We are often inspired when reading of a man or woman who has lived a Godly life. Examples such as Apostle Paul and his complete turnaround. Job’s perseverance. Noah’s steadfastness and faith amid scorn and mocking. In this post I would like to introduce a man who I have come to know and received true inspiration. Hopefully after reading about his life, you will as well.
Born in Bulgaria on March 2, 1885, he and his brothers migrated to the US in 1907. Arriving penniless, he sound found work as hotelier and grocer in the state of Illinois . While in the hotel business in 1919, he became “intensely interested in religion”.This led him to become a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church.
The church that he had become affiliated with was, as he put it “not too attractive for a church”. It was a rented hall that they had used for a church. He was , like many of us in those roaring youthful twenties, aspiring to become wealthy instead of poor. But as time went on the Truth became dearer and dearer to his heart, steadily replacing those “get rich” aspirations, all too common among us mortals.
Soon he left for California but when he got there he became sick, an illness which required medical attention. His savings was not well either. The stay at the local sanitarium drained his account even more, so much so that the thought of “going broke and staying poor grew larger and larger.” But thankfully he did recover his health.
But after this episode, with no job prospects looming, he became worried for his financial future, yet remained upbeat about his faith in God. But during his California stay, he remembered that he had not paid his tithes or offerings to his church in the mid west, which he was still a part of. The amount he reasoned was 75.00 due in back tithes. He was quoted as saying “I thought then that if I should fail to pay this debt now while I had enough to pay it, I could never again get that much money together and it would have to stay unpaid forever. Better get broke now, and be free of debt, than to get broke later and be a debtor forever.”
” My account, I figured, was just a little over my debt. When I wrote a check for the whole balance, and sent it to the church in the middle west, I was left with 3.50 in my pocket.”
So we see from this example that this man went out on a limp, as they say, and gave nearly all he had, to get square with God. That leap of faithfulness got quickly rewarded. Shortly after paying almost all he had, he received a check from his bank that he had ordered closed. To his amazement a check for 350.00 was made out to him, as his final balance!
Things started to rebound, he found a good paying job at a young fledgling company called Maytag. An old stock investment, that he thought was worthless, doubled in price from his purchase price. So the Lord was fulfilling His part of the promise –Mal. 3:10.
All the while during this time he faithfully did not work on the Sabbath. His manager at Maytag told him one day ” it must be wonderful to believe as you do, but you know I could never be a Seventh Day Adventist.” He responded back why not? “Because if I begin to keep the Sabbath as you do, I will lose my job.”
The man responded “Better to lose your job than to lose your life.” The sales manager should have taken the advice, he died very shortly after this conversation. Around that same time, the bookkeeper discussed religion with the man, and also said that he could not keep the Sabbath and keep his job also. The man again said “Better to lose your job than to lose your life.” unbelievably, the bookkeeper died very shortly thereafter also.
Later on a Wednesday afternoon, he was walking in a business section of Los Angeles and happened to be in the middle of the road, when all of a sudden a woman came straight at him and hit him square on. Did he get run over? Splattered on the front end? No he didn’t , he explains ” No, this did not happen because something greater took place. An unseen hand carried me on ahead of the car, lightly sliding my feet on the pavement with my right side ahead, and my left side against the car’s radiator! After having made about half the distance before the car stopped, something seated me on the bumper of the car, and I put my left arm around the car’s left headlight….when she stopped, I put my feet on the ground and stepped away from the car.”
“.. by that time the car and I were surrounded by people, and three policemen looking for the man who got run over. But as they found no one lying on the street, or pinned under the car, I told them it was I who had been run over! They wanted to take me to the hospital, and when I told them I wasn’t hurt, I heard one say, “He must be hurt but is too excited and does not know his condition.”
Then they made me raise my legs and arms up and down, several times, after which one shouted , “He is made out of rubber!”
So miraculously the “rubber” man walked away from the head on impact, 3 blocks to his car that day, and proceeded to drive to a prayer meeting and spoke about the incident to the amazement of the crowd.
In 1923 the man became a member of a Los Angeles area SDA church, and then later became one of the Sabbath school teachers in 1928-29. He became popular and his classes were growing larger and larger as word spread that his teachings were quite different from some of the standard taught teachings yet revealing to many. As the classes left many wanting more, he was requested to have afternoon classes as well.
However, soon the church leaders weren’t accommodating on the afternoon church classes. One of the members, who lived across the street, offered her home as a place for the studies. They remained popular with some standing outside listening through the windows. But as the classes became the talk of the church, the leaders began to degrade both the teacher and the teachings.
He explained “Next, they forbade us to attend their church services, and they began to ex-communicate those who still wanted to attend our meetings. They tried to deport me too, but failed. Then they endeavoured to get a court order against any of us going to church on Sabbath, but lost out. Once they called the police to have me arrested on false charges that I was disturbing the meetings, but after the officers in the police station heard my story and the deacon’s charge against me, he commanded the two policeman who brought us to the station to put us in their car again, and to take us right back to the church where they picked me up.”
Despite the actions against him, he remained a member of the church. However the later actions were more abusive. He was to get “savagely kicked, knocked down in the rain and mud, jerked, bodily dragged, plumped in a heap on the outer sidewalk.” One thing we should note is that at no time did the man ever file charges against the abuse, he turned the other cheek.
Soon, the uproar came to a head, with the church disfellowshipping him. In a nutshell, the case against him was in effect-insubordination. In other words, who are you to teach the people new truths? There is no one to come after our prophetess Ellen White. The leaders would have nothing to do with this “new light” the man promoted. Many of the members were a different story.
In 1935, he moved to Waco, Texas and started a “training center” from which to publish and send to the SDA members around the world, his findings of some new prophetic interpretations. Most dealing with last day events.
On the large grounds, he oversaw a growing ministry worldwide. Soon up to 125 people resided on the roughly 389 acres. It published and dispensed millions of pieces of literature. While there, some divine occurences worth sharing we share. The following is told by an older woman who is still alive and was a member of the ministry and witness of them.
Miracle of the Kitchen
The Lord preserved this shack by a miracle one early morning. Some dish towels that had been left hanging over the stove the night before to dry caught fire when the wood stove was started for the cook to prepare breakfast.
The roof had been repaired many times with tar so it quickly became one big blaze. (The camp had just bought a 6 door refrigerator and a Holbert bread mixer, they had saved for years to be able to buy these.) A bucket brigade was begun but it was quickly realized that there was nothing that man could do to stop the fire from burning. So he* (Name removed for now) said, “Let us kneel down on these rocks and ask God to save our kitchen.” When we open our eye after the prayer the fire was out, there was nothing left but smoke. That was just one of our miracles.
Miracle of the dam
In April of 1943 the dam almost broke. The City of Waco sent out 300 CC men to sandbag the breaking area. They would not go out on the dam because of the danger. So we fed them and sent them back.
After they were gone, he* called all the heads of families to gather by the dam. They knelt in the mud to ask God’s protection while they sandbagged the breaking area.
When the prayer was over he* said the
dam would not break, that it was safe to sandbag the area. They did so for about 36 hours without stopping. Our Miracle!!
The Hill that Answered Their PrayersThey were looking at three sites in the state of Texas, the last one they went to was Waco. Brother Houteff, Elder E.T. Wilson, and M.L. Deiter were looking for the property. When they got to Waco and were looking at the property they did not like it. It was much to rocky.
When they saw the woman who was selling the property she did not want to sell this particular hill, she wanted it to build her own home on. This was not acceptable because that would mean breaking up the property. So they went back to the motel to petition the Lord for guidance, it was decided that if the woman would sell, without them asking her, the entire property for $8 dollars per acre, the amount she had originally asked for, that the Lord wanted them to buy this piece of land.
They met with her the next morning, before they were able to say anything she said, “Oh, I decided to sell the hill for the same price as the rest of the property.” So they new that hill was their answer, that they should buy the Waco property.
The man we’re discussing is likened to a male version of Ellen White. He had a 4th grade education (EGW had a third grade). He published consistently for about 25 years up until he died, Feb. 5, 1955. At one time it was estimated that close 100,000 SDA people around the world were receiving his literature. This was at a time when the membership numbered about 800,000.
The man was known for his unique ability to interpret Scripture, with many believing it was a gift of God. However only those who have read his works can attest to it. For the SDA church leaders have figuratively condemned this man to this day, with nearly each and every one never reading his works.
Either God brought a most gifted man to fulfill a purpose, to live with us for about 70 years, or he brought a deceived “offshoot” of a man, to cause trouble and confusion among the SDA church. Only you can decide. And that decision you make, will either lead you to study his message, or ignore it.
His name, as no doubt many of you guessed, was Victor T. Houteff.
“Prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says, “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say: You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message.” ( 1 Selected Messages. p.412)
Victor Houteff lived up to the revival and health, diet,dress, and life reform he taught. He practiced what he preached. Each of the 10 Commandments were his golden rules to live by. He was indeed — sold out to the Lord.
Notes- The older woman’s name is Bonnie Smith (approx. 84 yrs), who currently lives in South Carolina. Much of the brother Houteff’s history is in the Timely Greetings writings he did. Also here is a short description of his life as well http://shepherdsroddavidian.org/history.html
Photo Album (At bottom of page, click right arrow to see more photo’s) http://www.shepherds-rod.org/photo/index.html