Greetings From Serbia
“Brothers and sisters in Christ, Grace and Peace from Zremjanin, Serbia.
Here we are in the heart of Bogamil territory where even today there are pockets of Paulikian believers in the one true God, keeping the Sabbath and preserving the beliefs of generations past. We are meeting daily now since Wednesday evening with a small group of Father-Son believers eager to study the Word and share precious truth.
During our Bible Study time yesterday morning, they shared gems they had found in Scripture. Judges 14:14, Samson's Riddle, speaks of honey from the strong lion, a symbol of Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. This was connected with Psalm 81:16, honey from the Rock, another symbol of Christ, the Chief Cornerstone.
In our meeting last night Igor shared a new perspective on the story of the Good Samaritan, a factual account we are told in Desire of Ages that had recently transpired. We considered the identity of the main characters. The man, beaten and left half-dead, is totally helpless. He can do nothing for himself. So are we unable to remedy our condition of sin. The Samaritans were originally Jews inter-married with the local Syrians, a mixed breed despised by the "pure bred" Jews who woundn't even speak to them (as demonstrated by the astonishment of the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well when Jesus asked her for a drink of water). But Jesus, too, was a "mysteriously blended" mix of divinity and humanity, rejected by men, despised, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Like the Samaritan, He pours the oil of His own Spirit into our wounds, the wine, a symbol of His life-giving blood. He wraps us in His own garment to cover our nakedness. Jesus is the Good Samaritan.
We traced the spread of primitive Christianity from Antioch to Armenia where for 800 years the truth of God and His Son, the Sabbath, Old Testament laws were preserved and the Bible copied for generations by a group called the Paulikians. To the east, they migrated into Bulgaria (bordering Turkey) and then into Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro--the Balkans. Even today, there are groups known as the Paulikians in Serbia, just south of Zreminin in Panchevo. Tales of horrible persecutions for over a thousand years are still told here.
The Bogomils (Dear to God), are also known in these parts and endured for many centuries, Protestants before the Reformation, as they also rejected the doctrines and practices of Rome, were exterminated by crusades and edicts, exiled and chased ever farther into Europe where they emerged as Passaginians, Cathars, Albigensians, and Waldenses. It was amazing to see these Serbian believers identify with their history and add even more details. We hope to see some Bogomil sites while here.
Grace and peace be unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the Father in truth and love. 2 John 3