Is it Past or Future , Literal or Symbolic?

Eve in garden

Satan has from the beginning tried to make mankind not believe what God’s word says. The words, “you shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4) was a direct refute of the  clear word of God. God’s word really doesn’t mean what it says.  And what has been the historical result? Mankind has bought it hook, line, and sinker.

As we have learned from our prior posts, the soon to come “beginning phase” of God’s “judgment for the living” is to take place in God’s remnant church. Our prophetess said, ” Here we see that the church–the Lord’s sanctuary– was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God” (Test. for the Church, vol. 5, p.211). She said those words after describing Ezekiel 9. Solemn indeed!

Imagine if you will, you are driving late at night with your family down a road. Ahead is a policeman with a big fluorescent sign that says “stop!”, and he’s waving it furiously at you to get your attention. How many of us would continue right on? Most of us would pull over. In this case there was a huge crater  (sink hole) ahead in the road. Yet today the vast majority within the SDA church are driving straight past the warnings. Isn’t it time we paid attention to God’s last and final warnings?

Recently we received the latest newsletter from Amazing facts. The title is “Satan’s war against God’s word”. It goes on to describe the satanic traps and ways he has worked in america. But what is missing from Amazing Facts and their ministry? It ‘s that warning sign. They ignore the  literal judgement to come in God’s house before the plagues. The message of the “Judgement for the living.” Assumption is made that all is well in God’s house until the second advent. There will be no such “first stroke” of God before the coming in the clouds.

Spirit of Prophecy said, “study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel, these words will be literally fulfilled ” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p.260). When is the last time your church had a study on this important chapter? Quite the contrary! Instead they are  telling people that those who proclaim the Lord’s soon to come judgments are off-shoots, fanatics, etc.

Just look at a Tennessee SDA church website. Under “Bible study” they teach people that the “Shepherd’s Rod” teachings are false. Little do they know they brother Houteff soundly refuted all those allegations in the “Answerer” and other writings (Tracts, Timely Greeting sermons and Symbolic code news).

We took some time to read their reports and found pure unadulterated confusion and misconception. But the sad thing is, if one is inclined to find hooks and pegs to hang their doubts on, these studies will give you some.

http://murfreesboro22.adventistchurchconnect.org/article/13/bible-study  (Note: due to the severe storms in the east this site may not be available for a day or two)

One pastor said that Ezekiel 9 happens “in the plagues” and the other said it happened in the Old Testament days. Which one is correct? Neither.

The word of the Lord says, “Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets, who make my people stray; who chant “peace” while they chew with their teeth, but who prepare war against him, who puts nothing into their mouths..” (Micah 3:5).

Some have said that Ezekiel 9 is symbolic.  The Spirit of Prophecy eliminates any such symbolic talk. “We are amid the perils of the last days, the time will soon come when the prophecy of Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled; that prophecy should be carefully studied, for it will be fulfilled to the very letter.” (1888 Materials, p.1303)

Let us look at some solid inspirational evidence that prove the words of the Lord mean what they proclaim.

IS THE SLAUGHTER OF EZEKIEL NINE LITERAL?

Question No. 25:

“The Shepherd’s Rod” teaches that the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 is literal. Could it not be a destruction such as is caused by so-called “acts of God”-earthquakes, famines, pestilences, the seven last plagues, or the like?

Answer:

“The five agents that destroy the wicked in the church are not forces of nature but men with slaughter weapons in their hands. They are supernatural beings, not natural elements. Hence they cannot fittingly represent earthquakes, famines, or the like.

Neither can they be the seven angels with the seven last plagues, for these angels are seven in number, not five. Furthermore, they do not have “slaughter weapons” in their hands, but vials. Still further, the plagues fall in Babylon (Rev. 18:4), whereas the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 takes place in Judah and Israel (Ezek. 9:9).

Ezekiel 9, whether literal or figurative, effects a separation between the good and the bad, the tares and the wheat, in the church (Judah and Israel), just as the plagues finally do in Babylon (Rev. 18:4). And as the plagues are literal, then how can the slaughter be any less literal?

The angel with the writer’s inkhorn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who sigh and cry for the abominations, then the destroying angels are to slay both old and young (Ezek. 9 :4-6).

“The church—the Lord’s sanctuary,” is “the first to feel the stoke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians, of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestations of God’s power as in former days. Times have changed.

These words strengthen their unbelief and they say, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil. He is too merciful to visit his people in judgment. Thus peace and safety is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children, all perish together.” —Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 211.

As in The Great Controversy, p. 656, only an indirect parallel can be drawn between the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 and the falling of the plagues, because a common end (death) befalls both the wicked in the church of Laodicean and the wicked in the churches of Babylon. And only those who say, “We need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days,” think the slaughter is not literal.” (The Answerer)

Let’s recap what was said. Notice that there is a distinct difference in “5 destroying angels” and “7 angels with vials.” Those who say that the church judgment of Ezekiel 9 happen in the plagues are thus confused. Two different acts and times.

Further inspiration says that this act is the “first” stroke of God’s wrath in His “sanctuary”.  Obviously the plagues will be strokes of God’s wrath and so this act must precede them, therefore they cannot be “in” the seven last plagues.

Then we have the argument that Ellen White specifically places Ezekiel 9 in the time of the plagues with her quote in Great Controversy, page 656. This is a legitimate and relevant point and is addressed as follows:

“Before the close of probation there are two “fruits,” the 144,000 and the great multitude (Revelation 7:9), to be separated at two different times–the former’s taking place before the close of probation while “the door is closed to those who would not enter,” and while “His hand is still stretched out to save.”  (“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 9, p. 97), thus showing, as does “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 3, p. 266, that the sealing of the hundred and forty-four thousand is the closing work for the church, whereas the sealing work for the great multitude is the closing work for the world.

  Thus, while, in the time of God’s destructive judgments before the close of probation, the door is closed to one class, it is open to another class for whom “His hand is still stretched out to save,” clearly showing that probation closes first for the tares in the church.  Moreover, as the time is that of God’s destructive judgments–the separation of the tares from the wheat–the slaughter of Ezekiel Nine is that which severs the wicked from among the just. 

there is a double fulfillment of Ezekiel’s slaughter: one in the church before the close of probation, and the other in the worldly churches after the close of probation, when everyone has made his decision.  The unfaithful spiritual guardians, or the false watch-men, of the people are the first to fall in the worldly churches, just as the “ancient men” who are in the S.D.A. church are the first to fall.  (“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, p. 211.) 

This is the only explanation that will harmonize every statement on this subject found in the Spirit of Prophecy and in the Bible. ” (The Answerer, Vol. 3, Question 145)

The satanic game plan hasn’t changed. Once Satan knew a successful tactic of denying or twisting the plain words of inspiration, he’s been using it ever since with great success. Let us not be one of those who fall into his trap.

The church is about to be “sprued out”  to a great degree because the leaders are neglecting their duty to put up the warning signs. They are preaching peace and safety week after week. We are only “safe” in Christ when we obey His word as brought by His prophets. The last prophet was the Elijah prophet.

Going back to that analogy we gave in the beginning,  the policeman is representative of those of us willing to “go to work” proclaiming that time is short and that if we don’t stop our wrongful course of paying no heed His final message of Elijah, we will also fall into the ditch (to the dust).

Think about this for a moment. If The Lord made the promise to send a last prophet to His people (Mal 4:5 and Test. to Min. p.475), would He being sending it for an unimportant reason? Of course not. As in every instance in Scripture, the Lord had a purpose to reach His people with His message.

The servant of the Lord gives us true end time instructions–

“The words of Christ apply to the church: “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” Why are you not at work in some capacity in His vineyard? Again and again He has bidden you: “Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” But this gracious call from heaven has been disregarded by the large majority” (Test. for the Church, vol. 5, p.203).

Let us not stand idle and watch the other people do what the message tells us we should  do. Our church is approaching a gigantic iceberg, are we ready?

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