As we have pointed out before, in approx. 1928, brother Houteff began to teach the Sabbath school lessons in a Los Angeles area SDA church. His classes drew large crowds but soon trouble arose due to the fact that he began to reveal new interpretations of Scripture that wasn’t previously known within the SDA teachings. But to the humble laity these new revelations were quite exciting, as they searched it out and saw this new light clearly. The leaders were a whole different story.
Soon an uproar began within the SDA churches and the situation had to be dealt with. Either the leaders had to admit that brother Houteff was revealing “new light” or he was giving his own uninspired interpretations. As was clearly prophesied they chose the “let me tell you how to teach your message” that Ellen White predicted in (Test. to Ministers, p.475). In other words they refused to accept the idea that God had sent another prophet.
So it became clear that brother Houteff and his followers would be expelled and have to go elsewhere to promote the new revelations. After he was disfellowshipped he went to Texas and started his own “Camp” known as Mt. Carmel. A large land tract consisting of over 300 acres. He built several buildings, such as main office, school, etc. There he began to use the printing press to proclaim what he and others believed was the “Elijah” message. Thousands from around the country (SDA churches) began to write him and follow him, yet most were still members of the SDA churches. This was exactly what brother Houteff counselled. They were to learn the message but stay in the churches to reach others with this “sealing” message.
But as the years rolled on he discovered that many kept writing him asking some good pondering questions concerning many topics. Most were sincere requests to know more of the Elijah message. But some were sent with the purpose to try to trip him up or baffle him, to see if they could expose him in error. They were never able to do that. You see when God is leading someone and most especially if He has called them to be a prophet, no one can take away that person’s divine knowledge and understanding. If you’re a truth seeker, the answers you’ll see here should inspire you as to the depth of them.
After a while brother Houteff began to put the Q and A’s together in a series of written volumes. They’re known as “The Answerer” series, which consists of 5 volumes of Q and A. There were also additional questions and answers in the mailing news updates(sent to the thousands of Shepherd’s Rod believers), called the “Symbolic Code Series”. All together there is about 282 publicly addressed questions that brother Houteff answered. These can be really great learning tools because of the diversity of questions asked and answers given. We sincerely hope you enjoy them, and see them as many have within the SDA — truths which are enlightening.
Question No. 9:
“Early Writings,” p. 15, speaks about God’s announcing the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming, and pouring upon the saints the Holy Ghost. Does not all this take place at the time of the seven last plagues, just before the second Advent? If so, then does it not show that the “latter rain” is to be poured out upon God’s people after the close of probation?
True, we do understand from the passage in question that toward the close of the seventh plague, God will announce the day and the hour of Christ’s coming, and that He will then pour out His Spirit upon His saints. We do not, however, understand this outpouring to be either the “latter” or the “former rain” of truth, or yet the power prophesied of in Joel 2:23, 28, but rather the final manifestation of God’s Spirit, not to reveal to us any more of Gospel Truth, nor to enable us to proclaim it more fully, but simply to baptize us with a fitness to behold Jesus face to face, “as He is.”
Question No. 16:
I have been told that the Davidians teach that the throne of Isaiah 6 is a train pulled by a locomotive belching forth smoke. Do they so teach?
No such idea as this is anywhere to be found set forth in the publications of The Shepherd’s Rod, upon which all the Davidian teachings are based, as a careful reading of the literature will completely verify.
The word “train” is quoted from the Scriptures, and means retinue,” as explained in our Tract No. 1, The Pre-Eleventh-Hour Extra, 1941 Edition, p. 8.
Question No. 17:
“The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, p. 44, says that the great multitude having palms in their hands are only the second fruits of the earth’s harvest, whereas “The Great Controversy,” p. 646, speaking of all “overcomers,” says: “In every hand are placed the victor’s palm and the shining harp.” How can these statements be harmonized?
The multitude on which the Rod comments and the multitude of which The Great Controversy speaks, are two different companies, in two different locations, and on two different occasions. The former, the multitude of Revelation 7:9, have their palms on earth; the latter, the multitude of The Great Controversy, receive their palms and harps in heaven. These facts may be clearly seen from reading the statements in question.
Question No. 20:
What Biblical proof is there to show that the events of the Seven Seals (Rev. 4-8) span the entire world’s history, which is contrary to the Denomination’s teaching that they cover only the Christian church period? Don’t you know that the book with the seals is symbolical of the books of Daniel and The Revelation?
The foundation upon which rests the Denominational position that the seals are prophetic of events in the New Testament period, is their interpretation of the first seal, concerning which John says:
“I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Rev. 6:2.
This scripture is unauthoritatively interpreted to mean the early Christian church. The facts that the horse in the vision was white and the young church pure, the rider conquering and the church growing, do not in themselves make a rock foundation upon which to build up a theory that the events of the seals began with the Christian church.
John was in vision shown the seals about sixty-five years after the Pentecost, in the period when the church was already declining from her peak purity and steady growth. The Voice said to him: “Come up hither and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Rev. 4:1. In other words, the events which he was about to be shown were to develop in the future from the time he had the vision. Now let us take notice of what he saw:
“I was in the Spirit,” says John, “and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne….And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals….And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much,…and one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” Rev. 4:2; 5:1, 3-5.
Mark that the events symbolized were to materialize sometime after John had the vision, not before. Furthermore, where in any instance have the Scriptures ever symbolized the church by a man riding on a horse? If the horse symbolizes the church, then what of the man?
Obvious it is, that in this vision John was looking forward to the commencement of some important event that was to take place in the future from the time he had the vision rather than back when the church began. Moreover, it was to be in heaven, not on earth. As thousands upon thousands surrounded the throne upon which sat the Great Judge holding up the book that was sealed with seven seals the event obviously is more like the commencement of the Judgment of Daniel 7:9, 10 than like the commencement of the preaching of the gospel.
Speaking of the book which was sealed with the seven seals, the Spirit of Truth says: “Thus the Jewish leaders made their choice. Their decision was registered in the book which John saw in the hand of Him that sat upon the throne, the book which no man could open. In all its vindictiveness this decision will appear before them in the day when this book is unsealed by the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”-Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 294.
In this connection each component part of the entire symbolism dovetails with both sacred and profane history, and also with the Third Angel’s Message itself—thus giving “power and force” to the latter.
Question No. 21:
What is the seal of God upon the foreheads of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:3)? Is it the Sabbath seal or something else?
Being sealed in Christ “with that Holy Spirit of promise,” after having “heard the word of truth” (Eph. 1:13- 4:30), the saints are consequently sealed by Present Truth—the truth preached in their own day.
“The seal of the living God,” the Truth, by which the 144,000 are sealed (Rev. 7:2), is a special seal, being the same as “the mark” of Ezekiel 9. (See Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445; Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 267; Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 211). It demands one’s sighing and crying over the abominations which defile him, and which desecrate both the Sabbath and the house of God, especially against selling literature and raising goals during Sabbath services. As the saints have this seal or mark on their foreheads, the angels will pass over them, not slay them. It is equivalent to the blood on the door post on the night of the Passover in Egypt.
The angel is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who by sighing over their own sins, and over the sins in the house of God, show fidelity to the Truth. Then the destroying angels will follow, to slay utterly both old and young who have failed to receive the seal. (See Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 505)
So, the former seal enables the receiver to rise from the dead in the resurrection of the just, while the latter seal enables the sighing-crying one to escape death and forever to live for God.
Question No. 27:
In his history of the Advent Movement, Elder Loughborough relates: “In the month of November, 1846, a conference was held in Topsham Maine, at which Elder Bates was present. At that meeting Mrs. White…had a vision which was the cause of Elder Bates’s becoming fully satisfied as to their divine origin….Mrs. White, while in vision, began to talk about the stars giving a glowing description of rosy-tinted belts which she saw across the surface of some planet, and added, ‘I see four moons.’ ‘Oh,’ said Elder Bates, ‘she is viewing Jupiter!’ Then having made motions as though traveling through space, she began giving a description of belts and rings in their ever-varying beauty, and said, ‘I see seven moons.’ Elder Bates exclaimed, ‘She is describing Saturn. Next she said, ‘I see six moons,’ and at once began a description of the ‘opening heavens,’ with its glory….”-The Great Second Advent Movement,” pp. 257, 258.
The more powerful telescopes and stellar photography of today have enabled astronomers to discover that Jupiter has nine moons, and Saturn ten. The five additional moons of Jupiter were discovered between the years of 1892 and 1914. The eighth moon of Saturn was discovered in 1848, the ninth in 1899, and the tenth in 1905. And since her vision, it has been discovered that Uranus has but four instead of six moons.
In the light of these astronomical facts, how can you contend for the inspiration of Mrs. White’s writings?
The book, The Great Second Advent Movement, pp. 257, 258, is not saying that Sister White named the planets, but is repeating what was purportedly said by those who were present on the occasion of her having the vision of the planets. It does not, moreover, even intimate that Sister White concurred in the particular designations which Elder Bates (in the light of then current astronomical knowledge) gave to the planets which she then envisaged.
It was but natural for him, however, to identify them as he did, for it all did fit nicely into the astronomical teachings of that day. So, simply because he, in a moment of zealous enthusiasm not according to Divine revelation, presumed to identify and label what God identified or labeled not, does not give even a semblance of integrity to the charges which the question prefers against her.
She evidently knew nothing about the names of those planets; Elder Bates knew less; and we today know very little if any more. If and when God sees fit to make known their names, His identification of them will be correct; that we know.
Question No. 31:
If the Davidians think they have a message, why are they not content to go their way and let others go theirs? Why should they agitate their message in our church?
Tracing the church’s history down through the ages, we find that if all had taken the same position as the questioner, the advancing Truth would never have reached the church in any period. Had God’s messengers at sundry times failed to agitate their message in their own churches, how, then, would the various reformatory messages have reached His people? Is He not more interested in them than He is in the heathen? John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles, all sacrificed their lives in order to take their message to their own church. Why, then, should not the Davidians do likewise?
“Against these men [Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Tyndale, Baxter, Wesley], persecution raged with relentless fury; yet they ceased not to declare the truth. Different periods in the history of the church have each been marked by the development of some special truth, adapted to the necessities of God’s people at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition; those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried. The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency. Who dare refuse to publish it? He commands His servants to present the last invitation of mercy to the world. They cannot remain silent, except at the peril of their souls.”-The Great Controversy, p. 609.
Consequently, we dare not refuse to publish the special Davidian truth for the church today.
Question No. 34:
Tract No. 10, “The Sign of Jonah,” 1942 Edition, says that the evening is the ending, not the beginning, of the twenty-four-hour day. But Genesis 1:5 says the evening and the morning were the first day. Does not this statement put the evening in the first part of the day?
It is agreed that according to Genesis 1:5 the evening truly is the first part of the day. For example, Friday night is the first part of Saturday, and Saturday night the first part of Sunday. This Bible fact was recognized by God’s people all along the way. But from early in Bible time to this very day, the term “at even” has been used to designate the last part of the day-the afternoon (Ex. 12:6; 16:13; Mark 14:12, 13, 15, 17; John 20:19).
Thus this terminology, though in common use, does not in any wise alter the fact that the night which follows the “at even” period and precedes the day, is to be reckoned as the first part of the twenty-four-hour cycle, for “the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Gen. 1:31. It is in this light that the statement on page 17 of Tract No. 10, is to be understood.
Question No. 36:
How can the sealing of the 144,000 (the first fruits) and the great multitude (the second fruits), both take place under the sixth seal, as Revelation 7 indicates from its position between the closing events of the sixth seal and the opening of the seventh seal?
Revelation 7, coming as it does between the closing events of the sixth seal and the opening of the seventh, naturally appears to place the sealing of both the 144,000 and the great multitude among the events of the sixth seal. But a careful study of the seven seals, proves that the sixth chapter connects with the eighth chapter in continuity. So the seventh chapter is parenthetical, and does not restrict itself either to the sixth seal or to the seventh.
In other words, though the seventh chapter follows the events of the sixth seal, and precedes the events of the seventh seal, the chapter itself is not to be taken as necessarily chronological any more than are chapters 12 to 22 to be taken as a part of the seventh seal simply because they are recorded immediately following its events. The time of the events of the seventh chapter must be determined relatively, in the same manner as must the events of the twelfth to the twenty-second chapters.
Question No. 37:
If God’s people are in the Kingdom during the Loud Cry, how can they be put in prison or driven to the mountains during that time, as the Spirit of Prophecy asserts they will (“The Great Controversy,” p. 626)?
When it is understood that the 144,000 are but first fruits, the forerunners or advanced guard of a great multitude of second fruits, the difficulty in question is immediately resolved. The first fruits stand with the Lamb, safe on Mt. Zion (in the Kingdom). Thus those who shall find refuge in the mountains, and those who shall be put in prison, can only be from among the second fruits—those who shall accept the message during the Loud Cry, but who shall not yet at that time have reached the Kingdom. (See our Tract No. 12, The World Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, 1941 Edition, pp. 45-49.)
Question No. 38:
“The Shepherd’s Rod” seems to say that Jesus will leave the Most Holy place at the execution of the slaughter of Ezekiel 9, while “Early Writings,” p. 36, seems to say that He will leave the place after His work in the sanctuary is done, and then will come the seven last plagues. How do you reconcile the two?
Though the author of Early Writings says that Christ will not leave the sanctuary before His “work is done,” yet elsewhere she writes: “They will feed upon the errors and mistakes and faults of others, ‘until,’ said the angel, ‘the Lord Jesus shall rise up from his mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary, and shall clothe himself with the garments of vengeance, and surprise them at their unholy feast; and they will find themselves unprepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb.”’-Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 690.
Viewing the question in the light of both statements, we see that Christ leaves the sanctuary at a certain time in the “unrolling of the scroll.” Coming to the church, He finds her not spotless and ready to meet Him, but deep in sin, yet self-complacently feeding upon the errors, faults, and mistakes of others.
Now the problem before us is not to harmonize the Rod with Early Writings, but Early Writings with the Testimonies. These are automatically harmonized when it is understood that Christ leaves the sanctuary more than the one time: Once after “the closing work for the church” (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266), and again after the closing work for the world.
(Next week we’ll bring more Q and A in part 2)