of God’s hands in the earth. He was a companion of his Father and Creator, capable of admiring, adoring and enjoying God. While he was material and possessed an animal nature, as he came from the hands of God, yet he was an intellectual, moral, pure and holy being. He was placed under law with life and death before him. Adam rebelled; sin was born on earth. The glory of the Lord departed from him. Man fell, and felt his guilt and was alienated from God. The stream of humanity was contaminated at its source. The first pair became sinful. Their descendants of necessity were in their image fallen and depraved. So by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Our nature sinned in Adam and the stream became polluted at the fountain head. This depravity became universal for all the faculties and powers of the soul and body were brought under the power of evil.

The Atonement

15. We universally believe that the death of Christ was vicarious and propitiatory and that by it divine justice is satisfied, and God can be just and the justifier of all who believe in Christ Jesus, and that pardon and salvation is freely offered to all men, upon repentance and faith.

Election and Foreordination

16. We believe God did foreordain and devise a plan from the foundation of the world by which He would save man, and further, He did foreordain from the beginning, all men throughout the ages who would accept and be willing to conform to this plan, should be saved, so that everyone in harmony with His power and liberty of choice who shall choose eternal life though God’s plan was foreordained to eternal salvation.


17. True repentance is a condition of soul before God brought about by the operations of the Spirit of God upon the heart and soul of man whereby he is made to see and feel the sinfulness of his sins, and also to forsake them utterly and with full purpose of heart to yield obedience to God in the future.


18. Justification can only follow true repentance and is an act of God’s free grace wherein He pardons the sins of man, and accepts him as righteous in His sight, only for the sake of Christ.


19. True unfeigned faith in God believes all that God has said, commanded, promised or threatened. It is dependent upon testimony, and is valuable to us as the truth itself. We can believe in men. We are responsible for our faith, for one may believe a lie as he does the truth. The truth only can make him free. True saving faith leads the soul to trust itself to the all-atoning merits of the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


20. Adoption is an act of God whereby the believing sinner is received into the family of God, with all the rights and privileges of His children in which he becomes an heir of God with a right and title to eternal life.

The New Birth


21. The new birth of which our Lord spoke is that mighty change made by God in the soul of man when He imparts to him eternal life and renews him in the image of God. This change is the work of the Holy Spirit brought about in man, convincing him of sin, and leading him to repentance and faith whereby he is born from above with eternal life as a gift from God. p


* * * * *


Bohemond and I had just taken our seats in the chariot of the ancients. On inquiry we soon found we were in the chariot and the company of the earliest generations of the earth’s population. We were soon introduced to Adam and Eve, the first parents of the chosen race. It seemed a little strange for us to think we were side by side with those of such early date. Abel, Enoch and Methuselah were also in the chariot. Turning to Abel, I addressed him and said, “Oh, you first-born son, born of those who never were born!”

“True,” said Adam, who overheard the conversation, “we never were born, but created. I remember so distinctly when I first opened my eyes to behold the creations around me. I knew nothing, absolutely nothing at all. I felt the breezes and saw the waving of the branches of the trees and heard the sweet voice of birds and the lowing of cattle. God spoke intelligently to me about the fruit of the trees for food. I quickly learned how to satisfy my hunger and thirst. But I so very much wanted a mate, for I found none among all the creations of the garden. God gave me this woman as a helpmeet for me, so I found she was: ‘bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,’ and I have loved her ever since.”

At this Eve blushingly smiled and said, “You can guess our courtship was brief. It was me or none. But we soon learned life’s lessons too, which all the world has repeated after us.”

Seth and Noah were also side by side; Sarah and Rebecca, Keturah and Rachel also were grouped together; Ephraim and Manasseh must have seemed as young as when Jacob blessed them so long ago. Samuel and Aaron were also with the happy group and seemed to be rather presiding as prophet and priest over the chariot load. Caleb and Joshua were in the front assisting the charioteer in guiding the chariot. They all seemed to take a deep interest in us and asked us many questions bearing on modem times. After we had exchanged many questions both of modern and ancient life, I was so enraptured with the idea of eternal life, God’s great gift to man, that I practically shouted and said, “Oh, what did God mean when He breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul? (Genesis 2:7) Here is the explanation before me in you dear brethren, who have survived the ravages of earth and the durations of heaven and are no older than you were four thousand or five thousand years ago. Oh, blessed eternal life!”

Bohemond now spoke and said to Methuselah, “Do tell me if your years on earth were as long as is stated in God’s Book—nine hundred and sixty-nine years is the Bible record of your age. It seems to us almost unbelievable, as we only live such a short time now. Please tell us about it and what did you do?”

“Truly,” replied Methuselah, “we lived to a great age and the record of the inspired word is correct, for Moses has told me repeatedly what he wrote concerning the early history of the world and man. As to why we lived so long, may be easily explained: God was exceedingly good to us. No former generations having lived before us, we had no books to read nor anything previously discovered by anyone before us. We had to find out by long searching and experimenting, which required years, which in a later day one could know in a few minutes. In fact, a child of only a few years, at a later period of the world, would know as much as one of us could know after a hundred years had passed. After all the long years of our effort we all died (except Enoch over there), and after eight hundred or nine hundred years with but little more knowledge on general lines than your children of ten or twelve years know now. In the generations of men a little later, they would live as much in seventy-five or a hundred years as we would in eight hundred or nine hundred years. So God mercifully lengthened our lives and gave us greater opportunities to achieve the purpose which we were placed upon the earth, for our first habitation, instead of here in this celestial world. As to what we did, well, sure enough we did nothing but till the ground and herd the cattle and sheep. Our tools were indeed of the crudest sort and we made them wholly of wood. We did the best we could. Over there sits Adam; he can tell you, dear brethren (for so you are to us), all about his early experience.”

At that I arose in the chariot and was introduced again to the venerable head of the race of man, and to Eve, the mother of us all.

“Oh, Adam and Eve, tell us of your early experience in the world.”

“Certainly,” said Adam, “with pleasure,” and Eve made a lovely bow of assent.

“Well to begin: The garden where we were first placed was a lovely home indeed. No grander place could ever be found upon the earth. I have had descriptions of all kinds of earthly gardens, but nothing equaled paradise. Everything was perfectly delightful. Fruits of all kinds were ripening and hanging ready to our hand. Nothing forbidden to us but one tree. But, oh, that sin I never can forget it! What penalties followed our disobedience! The shame, disgrace and alienation from God!

“It was a sad day when God sent us out to till the ground and dig for ourselves. After we heard our sentence, we were very reluctant to leave, so there came two of the angels with whips in their hands and without discussion they drove us out. Oh, the sorrow and tears of that day! The angels had already told us of the tree of life, and its marvelous imparting virtues. The whole garden was charged and filled with the aroma of this tree. The very breezes and atmosphere were surcharged with life, but death was creeping upon us. We felt the chill and gloom of a terrible blow. We were simply out of harmony with our environments. The curse of death was upon us, and God sent us out to till the ground which He had likewise cursed.”

“Did not God show you mercy and kindness and give the promise of a Redeemer for you?”

“Surely, He did, and gave us proofs of His love toward us in the garments He gave us to cover our shame.”

“Did this signify anything to you then as an offering made by blood for sin?”

“Indeed, it did,” said Adam, “for God fully explained to us the conditions of pardon. This we taught to our children and Cain knew it full well as did Abel, but Cain did not believe the details concerning the sin offering and this will explain to you why Abel brought a better sacrifice than Cain and by it though dead, yet he speaks.”

“How was it, Abel?” I said.

“Just as father has told you,” replied Abel.

“What about Cain?” I asked.

“He was self-willed and despised God’s way. Poor boy, he sowed his seeds of unbelief and reaped his harvest among the lost.”

“Will you tell me more about the results of your early sin when God drove you from the garden?”

“A thousand times I have told the story, but will cheerfully tell it again to you. Little did I comprehend before our sin the great depth and meaning of transgression. I know all that Moses wrote concerning it, and much beside, and his words were true; so also were the words of the Apostle Paul, all of which I know, for they have been repeated to me many times over. We had unbounded liberties in the garden and should have been content, but there stood the tree of knowledge very near the tree of life. God has said, ‘Of every tree you may freely eat except one.’ He threatened us with death should we disobey. Why we did disobey has been the awful problem of our lives. God let the penalty fall upon us. We became mortal and subject to death. The grant of immortality was withdrawn. We were depraved, and alienated from God. We lost His image and were without hope and without God. Only through His infinite mercy were we saved, and have the privilege of these mansions of bliss.”

I thanked Adam and the rest for their kindness to us and said, “We hope we can have another such chance to talk like this with you.”

“Oh, yes, we will be pleased at any time suitable to your convenience.”

We now looked up the broad avenue in the direction we were going only to see it simply crowded with saints and angels bound for the great convocation at the Throne. These were in chariots of various descriptions, or walking leisurely along, eagerly engaged in joyful conversation and pleasant visits by the way. It reminded me of those great occasions in the world when ancient Israel was gathering at her great annual feast of the Lord at Jerusalem when a half million or a million souls would be gathering from cities, towns, and country throughout the Holy Land. But at this feast innumerable crowds were pouring in from all directions, those who had been gathered from all kingdoms, nations, tongues, kindreds and people of the earth, Israelites and Gentiles. No such gatherings have ever met in the world for any purpose as was gathering here.

But this time we were so near the Throne that great waves of light and glory were flashing out in all directions. An earthly sunrise on a bright June morning is but a faint picture of this glory. We were still many tens of kilometers [12] away, but the magnificent buildings and exquisite mansions were simply beyond description.

[12. “Several leagues.” That is a few miles, maybe 40. A league being about 5.7 kilometres (3.5 miles).]

On both sides of this great avenue were the beautiful mansions built in the early days of heaven itself, which were in those early times occupied by the first saints who crossed the threshold of time into eternity. For there was a period in eternity when no soul of man walked these golden streets, nor saw, nor enjoyed this celestial glory, but from the days of Abel they began to gather here, with an ever-increasing ratio. I was reminded again and again of our Lord’s word on earth: “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” and truly, they had all been prepared by our blessed Lord Himself, using angels and men as His helpers.

There were also very large and spacious mansions more especially for the angels, as I was told, where they congregate and worship God and where they receive the divine commandments and from which they often start on their missions of love to the world of sin and sorrow.

Lovely fountains were gushing up their silvery streams of life, in the midst of the streets, and with the golden vessels of this holy sanctuary we were constantly refreshing ourselves, for the chariot was moving very slowly and leisurely along.

Enoch now said, “We are almost at the southern entrance,” and with this signal we all arose in the chariot and stood to our feet. The newer arrivals were so overcome and overawed by the majesty and glory of our surroundings that we began a hymn of praise. When we had finished the hymn, we all knelt upon the seats of the chariot and poured forth our praise to God. Bohemond shouted and said, “Oh, Throne of God, I am simply lost in the glory!”

Just at this moment David’s chariot drove by our side. It was filled mostly with strangers, but among them was Genevive, my mother, and Mary. David had returned by the way of the cathedral and found room for them. Now both chariots stood still, and we all got out, and walked but a short distance and stood beneath the wide-spreading branches of one of the trees of life. Here we sang another hymn and again we fell on our faces with adoring praise. We were so overcome with the majesty and glory all around us that we knew not what to say or even think. Thousands of the saints were gathering about us and pressing on nearer the Throne. All those ancient men and women of the chariot went forward at once. But Bohemond, Genevive, mother, Mary and myself stood a few moments to consult further with each other and with David who now came to us.

With Bohemond and myself there was a fear and an awe we could not overcome. All the rest were perfectly at home, and we tried to be, but felt a shrinking in our souls. The thought of soon standing beside the Throne and looking in the face of the Great Jehovah made us think deeply of our preparation.

David now said, “Let us go on and join the countless multitudes over there.”

Genevive and mother said, “If we are separated during this great service, we will meet you again at the banquet following.” q

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