The Trade

Commie — a common playing marble, especially one not used as a shooter.

Have you ever traded something that you valued highly, for something that you desired even more? I remember in the third grade trading away some very prized marbles. A friend of mine had brought to school a very special marble — an aggie made of agate. I don’t remember the color of it but I do remember that I wanted it more than any marble I had. Since my friend was willing to trade with me, the only obstacle was to agree on the terms of the trade. I offered 2, 3, and then 4 commies, but he wouldn’t even look at them. He asked, do you have any purees (transparent glass marbles of various colors). I then brought 4 purees out of the bag. These were not enough for my friend. I looked deep into my marble bag and found several additional purees that were much larger. When I finally had given him all my purees, he traded with me for the aggie.

God has offered us a trade. He offers one item called eternity. However, eternity, even though one item, brings many additional desirable qualities and gifts with it. All God wants in trade is our willful hearts — our desire to exhibit self-destructive behaviors. He even says He will change our heart’s desires from self-destruction toward life everlasting.

It has been over 50 years since I traded for that aggie and I have no idea where it is now. In fact, all of my so-called prized marbles are all gone, and the bag I kept them in is also gone.

Eternity is incomprehensible to me. Unlike an aggie, it is an abstract concept. This is why God has given us concrete, poetic, and pictorial descriptions of what eternity contains; a golden city with walls, gates, streets where children play, and old people with canes in their hands watching them play. Maybe Paul and Isaiah saw children trading and then playing a game of marbles in the street. Actually, the most accurate description of eternity is found in 1 Corinthians 2:9:

Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of mankind the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” [Based on Isaiah 64:4 & 65:17]

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal...” Revelation 21:10, 11.

Are you willing to trade away the relatively desirable things of this world that eventually slip out of our possession anyway?

Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University.

Photo Credit: / michelle kwajafa

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interesting. Way to explain the Preal of Great Price. But scholarship has moved so far ahead of the corn vision. Yet the scholars have been defrocked, shunned, or back watered. SA reaffirmed ancient myths. But we see almost the entire evangelical community clothed in their own rapture. The church seems to cherish their clay marbles. TZ

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I know what I’m willing to trade but do our current church leaders have the courage, God-given ability and willingness to trade the church’s self-destructive male-made narcissistic Male Headship theory, (the evil that subjugates females) that only benefits
43% of male members for the benefit to include the other 57% female members?


this is really what it all boils down to…the rich young ruler’s riches are gone, and so is he - so sad…no matter how much happiness a relatively prosperous life in this world brings, it can’t compare with eternity…for one thing, even if we had a problem in that next world, we’d sure have enough time to find a solution…


It will all be taken away at our death. But there is no trade-off as one can and should enjoy this world if he expects to enjoy the next. God has given us this world for our pleasure; if we don’t enjoy it here how can we expect to appreciate heaven?

Why present this as “either-or”? Were Abraham and Joseph condemned for their wealth? Some folks have been taught that those who are better off are, somehow, less worthy. Where did that originate?


This church cannot and will not move ahead until worship of heretical, nonbiblical teachings like The Headship Heresy are abandoned and all members are included. The evil of male headship will shipwreck this movement. Abandoning the Priesthood of ALL Believers for manmade theories instead of Christlike inclusion will sink this ship.


Absolutely, it will.

In my opinion, it can only be stopped by a hostile takeover by the other side, which, I have suggested many times, will be a Pyrrhic victory, at best.

The headship mania, as I have lived it, is not a biblical position, but a character trait, wrapped in religious rationalizations; a trait which cannot be changed through any amount of dialogue.

I hope people can receive this:

Just as David Koresh fed on his struggle with the government, the headship promoters will feed on their struggle with women and their supporters.

They will be strengthened to go down in flames, if necessary, and if you’re not careful, you will be depleted to the point of uselessness by serving as their narcissistic ‘fuel,’ or you will partake of their spirit, neither of which is a happy outcome, it seems to me.

This strikes me as a no-win situation, as it is currently set up.

But this denomination was not conceived in the spirit of the Priesthood of ALL Believers. It was conceived in the spirit of exclusion. The Door was Shut, and God only let the Adventists in.

Ellen White: Then Jesus shewed me the difference between faith and feeling. And I saw those who rose up with Jesus send up their faith to Jesus in the Holiest, and praying, Father give us thy spirit. Then Jesus would breathe on them the Holy Ghost. In the breath was light, power and much love, joy and peace.

Then I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne. They did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne and pray, My Father give us thy spirit.

Then Satan would breathe on them an unholy influence. In it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy and peace. Satan’s object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God’s children.

Adventists, following Ellen White, are prone to picturing themselves and God on one side and everyone else on the other, and getting their superegos mixed up with God, as Elmer might put it.

George Knight, for example, compares the “sanctified arrogance” of Jesus with the “sanctified arrogance” of Adventists, with no sense of irony, proportion, natural order or shame.

Examples could be multiplied.

Headship is just a branch on the tree of exclusivity, the name of which is The Great Controversy Theme.

Root up that unbiblical tree and you have something besides Seventh-day Adventism in hand, I suggest.

Buy the truth and sell it not.

It’s an individual choice if exchanging Seventh-day Adventism for the truth is a desirable trade.

I understand the struggle.


That it is personal is without question, and here is my experience.

The KJV lists 104 texts that include the word saved. Scan them all in a few minutes here:

There is zero reference to being saved as a state that results from a negotiation initiated by either God or the one saved.

I first turned pages to check every text with the word ‘saved’ in 1967. I had made Pascal’s wager and decided that if I was to live as a Christian I didn’t want to have made the effort and fail in the end.

Having misplaced the salvation checklist, actually not remembering ever having received a salvation checklist in 16 years of Seventh-day Adventist education, it was with the confidence of one having just graduated college that I figured I would assemble it on my own straight from the Bible.

What I discovered is that in living the Christian life there is no effort. Or to the point, there is no checklist for salvation. Salvation is a gift, not a transaction dependent on one’s heart or will or wallet.

Decades later, I discovered that Sister White once noted that if salvation were a transaction “the Creator is under obligation to the creature,” which she identified as the “heresy” that gave rise to the sale of indulgences. (See the Pacific Press book, “Searching for The God of Grace” by Stuart Tyner.)

And more recently, reviewing the Three Angel’s Message itself I was reminded that the everlasting gospel is summarized by affirming God’s sovereign role as Creator, utterly worthy of fear, glory, and worship, everything else, after all, including ourselves is already the Creator’s.

The clarification (with a loud voice) of God’s sovereignty it is that causes the collapse of Babylon, which in confusion surely is about adulterating the sovereignty of God with human self-importance, believing that somehow salvation is a transaction.

But this is only confusion, which is why John explains that God sent Jesus into the world, not to condemn the world but that through Jesus the Creator, the Creation is to be saved.

Does our salvation command our all? Not at all. And once we know this, we are not our own, let along our belongings.


Thanks for the reminder of The Good News. Very refreshing.

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