The Sin of Achan
In one of the recent dreams posted by the For My People Ministry, there was an illustration used that alluded to the story of Achan in the Bible to prove a point. While this is a topic that should not be taken lightly, it is something that should be studied and understood by those who may have been defiled by some of the deceptive reasoning. The presentation of information was correct and truthful according to biblical principles, but the FMPM fails to apply the scenario to themselves and examine the very things that they are doing. So we will take a little bit of time to evaluate the material presented and then make a proper application. The story of Achan’s sin is found in the book of Joshua and centers around the time of the taking of the city of Jericho. God gave specific instructions to the Israelites as to the manner of how the city should be taken and what was to be done with everything inside. We read “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD. KJV — Joshua 6:16-19 However, one man chose to transgress the commandments of the Lord. The Bible describes it as this “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. KJV — Joshua 7:1 As a result of one man’s sin the whole congregation suffered. While one was hiding his sin in his tent, those who were fighting the battles of the Lord suffered loss because God’s presence was not with them in the battle. The Bible tells us that sin separates us from God. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. KJV — Isaiah 59:2 While sin was being harbored in the camp, God could not remain among his people. We also see this demonstrated in the story in the wilderness. After the sin of idolatry at Sinai, God was very angry with the people and gave instructions to remove the tabernacle from the encampment of the people. “For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. KJV — Exodus 33:5. And further we are told “And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. KJV — Exodus 33:7 Inspiration reveals the significance of this act. “By the divine direction the tent that had served as a temporary place of worship was removed “afar off from the camp.” This was still further evidence that God had withdrawn His presence from them. He would reveal Himself to Moses, but not to such a people. The rebuke was keenly felt... But they were not left without hope. The tent was pitched without the encampment, but Moses called it “the tabernacle of the congregation.” All who were truly penitent, and desired to return to the Lord, were directed to repair thither to confess their sins and seek His mercy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p327.2 Sin always leads to reproach and shame. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” KJV — Proverbs 14:34. It separates us from God, and as the FMPM even confesses, sin is defined as the transgression of the law. That law is God’s Ten Commandments and while it is easy for us to point to others’ supposed sins, we must also examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Those who truly are sorry for their sin and seek His mercy while confessing their sins, those alone can find reconciliation with God. So how has the FMPM lived up to the words of condemnation that they have for others? Have they walked in the light that they are sharing with others? Let’s see their words from the dream “Houses of Ivory.” “However, in spite of the warning, Achan coveted items, took them, and hid them in the ground under his tent. His family knew of this sin. By burying the items in the dirt inside his tent, he involved his entire family in the theft and deception. God claimed Jericho, the first city conquered in Canaan, as His. He called it accursed, that is to say, devoted to God. The Israelites were not to take for themselves anything from the city, because God had said it all belonged to Him. Accursed and devoted refer to giving things to the Father permanently. “The items Achan stole belonged to God, not man. Israel could not prosper, be blessed, or helped until the evil was removed. Achan’s stubborn silence about his behavior was an acted lie, and his confession at the end gave glory to God. The items were dug up from Achan’s tent, laid out before God, and all the people saw who and what had caused so much trouble during their attack on Ai. This verse emphasizes that the sin of one man brought God’s wrath on all the Israelites.” According to the statements just mentioned, it becomes clear how one man’s sins can affect others. By the family of Achan knowing about the sin and saying and doing nothing to put it away, they became involved in the theft and deception and God’s wrath fell on the family as well. Also the FMPM stated that “Achan’s stubborn silence about his behavior was an acted lie.” With the testimonies and evidence about what Ernie Knoll and the women involved with him have been doing, it seems strange that there is a stubborn silence from him about his behavior. He doesn’t deny the charges nor does he confirm them. He stated they are lies and falsehoods, but he doesn’t say what is a lie or falsehood. He defends what he was commanded to do but he doesn’t explain what God asked him to do. Is this not an “acted lie” and is this not “stubborn silence” about his behavior? Moreover in emails both narrowly and widely distributed, and allegations and anathemas regarding former participants in FMPM, it becomes clear that the FMPM lied about others, slandering them and attempting to intimidate them or to separate current believers from any contact they might have with the former participants. Are not these acted lies? In the houses of the Knolls are registered not merely one sin, but a series of sins. Here is how we can be guilty of bearing false witness... “False speaking in any matter, every attempt or purpose to deceive our neighbor, is here included. An intention to deceive is what constitutes falsehood. By a glance of the eye, a motion of the hand, an expression of the countenance, a falsehood may be told as effectually as by words. All intentional overstatement, every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or exaggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood. This precept forbids every effort to injure our neighbor's reputation by misrepresentation or evil surmising, by slander or tale bearing. Even the intentional suppression of truth, by which injury may result to others, is a violation of the ninth commandment. Patriarchs and Prophets, pp309.2-309.3 Many are being deceived by the FMPM ministry because through “intentional suppression of the truth”, supporters of their ministry believe the allegations are false or are discouraged from even investigating the matter. Another sin would include the very sin mentioned in their dream “Houses of Ivory.” Regarding the taking of something that did not belong to Achan was the sin of covetousness. This is also connected to the principle of tithe giving. As the examples given in the dream were exaggerated expressions and were a misstatement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, these constitute falsehood. And we know “that no lie is of the truth.” KJV — 1 John 2:21
But let us look a little closer to these allegations.
There are two individuals mentioned who supposedly had 1) misused the tithe and 2) were guilty. So let’s look at the second one first. An individual used some of their tithe money and sent it to help an orphanage, but after seeing the spirit of prophecy quotes about how tithe was to be used for ministry and not for a poor fund, they then got their money back before it reached the orphanage and gave it to another ministry that was spreading the gospel. The second individual who had been faithfully giving tithe to the For My People Ministry was going through hard times and asked for prayers from FMPM to help them provide food for their children. Money was provided to the individual from FMPM without any explanation or stipulations. When the individual later found out about the sins that Ernie and others in the ministry were involved in, she spoke out against those. At that time she was called by another former believer and told that the money that was given to her for food and to pay bills was tithe money and needed to be returned and since she didn’t return it then she was guilty of stealing the tithe.
If the second individual was wrong for using tithe money for a poor fund and was even counseled by the ministry about it, then who was wrong in giving the first individual tithe money for food and to pay bills? And if the first individual needed to repay the money, then why was that not stated from the beginning? Is this not a false witness and is not the FMPM guilty of the very sin that they are condemning in others? And if we know that the tithe should only be used for ministry, would it not be reasonable to speak out against a ministry that is using the tithe money for going to nudist resorts and to fund their orgies? Is this not hypocrisy at its worst?
The worst part about what Ernie and Becky are doing through their deception is that they are making others corporately responsible for their sins. Just as in the story, Achan’s family suffered the same fate because they knew the sin that was in the camp but they did nothing to stop it. All those in the ministry and those who support the ministry with time or finances now become guilty of the same sins as the ministry if they become aware of what they are doing and continue to support the ministry and cover up their sins.
“The history of Achan teaches the solemn lesson that for one man’s sin, the displeasure of God will rest upon a people or a nation till the transgression is searched out and punished. Sin is corrupting in its nature. One man infected with its deadly leprosy may communicate the taint to thousands. Those who occupy responsible positions as guardians of the people are false to their trust if they do not faithfully search out and reprove sin. Many dare not condemn iniquity, lest they shall thereby sacrifice position or popularity. And by some it is considered uncharitable to rebuke sin. The servant of God should never allow his own spirit to be mingled with the reproof which he is required to give; but he is under the most solemn obligation to present the Word of God, without fear or favor. He must call sin by its right name. Those who by their carelessness or indifference permit God’s name to be dishonored by His professed people, are numbered with the transgressor— registered in the record of heaven as partakers in their evil deeds.” S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 996.
In 1993, a man who went by the name of David Koresh was besieged at a compound in Waco, Texas. The compound contained many men, women, and children who called themselves Branch Davidians, an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The siege carried out by the FBI and the ATF ended after 51 days with the compound being burned to the ground and Koresh along with 79 others found dead inside. This man claimed to be a prophet of God and was well acquainted with the Bible and the writings of Ellen White. He convinced many women in the compound that God wanted them to be his “spiritual wives”, he had sexual relations with them and fathered many children. It was testified by several who had been in the compound that polygamy was being practiced, but the people stayed and continued to give Koresh their support. Because of their sin and loyalty to their leader, God could not protect them and many died with their deceived leader.
It was said that before the siege David Koresh had talked about the sins in the Adventist church and how God was going to pour out his wrath upon the church. I was told that he even mailed a letter to the General Conference Office telling of their coming destruction. But since he was not following the commandments of God himself, the destruction came upon him and his followers instead.
So the story of Achan does have an application for us today. We should not remain silent when we know sin is taking place. The Bible says, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” KJV — Isaiah 58:1 We should also practice what we preach. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” KJV — James 1:22 Also we should not support anything that we know to be contrary to God’s commandments. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you...for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness. KJV — 2 Corinthians 6:17,14
We should also note this last point. That if we refuse to separate from the ungodly, then we will suffer the same fate as them. Moses spoke to those that were in rebellion with Dathan and Abiram, “Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. KJV — Numbers 16:26 Regarding the sins of the FMPM, inspiration penned these words “I felt led out to rebuke this man in the name of the Lord and to call upon the women who were with him to separate from him and withdraw their misplaced confidence, for unhappiness and ruin were in the path they had entered upon. The Ledger of Heaven testifies of this man thus: “A deceiver, an adulterer, creeping into houses and leading captive silly women.” How many souls he will destroy with his satanic sophistry the judgment alone will reveal. Such men ought to be rebuked and discountenanced at once, that they may not bring a continual reproach upon the cause. Testimonies for the Church, Vol 5, p 138.3
Shall we remain silent while sin is in the camp and doing it’s leavening work to destroy families and faith in the true Three Angels Messages that call for keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus? “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” KJV — Ephesians 5:5-7
Reader, if you are one of those who have been deceived by the For My People Ministry, will you make things right today? Will you choose to break from a ministry that professes much, but secretly violates every principle of the Decalogue? Will you heed God’s warning to not be partakers with them? God is very merciful if you will only repent and return unto Him before it is too late.
“Shall we not regard the mercy of God? What more could He do? Let us place ourselves in right relation to Him who has loved us with amazing love. Let us avail ourselves of the means provided for us that we may be transformed into His likeness, and be restored to fellowship with the ministering angels, to harmony and communion with the Father and the Son. Steps to Christ, pp21.4-22.1