Archive for September, 2014

Amos 5:10

September 27, 2014

Amos rebuking

As we look at the above picture, we see the farmer turned prophet, Amos, rebuking his people for their sins. In Amos 5:10 we read, “They hate the one who rebukes at the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.” 

It is indeed a true saying of God, those who rebuke or admonish are not, nor ever been, liked or appreciated by the majority of God’s professed people. Few realize the great love behind God’s words of warning brought by His servants. Let us look at this necessary “act of love”.

The word “rebuke” in the dictionary means, “express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.” But as true Christians we obviously would not rebuke someone unless the situation calls for it. In other words, as a caring brother or sister, we would first try to warn gently any clear sinning going on “in the midst”. Then if that doesn’t seem to reach them, next time the firmer step of rebuking may be necessary.

Most of us remember as young children, our parents giving us strong medicine. You know, that yucky stuff that we just hated. Yet, most of us found ourselves well within a short period of time. An analogy can be made about giving words of warning to our brethren. It’s often “tough to take” yet if we digest it slowly and dwell upon the healing effects, we’ll be all the better for it.

The Spirit of Prophecy says, “To the obedient, he will give rich blessings; to the transgressors, a curse. Every man who bears the message of truth to our churches, must do his duty by warning, educating, rebuking. Any neglect of duty which is a robbery toward God, means a curse upon the delinquent.”(Special Testimonies, No. 7, p.22).

A few months ago I happened to be surfing SDA YouTube videos and came across a unique ministry for the Lord. As I watched, God’s words as brought by Amos came to mind. The lady with her children were protesting unholy music and abortions within the S.D.A church.

Sadly, the majority ignores them, or worse, some men in “responsible positions” send police to confront them as troublemakers. Yet, the woman was “sighing and crying” for the abominations taking place within our church and conference. Abortion, lack of proper dress, unholy music and a list of other abominations is their cry. To view their videos click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owdoa6yVMk8

Brother Houteff announced in his very first book , on the very first page, concerning the Lord’s “Elijah”message the following, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”(Isaiah 58:1).

On the next page he continued, “It is the intention of this book to reveal the truth of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7, but the chief object of this publication is  to bring a reformation among God’s people.” (Shepherd’s Rod, vol. 1, preface).

We noticed the word “chief”. In other words the message of Elijah is first and foremost to convert and reform THEN we can learn and know all the Truths found within the Lord’s last message. Obviously we do not learn to run before walking. So too, we must learn to walk upright before the Lord,  in our daily actions.

So before we can rebuke at the gate, we must know that our own life is “cleaned up” and we ourselves are walking in the light as best we can. If this is not the case we fall under the Lord’s striking rebuke–

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:5)

As we study the past prophets, we notice another “rebuker at the gate”, the prophet Nehemiah. After giving the people the warning not to come into the camp on the Sabbath, selling and buying, he says, “So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after Sabbath….Then I warned them, ‘Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!””(Neh.13:19)

Wow! Not only was the prophet a rebuker of their sins, he was a ready enforcer! How deep the love for God’s honor! How deep the understanding of sin!

This is what “rebuking at the gate” is all about. A true desire to show people their sins in order to help steer them right and to stay on that “straight and narrow” road.

The Elijah prophet confirmed our duty as faithful servants today.

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE WHO BEAR THE MESSAGE

   Since Ezekiel represents those whose hearts the message has reached, then to them the Lord is speaking when He says:

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me.  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 

Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because  thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezek. 3 :17-21.)

   Because of the unfaithfulness of the former watchmen, the Lord makes the antitypical Ezekiel — he and she who “sigh and cry for the abominations  that be done in the midst thereof” (the church) — a “watchman” (Ezek. 3:17) in their stead.  Be careful, therefore, Brother, Sister, lest you also betray your trust and find yourself thrust out.  “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12. (Tract 1, p.41-42)

So the Lord through His Elijah prophet, gives us specific instructions that we are to be a “watchman”. One who carefully warns the sinners in ‘the midst” that sinning will lead to destruction.

In closing let’s look at the Spirit of Prophecy’s counsel to be as faithful as Amos, Nehemiah, Ezekiel and brother Houteff was, in “rebuking at the gate” —

“The prejudice which has arisen against us because we have reproved the wrongs that God has shown me existed, and the cry that has been raised of harshness and severity, are unjust. God bids us speak, and we will not be silent.

If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty.

In vision I have been pointed to many instances where the displeasure of God has been incurred by a neglect on the part of His servants to deal with the wrongs and sins existing among them. Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition, simply because they shunned to discharge a plain Scriptural duty. The task was not agreeable to their feelings; therefore they avoided it.

The spirit of hatred which has existed with some because the wrongs among God’s people have been reproved has brought blindness and a fearful deception upon their own souls, making it impossible for them to discriminate between right and wrong. They have put out their own spiritual eyesight. They may witness wrongs, but they do not feel as did Joshua and humble themselves because the danger of souls is felt by them.

The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God.

Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand.

One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”(Testimonies, vol. 3, p.266-267)

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My Sheep hear My Voice

September 20, 2014

Jesus and Sheep

 

As we approach the end of our S.D.A probation, it’s important that we keep our “airwaves” open. As the above words of Christ’s says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they know Me.” (John 10:27).

Let us look at how we can hear His voice and “follow the Lamb wheresoever He goeth.”

In today’s bombardment of advanced technological gadgetry, we are faced with sounds almost everywhere. Most of the sounds are man-made and not nature made.We go to work with the radio or stereo playing. We come home and turn the TV on and hear it nearly all night.

The Lord’s voice, through the Holy Spirit,  has to compete with these sounds much of our waking hours. But once we become converted, and change from worldly-minded to spiritual minded, this devil snare can quickly be halted.

Speaking from my own experience, I was one who was truly addicted to music. I just had to listen nearly all the time, to the truck radio or CD’s or tapes. Pop music or Rock was the main stay. It literally was one of my all-time idols. And when the day was done, you’d often find me listening to more of the same well into the evening (if I wasn’t out carousing at a local club or casino).

But conversion came and soon the Lord spoke loud and clear– cut that out! I obeyed and haven’t looked back since. The big life changing day occurred one morning when I clearly was convicted of listening to the worldly music. I had been an Adventist for only a short time, yet the Lord spoke loud and clear.

I found myself so convicted that I went into the yard, and pulled out a large trash can, and went inside and grabbed all the albums (large collection) and CD’s and tapes, and tossed them into the trash can. This was a lifetime collection. Some of them were probably worth some bucks. But I had decided to “follow the Lamb wheresoever He goeth.” He spoke I acted. I would no longer drown out His voice.

I could remember that day as I sat on the bed in the room pondering what had just transpired. I sensed angels flying above me, like they were giving high 5’s to one another saying, “Rob has just slayed a life long idol!” Joy swept over me and a big weight on my shoulders (spiritually speaking) had been lifted.

In Luke 15:10 we read, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

You see, our Lord wants an imitate relationship with us, because He has things to say. He want’s to “sup” with us.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”(Rev. 3:20)

In the family structure, when is the most intimate family gathering? Is it not around the supper table? This is the time where the members talk of important matters of the day, or their lives. Our Master has used this human tradition as a symbol of His communicating with us. He want’s to speak. Are we listening?

SOP says, “Hearts are not reached by eloquence or logic, but by the Holy Spirit. The still, small voice of the Spirit of God has power to change the heart.” (Royalty and Ruin, page 59)

Let us be mindful that our King loves us truly so much that he knocks and knocks and knocks all day and night, but we will never hear Him if we drown Him out with the world’s many counter voices and sounds.

Come Lord, speak to us, we are listening.

Are the 144,000 just Men?

September 13, 2014

144,000 picture

 

The command to mark this company so that they fall not under the slaughter weapons by the figure of the five men, reads as follows: “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Ezekiel 9:4.)

Because the Word says: “Set a mark upon the foreheads of the men,” therefore some have held the position that the entire company is made up of men only.  The second reason given for this erroneous idea is that they are to be kings and priests and therefore they must be men.  The idea carried by these passages cannot be sustained by other portions of Scripture.  Thus we are compelled to study deeper into the subject.

While Ezekiel calls them “men,” John says they are “virgins.” (Rev. 14:4.)  Now, if we should take the position that Ezekiel means men only, then we can as well say, John means women only.  Can it be possible that one writer should contradict the other?  No indeed.  We conclude by the following Scriptures that the 144,000 are of both sexes: “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe.” (John 1:7.)  “All men,” must include both men and women, otherwise salvation would be for men only.  “

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32.)  If the word all men in this text does not include both sexes, then the women are lost.  “And the time of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” (The Acts 17:30.)  Again, if “all men” include not both male and female, then women are not commanded to repent.  It is evident that the noun, men, is a collective Biblical term of both men and women.

The same is true by creation, for, God made the woman of the man.  Therefore, she is a wo-man.  Again in Gal. 3:28, we read: “There is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Since there is no difference between either sex in Christ, then we see that women as well as men can be kings and priests.  The same thought can be carried out by the experience of the Jewish nation: “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time…. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” (Judges 4:4, 5.)

This woman held a man’s position, being a judge of God’s people, which is equivalent to a king.  Not only a king, but she was a prophetess as well.  Again we read in Luke 2:36,37, “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

Also the wife of Shallum being a prophetess taught Israel and controlled the college. (See 2 Kings 22:14-16.)  Phillip the evangelist had four daughters who also did prophesy.  (See The Acts 21:8, 9.)

From Paul’s statement in 1 Timothy 2:12, “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence,” you will note the meaning here is, that the woman is to be in subjection to the man as God had ordained, and not that she is forbidden to hold the office of a teacher.

Again we quote, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.” (1 Cor. 14:34.)  Read the chapter and you will see that Paul wishes to establish order in the churches, for there was great confusion by speaking in unknown tongues.  Therefore, to silence the confusion, he says: “Let your women keep silence in the churches.”

He is not forbidding them to speak if they have a duty to perform.  If this lesson was heeded in this age there would be a great change for the better in the house of God.

In the beginning God created both the man and the woman equal, as king and queen.  “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:28.)  Note that the dominion was given to them both.

However, after they sinned a change was made: “Unto the woman He said,… thy desire shall be to thy husband, and He shall rule over thee.” (Gen. 3:16.)  So, after the woman sinned she fell under the government of man.  But that which Eve lost by deception, shall be restored by redemption.  Thus again the equality of both shall be established as kings and queens.

Therefore, “There is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus.”  Christ himself confirms the idea in the following expression: “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels which are in heaven.”

Thus the noun “men” used by Ezekiel, and the noun “virgins” by John is a collective Biblical term comprehending both.  Furthermore, the denomination numbers a little over 300,000 at present time.  Only about a third of them are men.  If every man was sealed and numbered as one of the 144,000, we still would be far short of reaching the total.  Again we note at the time of the passover in Egypt the blood on the door-post was a type of the marking or sealing. (“The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, pp. 96-98.)

In that night wherever the blood appeared on the door-post, the first born whether male or female, perished not, just so now, those who receive the seal, have applied the blood on the door-post (forehead), and as the first born of both classes, those who died and those who did not, were a type of the present priesthood (ministry), evidently, the type points forward to a ministry in the anti-type made up of both sexes — the first born who died represent the class that shall fall under the slaughter weapons of the five men, and the first born who escaped from death, represent the class that shall receive the mark of the man with the writer’s inkhorn and pass from death to life.

Thus the first born who lived and passed through the red sea, are a type of the 144,000.  The first fruits of the harvest, are the servants of God in the time of the “loud cry” of the Third Angel’s Message.

The above was taken from Shepherd’s Rod volume 2, p.167-168.

*******************************************************

As the holy angels are now going about marking those who accept and obey the last message of the Lord, the Elijah message, we know that woman as well as men will comprise the 144,000. Certainly children as well. Let us get ready as time is quickly coming to an end. The pieces are getting set-up with tension in the Mideast soon to erupt.

Our prophetess gave us the Lord’s command–“Let us strive with all power God has given us, to be among the one hundred and forty four thousand. And let us do all we can to help others to gain heaven.” (Review and Herald, March 9, 1905)

Correction

September 6, 2014

corrections key

As we read the Scriptures we come to a sad fact, over and over again. God’s people have continually had one fatal flaw– unwilling to be corrected. This alone seems to be the very thing that erects a barrier that so many times, we as “Christians” fail to break down. Pride and stubbornness rears its ugly head and  keeps us “stuck” instead of going forward in our walk.

In Jeremiah  5:3 we read, “O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.” (Jeremiah 5:3)

We remember the days of the Exodus movement, the Lord continually had to correct their ways and behavior, yet they soon abandoned His corrective instructions. It is no different today. We as a people are even more stiff-necked than they were.

As God’s Elijah messengers, our duty is often to  be our “brother’s keeper”. We should really care about our fellow believer and be faithful in dis-charging our duty of support and even warnings and rebukes, if necessary.

If we fail to warn our brethren we fall under the words as spoken by Ezekiel “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”(Ezek. 3:18-19)

We see here a two-fold promise. Give correction and spare your life, ignore your brethren and lose your life. We must be un-selfish and not have the attitude of “I’m going to heaven, I don’t know about you”.

One of God’s greatest correctors was Elijah prophet.

“The benefits which God gave to this people called forth from them no gratitude to the Giver. All the bounties of heaven,–the running brooks, the streams of living waters, the gentle dew, the showers of rain which refreshed the earth and caused their fields to bring forth abundantly,–these they ascribed to the favor of their gods.

Elijah’s faithful soul was grieved. His indignation was aroused, and he was jealous for the glory of God. He saw that Israel was plunged into fearful apostasy. And when he called to mind the great things that God had wrought for them, he was overwhelmed with grief and amazement.

But all this was forgotten by the majority of the people. He went before the Lord, and, with his soul wrung with anguish, pleaded for Him to save His people if it must be by judgments. He pleaded with God to withhold from His ungrateful people dew and rain, the treasures of heaven, that apostate Israel might look in vain to their gods, their idols of gold, wood, and stone, the sun, moon, and stars, to water and enrich the earth, and cause it to bring forth plentifully. 

 The Lord told Elijah that He had heard his prayer and would withhold dew and rain from His people until they should turn unto Him with repentance.” (Testimonies, vol. 3, p.263) 

How great was this man’s love for his people! Sadly, the correction given, even coupled with great signs from the Lord, would not be long accepted.

Eternal life is so mind boggling that we should do all we can to learn His word and that includes His instruction to correct and be corrected.

Refusing correction can be shown by either combative or polite refusal , silent ignoring, or empty promises of reform. All of them give the same results –a failure to turn around and walk uprightly before the Lord.

But as we study Scripture, the lessons are many of how we can allow ourselves to be corrected and it’s a key that unlocks a whole new purpose and desire to serve the Lord.

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)

As we let go of our pride, it’s much easier to listen to corrective instruction.

In the story of king David and being corrected by the prophet Nathan, we read from Spirit of Prophecy  —

“The prophet Nathan’s parable of the ewe lamb, given to King David, may be studied by all. The light was flashed sharply upon the king, while he was in utter darkness as to what was thought of his actions in regard to Uriah. While he was following his course of self-indulgence and commandment breaking, the parable of a rich man who took from a poor man his one ewe lamb, was presented before him.

But the king was so completely wrapped in his garments of sin, that he did not see that he was the sinner. He fell into the trap, and with great indignation, he passed his sentence upon another man, as he supposed, condemning him to death. When the application was made, and the facts brought home to him, when Nathan said, Thou art the man; unknowingly thou hast condemned thyself, David was overwhelmed. He had not one word to say in defence of his course of action. (2BC 1023.2)

This experience was most painful to David, but it was most beneficial. But for the mirror which Nathan held up before him, in which he so clearly recognized his own likeness, he would have gone on unconvicted of his heinous sin, and would have been ruined. The conviction of his guilt was the saving of his soul. He saw himself in another light, as the Lord saw him, and as long as he lived he repented of his sin.” (Letter 57, 1897).(2BC 1023.3)

What a great story and lesson! The mighty king David was thoroughly corrected and he accepted it deeply. As we see “as long as he live repented of his sin.”

Spirit of Prophecy comments on our subject, “I have been shown that the greatest reason why the people of God are now found in this state of spiritual blindness is that they will not receive correction. Many have despised the reproofs and warnings given them.( Testimonies, vol. 3, p.255)

Are we willing to stand corrected? Or does our pride hinder us? Is it not worth our eternal salvation to admit our wrongs, whatever they may be? Eternity, wow, is this not worth fighting for? Is this not worth our every effort to “know the worst of our case”?

“Determine to know the worst of your case. Ascertain if you have an inheritance on high. Deal truly with your own soul.” (Testimonies, vol. 1, p.163)


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