South Africa, a country of nearly 60 million people, was our next destination. For me personally it is the country on this trip that I was most wanting to visit. I have never been to Africa, yet Africans were crucial in my evangelization. When I was studying my Master’s Degree in Wales it was a Baptist woman from Nigeria and an Adventist man from Zambia who were crucial in sharing with me and whose faith I admired. I am forever thankful to them.
South Africa is famous to outsiders in recent years for the difficult race relations here, apartheid and Nelson Mandela, along with the recent World Cup; but for Adventists when they hear South Africa one man comes to mind – Walter Veith. We praise God for his ministry and many all over the world continue to pray for him (how often Adrian was asked on his travels “What about Walter Veith?”). Babylon is fallen has been preached mightily by him, but it needs a clear message of Righteousness by Faith coming out of the 1888 platform to really give it transformative, spirit-filled “love your enemies” power. It is with this hope that we came to Cape Town, a city on the famous Cape of Good Hope.
Cape Town, one of South Africa’s three capitals, is a city of 4 million people and is the second biggest city in South Africa after Johannesburg. We were graciously picked up at the airport by Philip and Frikkie. Frikkie has been studying the Father-Son for a while and is now working through the Feasts. I noticed that he was reading “Ceremonial Dividing Line” while waiting for me at the airport.
We met Paul and Elise, who were Adrian’s first contacts in South Africa, having emailed Adrian back in 2011. We had dinner our first night at their house, and Frikkie and his wife joined us for a very nice study and dinner. The next day at the waterfront Hein and Philip met us; they are the two main organizers here. They were both in the literature work in the past and they took care of printing a lot of material.
Frikkie told us the story of the founding of the Adventist Church. There are probably many variations on this, different strands, but he focused on the story of Peter Wessels. I was going to write this story, but a transcription of the history as told by his great grandson is already online, so instead I will put a link here: http://www.sdadefend.com/Ad-history/P-Wessels.htm This is very interesting history and well worth a read, especially for South Africans.
We had our first series of official meetings on Sabbath, September 9. This first day was focused on the Father-Son and its significance to family relations, particularly husband-wife, and parents to the children. I met Tommy Cooper, who told me his story of how he learned about the Father-Son on his own and preached it heavily in his church; he has now been disfellowshipped. Many came from far to hear. A large portion of those attending came from Saron, a town outside Cape Town. Adrian preached in this more humble town on Monday night.
There are many here that came into the Father-Son truth first. Frikkie, who picked us up, is a well respected former lay pastor who came into the Adventist Church in 1990, having formerly been a deacon in the Dutch Reformed Church, including the Church in Wellington which their denomination calls the “Mother Church” for its important historical role in South Africa. It was the church of Andrew Murray (he has a mention in Peter Wessel’s story), South Africa’s most famous theologian at the time and a name that many are probably familiar with. When Frikkie joined the Adventist Church he attended the Paarl Church, whose pastor was Francois Duplesis, the man who works alongside Walter Veith. Frikkie worked as a Literature Evangelist for 26 years and also as a lay pastor for 6 years. Pastor Louis Hoffmeyer, whom Adrian baptized this past passover, also originally attended there, having received the faith through a Walter Veith evangelistic campaign. Another man we met, Morris, also converted from Dutch Reform in 1991 and attended this church, he was high up in the literature work for many years before he found the Father-Son truth.
Morris told me the story of how he struggled with the Father-Son truth for many years, studying all the time. Eventually he accepted it and he and his friend Raymond preached the Father-Son to his friends in Saron. They told Morris, “we have heard you, now hear us, but don’t be shocked.” Morris expressed that nothing could shock him now, but when they expressed that he needed to study the Feasts he realized he still could be shocked! Amazing that this group in Saron had been led in a different way and the two paths are merging now.
Adrian has spent much time answering the fears of many of Father-Son believers who had followed his ministry for years and were alarmed when he accepted the Feasts. This has really brought out the 1888 message, the everpresent cross, and the covenants as individual experiences – which is good for all involved, as for most of us the 1888 message still remains enshrouded in darkness. We discussed much of this with Paul and Elize on top of Table Mountain, the famous landmark that overlooks Cape Town. We stressed that the key element of the Feasts is the giving of the holy spirit (Numbers 28), this frees it from legalism and makes it something greatly to be desired. God’s presence would be in these appointments, as stated in Exodus 33:14 – “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” God set up times to be with us, he would honor his appointments, and it was his presence that sanctifies through his spirit, not through our own works. With this understanding we hope that the foundation for feastkeeping can be placed more solidly in righteousness by faith, allowing the spirit to come into unity of love. For these feastkeepers from Saron who attended these meetings, Adrian tried to ground their belief in the Divine Pattern and righteousness by faith as understood in the framework of the everlasting gospel.
Near Saron is a factory named Grassroots that specializes in fruit processing, making different forms of dry fruit. The CEO, having read that the Sabbath was a Feast keeper along with the other Feasts in Leviticus 23, had decided to keep the Feasts privately and had been doing so for 12 years. His mother shared the story to me how when she finally learned what her son was doing she was shocked, and prayed and prayed about it and was shown certain verses in Isaiah 48 (She had highlighted many verses in Isiah 48, but it started here):
Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them. Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb… Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 46: 6-8, 10
They started to keep the Feasts more seriously. Molly and her other son Johann (who is the Chief Operating Officer) also began to study the Feasts and to teach it to the people in this town. Many began to keep it, causing a rift with the church there. These include a young man named Ashwell, very excited for the truth, and they will all come to Tabernacles. To see the message uniting these two strands (feastkeepers and father-son) together was beautiful to behold, but requires patience from all involved.
And truly those who would honor God’s appointments and his begotten son (which are connected through the symbol of the book of the law sitting on the right of the 10 Commandments in the most Holy Place) have faced affliction. From Hein I heard stories of his shock and amazement to see churches keeping feasts in Florida according to “tradition”, while people got disfellowshiped here in South Africa just for attending a feast. He himself was disfellowshipped without any charge. Ashwell in Saron told me stories of how people he knew swore at him in the church building on Sabbath for keeping appointed times. And Frikkie shared with me his bemusement that the Adventist Church want to disfellowship him but baptized one of his bible students who specifically said that she didn’t believe in the Trinity. Such confusion! To accept the student into the church for not believing the Trinity but to expel the teacher for not believing the same doctrine!
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40
This leads us into one of the most interesting developments we have witnessed so far on our travels. Phillip organized for us to meet his daughter’s home-school group, 5 young mothers. They are all Christian but of many different beliefs. One lady with cancer is part of a Sabbath keeping Hebrew Roots group, and had been enthusiastically sharing with the others the joys of God’s appointments and the peace that comes with obedience to his law. They were thus intrigued to hear what Adrian would present. Starting with the families and the blessing structure, Adrian went through the Father-Son as the pattern for husband-wife and then into the Sabbath and into the Feasts. I watched awestruck as these ladies threw away the Trinity and Sunday sacredness like they were rotten leftovers and fully embraced the inheritance of the begotten Son and the appointed times as a channel for receiving the spirit of God. This was the first meeting we had with non-Adventists on our trip, and to see how the message gave them peace and comfort was a joy. One lady, Juliette, was desperate to organize another meeting to hear more before we leave Cape Town. She headed her email to Adrian, “Hello history maker!” What an honor for us. God is surely moving, for we had another example of it.
On the way to this meeting with the home-school mothers we stopped off at a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan buffet and health food store named Maryanne’s. The owner remarked how unusual it was to have three men come together to eat there, as usually it is only women who come, or women dragging their husbands. The food was excellent, and as we had another meeting in the area on Thursday, we told them we would be back. We learned as we talked about this place later that they were Sabbathkeepers and kept the feasts! When we went back Adrian had a long talk with the owner, they bonded because they both had food allergies; the owner’s food issues are what drove him in this direction. They had also started a school called the “Daniel Academy” based on Daniel’s diet, which had no competitive sports, no grades, and no computers/cellphones. This really caught our attention. We shared on the Sabbath, and he remarked that he was struck by the commandment, and how he noticed that the original covenant God made was with Abraham, who was not a Jew – a deep understanding of the covenants, an issue we have had to preach on much, as many have misunderstood or rejected once again the 1888 message. That this man, Mark, had come to this understanding on his own being led purely by the spirit of God was an indictment of Adventism…and another example of the stones crying out.
Adrian gave him the book ‘Divine Pattern’ and told him to please contact him. I was amazed how God had led them through his food allergies. Adrian’s walk with God has always been marked with sickness and food problems, driving him forward, and I am reminded of myself and my realization that I couldn’t treat my body so badly when my psoriasis first started acting up. It seems that health consciousness/sensitivity is a channel directly into spiritual consciousness/sensitivity. To think that this message is being driven forward by man’s gut! For he said unto Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Cor 12: 9-10
Tuesday evening, 12 Sept, we came to Sunnyside Lodge for the Aged to meet Tommy’s sister who runs the place. She showed us her operations and how she has to run it budgetwise on a month to month basis, as God has kept the place going in the face of total removal of support from the Adventist Chuch for what is in actuality an Adventist institution. She is really an amazing lady, doing payroll and overseeing the place alone; she also lives next door and is always on call. She told us how she has noticed that people are coming in younger and younger, because of strokes or Alzheimer’s or whatever else. The place has 70 people staying there and as one old man said to us as we were leaving: “Have you come to decide our fate?” it shows us the precarious situation they are in. We want to support this institution. Many have come to believe in God through the evening worships she does. She is drawing up a proposal for a more permanent way to support, but if anybody would like to donate now check the website here: http://www.sunnyside.org.za/about-us.php
She reminded us of the text: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and wiows in their affliction to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
On one of our free days we made our way through the beautiful valley of Paarl to Franschoek, or French corner in Afrikaans, to see the Huguenot Memorial Museum. Cape Town was founded in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company, and Dutch remains the primary influence in the Afrikaans language, along with German. The Huguenots in France, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, fled the country, many going to the Netherlands and the UK. They then came to South Africa in the 1700s where they blended in with the Dutch and became Afrikaans. It is interesting that while Maranathamedia has had little contact with the Netherlands and Great Britain their rich heritage lives on in South Africa. Still, while the museum was informative, the monument itself was rather a tragedy. 3 giant arches representing the Trinity with the Jesuit sun (with the wavy rays coming off it) above it, towering over a woman with her chains broken who is standing on the globe. Yet is she really free? She is covered in the fleur-de-lis, a symbol rejected by France for its flag because of its associations with feudalism, absolutism, and church-state Catholicism. Its illumination is organized by the Lion’s Club, a freemasonic front group. What a wake up call to us. Rome has been attacked for thousands of years, it knows how to deal with it. I thought about how truth, if not received in repentance and gratitude, puffs us up, and we forget that “if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” 1 Cor 8:2 Then we curse our children because we don’t allow them or anybody else to move further into the light. Would that when the day of our visitation comes we don’t reject God.
We had two Sabbath evenings in our time in Cape Town, both of which we spent at the house of one of the students of Frikkie’s bible study group. They had been Adventists for a few years, and they had invited their non-Adventist friends to study, and Frikkie shared with them the truth relationship between the Father and Son. One had gotten baptized into the Adventist Church without accepting the Trinity, as previously mentioned. Because of this some of the leaders in the church were alarmed, and Frikkie’s Bible students hoped that if they just met Adrian and really heard out the position there could be some semblance of an understanding reached.
The first Sabbath Adrian told his testimony in detail, trying to show that he was thoroughly an Adventist with a good understanding of the history of the church; and how events had led him into conflict with the main church. This he did slowly, not wanting to cause argument, finding common ground. The point was made that this was a matter of conscience; Adrian was only testifying of the peace the begotten son had given him, which the Trinity never did, while respecting the right of others to believe differently. The crucial point is that Jesus is God/deity by faith, for in eternity when His Father said “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7), Jesus replied “Amen”, for he is the “Amen, the faithful and true witness” (Revelation 3:14). This makes him the “Author/beginner of Faith” (Hebrews 12:2). This begotten son inherited all things; this is the basis of the Father being love, that He “hath given all things into His Son’s hand” (John 3:35). The unbegotten son has no need to be given anything from the Father, therefore there is no gratitude; there is no faith necessary because there is no inheritance – this son is righteousness in himself not righteousness by faith. By beholding this Jesus “just as he is”, as the “author of faith”, we are changed “into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18) But this point can be difficult to fathom, which we understand, so we kept it as polite as possible. This meeting went well, praise God, and so we arranged for another meeting the following week.
The next Sabbath evening this head elder brought another elder and the youth pastor along. This time he immediately started asking questions. This led into a long discussion on many issues of which we are familiar with, but two important points were drawn out. One is that this issue is divisive, yet it was made clear that there are many divisive issues in the church yet people are not thrown out for believing it. Victory over sin was mentioned and indeed, the two elders actually fundamentally disagreed on victory over sin, one believed it possible, the other not. The other point had to do with the practical logistics of how the Church was dealing with disagreement on the Godhead. Because the Trinity is not explicitly in Scripture and only recently brought into the Church (Questions on Doctrine leading into 1980), it is inevitable that disagreement would happen. It was a problem that wasn’t going to go away, and the Adventist Church in their handling of it - callously suppressing people and throwing them out of the church – was actually creating “Adventist Terrorists”, just like how America’s War on Terror was in actuality creating/feeding Islamic Terrorism. Many of those who learn this truth are not mature Christians (like myself) and don’t handle it well, and our carnal nature wants to attack the church and prove them wrong. Adrian is actually doing the church a favor by calming down non-trinitarians, using scripture to show that we should respect authority, and maintaining an Adventist pastoral platform keeping non-trinitarians from drifting away into extremism or bitterness.
Thankfully, though the meeting started off tense and there was underlying anger and misconceptions in the minds of the representatives of the Church, we were able to get through the meeting and see that we could still be brethren and love one another. I pray that we can continue to be respectful and see the bigger picture of religious liberty (Be ye merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful – Luke 6:36) while also hoping that God can use these meetings as a mirror to show us how and what we are lacking in our our spiritual walk.
Our last Sabbath here we spent north of Cape Town at the home of Rudi, a tomato farmer. He is a strong Father-Son believer and has a small group doing a home church. He wanted to hear on the 3 Angel’s Message and the Godhead, which we happily obliged. An understanding of the 1st Angel’s Message would lead naturally into the pure faith of Mary Magdalene, which would cause Babylon to fall. Then the true cross was preached, a message many had never heard. This powerful message is centered around a quote from Education, pg. 263, which I quote in detail:
Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ's agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God,—subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death,—it is said that “His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” “In all their affliction He was afflicted: ... and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9.
His Spirit “maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” As the “whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together” (Romans 8:26, 22), the heart of the infinite Father is pained in sympathy. Our world is a vast lazar house, a scene of misery that we dare not allow even our thoughts to dwell upon. Did we realize it as it is, the burden would be too terrible. Yet God feels it all. In order to destroy sin and its results He gave His best Beloved, and He has put it in our power, through co-operation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to an end. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14
This was not the 24 hour fleshly cross that the world has known, but the spiritual cross that Christ has borne for 6000 years. This was a message begun to be preached by Jones and Waggoner in 1888, but has been lost for 120 years (3-4 generations). The thought comes: How could we miss this? This text is in ‘Education’, one of Ellen White’s major works! Yet there it is. If this cross is understood, if we can enter into the fellowship of this deeper suffering, then we would cease to sin because love would not allow us to sin. All here were blessed with this message and many convinced that this is the message we needed to take to the world.
I write this at the end of the Sabbath as night descends once again. We fly tomorrow to George. Please pray for us. It’s a pleasure and an honor to write these articles! God bless everyone