Archive for December, 2018

The Signs of Christ’s Second Coming or the Signs of the Kingdom, which?

December 29, 2018


THE SIGNS OF CHRIST’S SECOND COMINGOR THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM–WHICH?TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAYADVENTISTS SABBATH, JANUARY 22, 1949MT. CARMEL CHAPELWACO, TEXAS   We as students and gospel teachers have for years dwelt heavily on the signs of Christ’s second coming, but not at all on the signs of the Kingdom.  As a result of this, Christendom has theoretically merged the signs of the Kingdom with the signs of the second Advent.

   Something similar to this is what the Jews of old did when they were expecting the Messiah’s first appearing.  According to their private understanding they deeply studied the signs of the restoration of the Kingdom, but not so much of the signs of the Messiah’s coming.  Thus it was that when they were told that the Messiah had come but not the time to restore the Kingdom, the leaders of the Jews, taking for granted that their private (uninspired) interpretation of the Scriptures was infallible, rejected the message of that day. 

Then in an attempt to safeguard their influence upon the common people and to subjugate them to their way of thinking, they crucified the Lord, their Saviour and King as they did also kill the prophets who went before Him.  Their insistence that the Kingdom be restored in their day, though, profited them nothing.

The fact that Christendom itself is divided and confused, one believing one thing and another something else, is in itself sufficient evidence that besides being in total darkness of the signs of the Kingdom because of private interpretation of the Scriptures, Christendom must be in darkness of many other things as well.  In such a confused state of faith, Christendom is definitely no more led by the Spirit of Truth than were the rebellious Jews. 

Past experience teaches, however, that to try to convince the multitude of this fact would be as formidable a task as to convince the Jews even to this day that Christ is the Messiah that was to come.  The difficulty, of course, lies in the fact that hardly a theologian allows for the possibility that his understanding of the Bible might be at least in a measure erroneous, and that Inspiration might almost at any moment manifest Itself anew, unroll the scroll and bring forth timely Truth, “meat in due season,” and thus expose their private concoctions of so-called tuth.

   Now with all respect and sincerity, by the authority of the Scriptures and by virtue of the facts before me, I say that it would be easier for a chicken to find its roost in the blackest of the night than for uninspired mind to unveil the prophecies and the parables.  The difference between the two is that the chicken realizes the futility of trying to find her roost after sunset, but the self-willed man does not realize that he cannot unveil Truth at his own will and without light from above.

   We as Christians have obviously failed to note that if the secret things of God, matter not how simple, were to be unsealed at anytime by anyone, Inspiration would never in the first place have concealed them in symbols and parables.  Christendom is still blind to the fact that to attempt to break into the mysteries of God would be to attempt to defeat His purposes; yes, to try to break into the Divine code, is to try the impossible. 

For example, even when the time did come for the Book sealed with seven seals to be unsealed (Rev. 4 and 5), no one in heaven or on earth was able to do so, but only “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” could break the seals and look into the things which afterwards were shown to John, the Revelator.  And though John wrote them, he himself could not before time explain them.  Then how can we do such before time and without the Inspiration of the same Spirit Who indicted them?  The Word of God plainly warns:

2 Pet. 1:19-21 — “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

   No one, say the Scriptures, can privately (without Inspiration) unfold the prophecies, for, reasons the Apostle, as prophecy came not by private effort — not by the will of men, but by holy men and the Spirit — neither can it therefore be of private interpretation, but only by holy men led by the Holy Spirit.  Moreover, even after prophecy is thus interpreted, only to the righteous (the penitent) is given the gift of understanding it (Dan. 12:10).

   Since we as a people know some of the signs of Christ’s second coming, and none of the signs of the Kingdom, we had better now concentrate on the signs of the latter.

Matt. 13:24-30 — “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.  So the servants of the Householder came and said unto Him, Sir, didst not Thou sow good seed in Thy field?  from whence then hath it tares?  He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. 

The servants said unto Him, Wilt Thou then that we go and gather them up?  But He said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn.”

   This parable of the Kingdom, you note, contains three periods of time: First, the period of sowing the seed — the time of Christ’s ministry; second, the period of growing — the time from the ascension of Christ to the harvest; third, the time of harvest — a short period of time “at the end of the world” (Matt. 13:49), the period in which the earth is lightened with the glory of the angel (Rev. 18:1), and in which all God’s people are called out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4). 

Then those who did not respond to this gathering call will cry out: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jer. 8:20.  The “harvest,” therefore, is “the end of the world.” Matt. 13:49.  It commences in the church and ends in Babylon.

   The work of the harvest, very obviously, is synonymous with the Judgment that decides who are tares and who are wheat–who are to be burned and destroyed as noxious weeds, and who are as precious wheat to be admitted into “the barn,” the Kingdom.  Thus it is that the Judgment is the cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:14), “the house of God,” the temple to which the Lord suddenly comes and purifies His servants, the Levites.  Here is the way the latter scripture reads:

Mal. 3:1-3, 5 — “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. 

But who may abide the day of his coming?  and who shall stand when he appeareth?  for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness….

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the Lord of hosts.”

   How many yields of fruit is the harvest to give? — If the 144,000 are the “first fruits” (Rev. 14:4), then there must be “second fruits,” for where there is no second there can be no first.  The word “firstfruits” absolutely necessitates second fruits.

   Where do the first fruits come from, and where do the second fruits come from? — We are plainly told that the first fruits are Israelites — all from the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4-8).  Israel certainly stands for the church membership at the time they are sealed; the title “Israel” cannot be construed to mean the world.  The firstfruits, therefore, are harvested from the church itself at the time the separation begins.  The word “sealed” means placed in a safe place — sealed.  This is exactly what the apostle Peter says:

1 Pet. 4:17, 18 — “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

   Now, then, if the Judgment begins first in the “house of God,” in the church, then it will end in the world, outside the church circles.  The parable of the “net” and the Revelation of John very briefly and concisely bring this truth still better to the surface.

Matt. 13:47-50 — “Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.  So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

   Clearly, the net represents the gospel church into which are caught both hypocrite and saint.  Accordingly, in the time of the firstfruit harvest (the Judgment “in the house of God”) “at the end of the world” (Matt. 13:49), the angels sever the wicked from among the just, not the just from among the wicked. 

But in the second fruit harvest (the Judgment in the world) the separation is the reverse: the just are taken out from among the wicked, not the wicked from among the just, so says The Revelation: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4. 

Plainly, the Judgment “in the house of God” is the harvest in which the hypocrites as “tares” are burned, but as bad “fish” they are cast out.  In the Judgment in Babylon (in the world), though, not the bad, but the good are taken out and brought into the purified house of God where there is no sin and no sinner, and where there is no danger of the lagues.  This same truth concerning the house of God again comes to us in these words:

Isa. 66:15, 16, 19, 20 — “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.  For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many….And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. 

And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.”

   Again we here see that those who escape the slaying of the Lord “in the house of God” (obviously the firstfruits, “the servants of God”), are sent to the nations who know not God, and from there they bring all their brethren (the second fruits) to the purified house of God where there is neither sin nor sinner, and where the plagues of Babylon therefore do not fall.

   We have now positively seen that there are first and second fruits: one from the church — the 144,000 sons of Jacob; and one from all nations — the great multitude which no man can number (Rev. 7:9).

Who gathers the firstfruits if the firstfruits gather the second fruits? — Let us find our answer by reading–

Rev. 14:14-19 — “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.  And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to Him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in Thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.  And the angel thrust in His sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”

   Here we are again told that there are two reapings, one by the Son of Man, and another by an angel.  The reaping by the Son of Man precedes the reaping by the angel.  “Son of Man,” therefore, gathers the firstfruits, and the angel gathers the second fruits.  (The vines, not the fully ripe grapes, he casts in the wine press.) The Son of Man Himself obviously reaps the firstfruits because His servants (figuratively the angel of the church of the Laodiceans) are in no condition to do such a work, for they themselves are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” and know it not (Rev. 3:14-18).

Looking down to this very time, the Spirit of Prophecy in Isaiah’s day said:

Isa. 63:5 — “And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me.”

   Here you note that when the time came there was not even one among His servants “to uphold” the work of the harvest, and consequently the Lord Himself did the work without them.

   For the second reaping, however, He uses His guileless “servants,” the “firstfruits,” the 144,000, as prefigured by the angel with the sharp sickle (Rev. 14:17, 18).  And just as there are two fruits and two reapings from two different places, the church and the world, there are, as shown before, also two ways of harvesting: at first the bad are cast from among the good, and at last the good are called out from among the bad.

   These are some of the signs and events that precede the Kingdom of glory, the second coming of Christ.  Then, too, there are other signs, the first of which is seen from the parable of Matthew 25.

Matt. 25:1-12 — “Then shall the Kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”

   In this parable it is seen that the church is likened to ten virgins, five of whom do not avail themselves of extra oil — special Truth for this time, that is, these five do not give heed to the truth of the Judgment of the living, the separation or purification of the church.  When the cry is made, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” all ten virgins see that the light of their lamps is going out; they see that the message of the Judgment of the dead is passing. 

Quickly then, the five wise virgins refill their lamps with the extra oil which they have stored in their vessels, and go on to meet the Bridegroom.  But the five foolish virgins, those who thought there was no need for extra oil, no need for an extra message, the message of the Judgment of the living, find themselves in gross darkness. 

Yes, they find themselves without the light which the message of the Judgment of the living unfolds.  Upon discovering their foolish neglect, they rush to obtain oil, light on the subject, but in the meantime the door has been shut (probationary time for the virgins, the church, has closed).  When they call for admission they are politely told by the Lord Himself, “I know you not.”

   The sign of the coming Kingdom which this parable brings forth, is obviously the special message (the extra oil) which announces the Judgment of the living, the message which awakens the open-hearted Truth seekers, and which dooms its opposers, the hypocrites and lukewarm in the church — those who are satisfied and think themselves rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing (in need of no timely Truth), those who never awake to the fact that they are absolutely destitute.  Mind you, these are not my words, read what the Lord says to Laodicea:

Rev. 3:14-18 — “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

   Another view of this tragic truth is given in–

Luke 14:16-24 — “Then said He unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent His servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.  And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 

So that servant came, and shewed his Lord these things. Then the Master of the house being angry said to His servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.  And the servant said, Lord, it is done as Thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.  And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.  For I say untoyou, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper.”

   In this parable are seen two periods of time.  The first period is while the gospel has “bade many” (Luke 14:16) to the marriage supper, the time from the Apostles to the time of His last servant with the last message God sends to His people, the time all things are “ready.”  The next period is the time in which His last servant served (Luke 14:17).  This servant is sent, we are told, at “supper time,” at the end of the day, indicating that he bears the last message. 

Moreover, he is at first sent to those who have previously been “bidden”; that is, to those who were already in the gospel truth, in the church.  At the outset he is to contact a class of people deeply engrossed with the cares of this life, and is to tell them that “all things are now ready,” that if they wish they can now prepare and go to the wedding, there to enjoy the Bridegroom’s banquet.  This is the last call for the supper.

   But what happens? — They excuse themselves from having anything to do with the banquet just then.  Some lay the blame on their professions, while others blame having to make a living for the family.  Whereupon the Master of the house angrily sends His servant to the poor and to the afflicted, to those who are hungry and not too busy to take heed, to those who are not so encumbered with business and home that they cannot answer His call.  This very thing takes place in the “city” proper — the church.  The poor, those who realize that they are not “rich and increased with goods,” come in, but still there is room for more.

   Then it is that the Lord of that servant commands that he should go after those who are on the highways and hedges — those outside the church circles, even to the ends of the earth (the “hedges”).  But before the servant goes to the highways and hedges on his last mission, the Master emphatically informs him that those who had been bidden and who excused themselves from coming in, are to be entirely excluded from the banquet; that none of them will be permitted even to taste of His supper; that by turning a deaf ear to the call these have closed their own probationary time, and that there is now nothing that can alter the situation. 

After this the servant’s compelling cry goes out to the nations and the Master’s house is filled, the wedding takes place, and the Bridegroom serves all that are in the house, but none others.

   This same event is again given from another point of view.  This time by the gospel prophet:

Isa. 52:1, 2 — “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.  Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”

   This particular prophecy discloses that while the church, Jerusalem and Zion, is asleep and naked with the unclean in her midst, and in captivity among the Gentiles (away from her own land), an awakening cry, a message, comes urging her to arise and put on her beautiful garments, for the wicked, declares the cry, will no more come into her, for they are to be utterly cut off.

The signs of the Kingdom, you see, are even more important for one to observe than are the signs of Christ’s coming.  If one should miss the signs of the Kingdom, then the knowledge of the signs of Christ’s coming would profit nothing, for all such will be frightened at His appearing and say “to the mountains and rocks.  Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6:16, 17.

   Are the efforts to set up the pre-millennial Kingdom — the purified church — accompanied by great signs and wonders, by noise and pomp?  To this question the Lord answers–

Matt. 13:31-33 — “The Kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.  Another parable spake He unto them; The Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

Zech. 4:6 — “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

   Not a blast or a boom, and not a bust either, but the plain, quiet Truth, Brothers, Sisters, is what saves you and brings the Kingdom into being.

What is this pre-millennial Kingdom like?  And what other signs precede its establishment?  The answer to this question comes through Ezekiel–

Ezek. 36:23-28 — “And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.  For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.  Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.  And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.”

   Here are additional signs, signs which are displayed within and without the man himself: the scars and defects which sin has written upon the bodies of God’s people are washed away; also the sin-hardened heart is carved out of them and a new, tender heart that delights in keeping God’s statutes and judgments, is set in.

   When does this take place? — After God takes His saints “from among the heathen,” “out of all countries,” and brings them into their “own land,” say the Scriptures.  Thus shall they dwell in the land that God anciently gave to their fathers, and thus shall they be His people and He their God.  Here you see that no one can meet God face to face and live with Him eternally without first having this body-cleansing and heart-changing experience.

   Very evidently none who remain ignorant of these signs of the coming Kingdom will have this experience and consequently shall never enter into it, never be fitted to live and reign with Christ.

   Since these signs are so vital to salvation, they should no longer be overlooked, but should receive first consideration if we expect Christ’s second coming to be for our good, not to our damnation.  Indeed, for this obvious reason it is at this late hour this important message is brought to our attention.

   This great Truth is again foretold in the words of Zechariah–

Zech. 12:5-14; 13:1-5 — “And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God.  In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.  The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.

   “In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

   “In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.  And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart….

   “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.  And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. 

And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: but he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.”

   The revival and reformation herein presented — mourning and heart searching caused by appreciativeness of God’s great mercy and goodness — shall be in the day the governors of Judah say, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength,” in the day the Lord makes even the most feeble among them as David, and the house of David as God, as the angel of the Lord.

   When this thorough reformation takes place then the cleansing fountain shall be opened to the whole house of David.  In that day the wicked shall be cut off and kept out of the house of David, and the false teachers, “prophets,” shall feel ashamed of having ever taught their private interpretations of the Scriptures.  Then shall men fully realize that though they could be taught by men to keep cattle, yet no man could teach them to prophesy; that this office is restricted to the Spirit of Prophecy, that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of private interpretation.

   Is this cleansing, heaven-fitting pre-millennium Kingdom, set up in probationary time? — To find our answer we shall turn to the prophecy of Micah–

Micah 3:12; 4:1, 2 — “Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest…. But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.  And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

   Here we are told that in the latter days, in our time, the ancient Kingdom that was destroyed will be reestablished and exalted above all other Kingdoms.  Then people shall “flow into it” because “the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”  The gospel work, therefore, is to be finished while its headquarters stand in the Holy Land.  Thus the Kingdom is set up in probationary time, in time of salvation and judicial purification, for after it is set up other people from many nations flow into it.

   This is what the Bible says, and certain it is that this is what is to be, for not even the Devil can defeat God’s plans or cheat His people.  Oh, yes, the Devil will try to explain away what these Scriptures say, but he can never make them say something other than what they do say.  Besides, anyone taking the Devil’s word in preference to God’s, deserves the Devil’s reward, and I am sure he will not be cheated out of it.

   Since these signs of the times, in addition to others, are of far greater importance than the “Lisbon earthquake,” “the dark day,” and “the falling stars,” we had better awake to the demand which they impose upon us, and which are bound to fit us for the second coming of Christ and for a home in His Kingdom if heeded.  But if these signs cannot awaken us, then it is positive that they will cause us to slide down into the bottomless pit while dreaming of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing, supposedly on the way to the glory land.  What a disappointment and what weeping and gnashing of teeth that would be!

   Who is to drive the Gentiles out of the land? — The answer is in

Zech. 1:14-17, 20, 21 — “So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.  And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.  Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem…. And the Lord shewed me four carpenters.  Then said I, What come these to do?  And He spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”

   Obviously one part of the Gentile nations shall come against the part that is in the Holy Land, and chase them out to make room for God’s people.  Then will the Lord’s feet stand on Mount Olives and the Mount shall cleave in the midst thereof and make therein a very great valley.  Thus shall the Lord open the way for His people to flee there to the “valley” where the Lord’s feet stand, and all the saints with them (Zech. 14:4, 5).

   This truth, you see, supersedes all truths, for without it your other truths will not profit you, will not take you into the Kingdom.  It is the last mile of all the miles of our faith through life that takes us Home.  We have gone this long; let us, therefore, keep on going right on to glory land, which is no longer beyond the horizon.  The mile ahead is indeed the last mile that will take us Home. (Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 44 p. 29-51)

 

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Understanding Biblical Double Applications

December 22, 2018

Image result for picture of a man studying bible

Once we become more of a serious Bible student there soon comes to our awareness the understanding of Biblical double applications. For  the textbook example case, let us read —

“But Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: “You men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this and listen carefully to what I say. In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel:

‘And in the last days it will be,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will perform wonders in the sky above and miraculous signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:14-21)

Peter was no doubt serious in proclaiming Joel’s prophecy as coming true. Yet we know, looking back from our time, that the Joel prophecy could not have been the primary or first application of the prophecy. In other words the scroll has unrolled enough for us to see clearly rather than dimly as Peter saw.

The message gives us a great understanding in another double application —

 

Question: “Explain Matt. 24:15, 16. ‘When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whose readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.’ Does not this scripture refer to the destruction of the ancient Jerusalem in the Christian era?”

   Answer: In order to clear the scripture in question, it is necessary to study the verses preceding it and the verses that follow. It is generally understood that this scripture was a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem in the Christian era. Nevertheless, a close study of the same will prove that at that time this scripture met only a partial fulfillment as did Joel 2:28-31 on the day of Pentecost. See The Acts 2:16-21.

   We call attention to the fact that Christ was asked to explain concerning His statement when He said: “There shall not be left here [in Jerusalem] one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2) as they said: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Then Jesus pointed out that all these events will be preceded by certain signs and that His followers were to thus observe the time and escape the ruin of each event in question which span the time from the destruction of Jerusalem to Christ’s second coming — the end of the world.

   In this long period of time there were many things to transpire in fulfillment of prophecy and the signs were to forewarn His followers, but the more outstanding events were the destruction of Jerusalem, the fall of the Christian church under the domination of the popes, the great tribulation during the 1260 years of papal rule, His coming and the end of the world.

   Now let us concentrate and give undivided attention to the words of the Master: “For then [when the abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet, ‘stand in the holy place’ and when they ‘flee into the mountains’] shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21.)

   It will be noticed that the “tribulation” which Christ mentions in this scripture was to come to His followers and not to the Jews who rejected Him, for He says: “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. That is, if the “tribulation” spoken of here was the destruction of the Jews, then the days of their destruction and of the city should have been shortened and some elect ones of the wicked Jews inside the city should have been “saved,” which thought is contrary to historical facts and to the thought the Master’s words contain.

Hence, as the “tribulation” is not the destruction of the city or the slaying of the Jews, but rather the persecution by the popes against the saints in the 1260 year period, and as the days of the destruction of the Jews was not shortened, it is obvious that Jesus was directly and prophetically forewarning His followers who were to fall under the persecution at the time the popes set aside the truth of God (Dan. 8:12) and instead placed the abomination; that is, the pagan system of worship in the “holy place” — the church. For further study on the subject, see “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 2, pp. 126-147.

   Therefore, Matt. 24:15 primarily contains valuable instruction for the disciples of the early Christian church, but it finds its perfect fulfillment with the setting up of the papacy. Moreover, as the S.D.A. denomination admits that the “great tribulation” is the persecution of the Christian in the days of the popes, and that the shortening of the “days” was the cessation of the martyrdom before the 1260 year period ended in 1798, it follows that the “abomination of desolation” cannot wholly be applied to something at the time ancient Jerusalem fell, for Jesus’ language proves that the “abomination of desolation” was the cause of the great tribulation and not of the destruction of Jerusalem.

In other words, if the fleeing to the mountains is the fleeing from Jerusalem and of its destruction, then the great “tribulation” should be the slaying of the Jews; and the shortening of the “days” must denote a quick dissolution of the city so that the Christians could shortly return, and every Bible student knows that this was not the case.

   Consequently, the scripture is so worded as to furnish a warning to those disciples who were then in Jerusalem although the warning is made directly to those who were to flee to the mountains from the reign of the popes. (Sym. Code, vol.1, no.13, p.10-11)

We highlighted the red part to show that our King is so far-sighted that the reason double applications exist is to give understanding to different eras of His people to know Truth. We also notice that there is one “perfect fulfillment” of the application.

Then there is the classic example of SOP’s second application of the timing of Ezek. 9. This is why it’s important to understand this important Biblical interpretation. Many S.D.A.’s get hung up on some prophecies due to their lack of understanding this concept.

Question No. 145:–“If the slaughter of Ezekiel Nine takes place in the church before the close of probation, then why does ‘The Great Controversy’ p. 656 say: ‘Now all have made their decision; the wicked have fully united with Satan in his warfare against God…The mark of deliverance has been set upon those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done?’ Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel’s vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is given….The work of destruction begins among those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people.’ 

“Does not the above reference, which seems to place the slaughter of Ezekiel Nine after the close of probation, refute the teachings of ‘The Shepherd’s Rod’?” 

  Answer:–The query reveals that the questioner has not thoroughly studied or understood what “The Shepherd’s Rod” teaches, for “The Great Controversy” does not refute “The Shepherd’s Rod,” but rather strengthens it. It has been proved that 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. (Matt. 13:49.) 

  Therefore, as there are two separations, 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. ( Sym. Code, vol. 3, p.8)

The above question is often used, particularly among the S.D.A. leaders, to dispel the Lord’s Rod message. Yet if one looks at all the other relevant references concerning Ezekiel 9 (Bible, SOP and Rod), just as in Peter’s Joel statement, we cannot accept that the Church judgment is to be in the time of the plagues. This can only be a secondary application.

In our last example we show a “present truth” quandary. The following is an often debated subject with us Elijah messengers, yet if we use the double application method we may find some harmony and clearer understanding of “Jacob’s time of trouble”. However, this complicated subject may even get into a “third application” due to Spirit of Prophecy’s putting it in the times of the plagues. Definitely requires deep study to make sense of it all!

For the sake of this post we’ll stick to the Rod understanding of this subject. We find from the original writings that there appears two different time settings (applications), one pre-Church purification and one post, for Jacob’s trouble. Remember this trouble comes from Esau.

 

Let us read the secondary first —

Isa. 66:5, 6 — “Hear the Word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His Word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.  A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to His enemies.”

  Some have already had the experience of being carried bodily out of the churches for no other reason than for having read “The Shepherd’s Rod,” and for having said, “I believe what It says.”  Of course, it is incredible that men should act like demons.  It is nevertheless so, and God Himself testifies against their demon practice. 

We do not pity ourselves, and are not at all angry at our adversaries, but we are sorry about their spiritual blindness, misery, poverty, and nakedness, for we know that the coming joy is to be ours, and the sorrow and shame and gnashing of teeth, theirs.  This we know as verily as Jacob knew that God was with him in his flight from the face of Esau.

The Esaus of today, though, do not know this.  No, they do not know it any more than Esau of old knew of Jacob’s night vision of the ladder that extended from heaven to Jacob’s dew-soaked bed.” (Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 45 , p.14-15)

As clear as words can make it, the Rod shows trouble “today” as well in brother Houteff’s day coming from –Esau. There is no doubt concerning this trouble as some Elijah messengers have experienced being physically removed from church by the strong-arm of the Law for absolutely nothing but quietly attending service by mad and demon like Elders, Pastors, and other leaders of the S.D.A Church! Esaus indeed!

“The S.D.A. church, repeating the history of the Jews (5 T 160), will be swayed by its “priests” and “rulers” today to take a course against “the faithful servants of God “similar to that followed by the priests and rulers in their treatment of Christ’s and the apostles’”. As the 144,000 become more and more like their Saviour, “the light of the world.” making manifest the “darkness and error” enveloping the church, the leaders in their “fanatical hatred” of the saints will move “the mob to a mad fury” against them and, in desperation born of blind and raging hatred, will reach out for the civil arm of power to accomplish their evil ends, merging the following type into antitype.” (Sym. Code, vol. 1, no.9, p.3).

Esau’s use of the “civil arm of power” has come true, yours truly has witnessed it when we were part of a ministry effort to pass out Shepherd’s Rod Tracts and literature at one of the Las Vegas churches a couple of years ago. This is by no means an isolated case of this “fanatical hatred” from the Esaus.

“..the few who do have the courage to carry out their convictions, straightway in consequence become targets for the Enemy’s fiercest darts of opposition, — bitterest prejudice, scandalizing falsehood and character defamation, ridicule and scorn and hatred embarrassment and hardship. 

Thus “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:12) find themselves “outcasts” (Isa. 66:5; Luke 6:22; Acts 24:14) at the hands of persecutive forces perpetuating and even outdoing the worst that was ever in Judaism and Romanism.  And what is still worse, when these revivalists of tyranny, clothed in apostle like robes, succeed in confusing and overthrowing the faith of an investigator or of a follower of Truth for this very time, they compel him to submit to rebaptism in order to be readmitted into church fellowship, even though he has become more faithful than ever before!  What astounding blasphemy!” (White House Recruiter, p.54-55)

Ok so our secondary application is thus confirmed. Let’s now look at the main primary application. We as present truth believers know that the “Fundamental Beliefs” are the pillars of our faith. Thus we cannot under-estimate these statements. Not only do Davidian Seventh-day Adventists believe in ALL the S.D.A Fundamental Beliefs, but also the DSDA’s as well. Let us look at number 6 and 7.

 

6.   That the angels’ letting loose the four winds to blow over the four corners of the earth (Rev. 7:1), does not anticipate a world war but rather a world-wide decree enforced throughout Babylon by the image-beast, and that then no one may buy or sell save he who worships “the image.” Rev. 13:15-17.

7.   That subsequently, the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) for the 144,000, the sons of Jacob, logically develops on their way home (Gen. 32:1, 24) to the land of their fathers (Ezek. 36:28; 37:21, 25).(Fundamental Beliefs, p. 13).

Here is our most plain and powerful statement showing that the time of Jacob’s trouble” occurs AFTER the winds are let loose. And since we as present truth believers know, the winds are not let loose until the sealing of the 144,000  is completed.

But one may ask –When is this sealing done? Could it be before the Ezek. 9 church purification, thus showing support for the secondary application being the primary? The message answers it —

 

“And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt Thou destroy all the residue of Israel in Thy pouring out of Thy fury upon Jerusalem?  Then said He unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great,…and as for Me also, Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity.” Ezek. 9:8-10.

   After the sighing and crying ones were marked (which is not to be understood as being consummated in its entirety worldwide before the slaying follows anywhere), the slaughter completed, and the matter reported, the Lord “spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city.” Ezek. 10:2. (Tract 1, p.38-39)

The highlighted areas clearly shows that we are not to understand that the marking (or sealing)  will be consummated (completed) BEFORE the Ezek. 9 slaying starts. Thus we see that the Church purification is the time of the sealing completion–not before that! This puts the FB no. 7 solidly in the post Church purification. The journey on the way “home” to God’s land–Israel.

 

Jer. 30:4-6 — “And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.  For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.  Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child?  wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?”

The cause of the fear here forecast is fundamentally needless and unnecessary, declares the Lord.

Jer. 30:7 — “Alas!  for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.”

The people that have come to this antitypical time of trouble are returning to the homeland, are comforted.  Apparently it is bad enough to frighten all, but God’s encouraging counsel is, “Fear not.”

   Plainly, the burden of this chapter is concerning the antitypical returning to the homeland.  Though terrible the trouble may seem, yet the outcome of it is to be the same as in the type.” (Timely Greetings, volume 1, no.47, p.14)

Again we see the time of Jacob’s trouble appearing on their “returning to the homeland.” Obviously this cannot be while the Jacobites haven’t left for home yet.

Summary —

As we have shown, Biblical double applications play an important role in our correct understandings of prophecy. Our God is so far-reaching and deep that, for all we know there may be several or dozens of applications  in some prophecies yet we won’t see them until the dim light is removed and we see brightly.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)

“Wonderful possibilities are open to those who lay hold of the divine assurances of God’s word.  There are glorious truths to come before the people of God.  Privileges and duties which they do not even suspect to be in the Bible will be laid open before them.  As they follow on in the path of humble obedience, doing His will, they will know more and more of the oracles of God.” — Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 322.

Follow the Guide

December 15, 2018

Image result for picutre of the Spirit of Truth

AS we read the above very important Word of God, we would like to sink the shaft of Truth into the mine of God. This one reference is so profound and deep that we truly are blessed to know even part of the ramifications.

Many of us have been to the Zoo, wild animal park, museum or such, where we are escorted around and guided into new things we are not likely to know about. This experience enriches our lives and gives us lasting pleasant memories. In this same vein we know that our Almighty King has promised us a “guide”, a most wonderful Spirit, whose job it is to enlighten and uplift us in His Word. Let us look into this deep subject.

We know that every single promise spoken of by our King will not go undone. As such , the promise given in the above Scripture is a “real thing” to those who believe it and are blessed to have it working in their lives. The Elijah message expounds upon it’s importance.

“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 Great Controversy, p. 609.

   Accordingly, “when a message comes in the name of the Lord to His people, no one may excuse himself from an investigation of its claims.” — Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 65. Lay aside all prejudices, self-opinions, and ideas of men who bear not the mark of Inspiration, and who say in effect by their actions: “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (truth or prophets). Rev. 3:17.

   The Bible can be rightly explained only by the Spirit Who dictated it. He “will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come” that ye may “be established in the present truth.” And “whosoever…blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost [speaketh evil against the message] it shall not be forgiven” him: for it is the only means whereby we may be saved (John 16:13; 2 Pet. 1:12; Luke 12:10). (Tract 3, p.10)

 

“And “when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come,” says Christ, in broader statement of this same truth, “He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13.

   Having been put forth prematurely and without the prompting of the Spirit of Truth, human efforts have accordingly failed to discover and explain the truth of “the trumpets.”  And no scripture ever being unfolded without Inspiration, the expositions of uninspired minds are hence of private interpretation, in forewarning of which the Bible says: “….no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Pet. 1:20.

   So before a person can climb the ladder of Truth, he must first of all free himself from erroneous theories, which keep him bound in darkness.  And to loose himself from such weights of error so as to reach the top step of the ladder of Truth, he must carefully investigate and “prove all things” in Open-Mindedness.” (Tract 5, p.5-6)

So why is it that some have this Spirit working in their lives and some don’t? Again Christ has not left us without an answer, let us read–

“If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.” (John 7:17)

 Powerful! Ah, so those who are NOT doing God’s will aren’t being led of the Spirit to know God’s true doctrine.This is far reaching!

Allow us to give an specific example. Brother P, is a very well studied student of the Scripture, in fact he is often asked to lead out in the local Sabbath School lessons.When asked about the S.D.A Sanctuary truth, or the “Leopard like Beast” his quick to flip the Bible pages and start his discourse. I have personally sat down with him and went over the Scriptures together.

Yet of many years of occasional studies (usually around the dinner table during Sabbath lunch) I became dumbfounded  how he could not see a plain “Thus sayth the Lord”. In other words, how can the following be mis-interpreted?

“Behold I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5).

This was not all, the Scriptures like the following as well —

“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lordto the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”(Isaiah 2:2-3)

To his credit, at least he did not fight the clear texts as to the meaning, rather he looked bewildered and simply acknowledged his incomplete understanding of it.

But where is the “Guide”?That Spirit of Truth who was promised those who “do His will”? He has been an Adventist for over 20 years and studied quite a bit. We  don’t know, but somewhere somehow It’s not guiding him.

Now, for us Adventists where do you think the Spirit of Truth is guiding us today? We just read it- Mal. 4:5. There is a FINAL message to be given us from the Lord’s last prophet to His S.D.A church –“Elijah”.

This obviously is SO IMPORTANT because it’s “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” The message explains more —

 

“Behold,” says the Word, “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”  To him shalt thou hearken.  “And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter,  when the towers fall.”  “Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire: and His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err,” “because  they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Mal. 4:5; Isa. 30:25, 27, 28; 2 Thess. 2:10.

   Here it is seen that the prophecies and the correct interpretations thereof are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect.” 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.

   Therefore, brethren, settle it once and forever, that with the Lord’s help you will no longer be carried away by winds of doctrine that are created and driven by the spirit of error, not by the Spirit of Truth, but that you will always look for, and stand by, the Inspired Word of God — “the testimony of Jesus,” delivered to you by “the Spirit of Prophecy” (Rev. 12:17; 19:10);  that you will “hear the rod, and Who hath appointed it.” Micah 6:9.(Tract 6, p.79-80)

“Because in that day the Lord is both to shepherd the faithful and to punish the unfaithful, the message which announces this “great and dreadful  day” (Mal. 4:5), is titled, The Shepherd’s Rod.  “The Lord’s voice,” therefore, “crieth unto the city,…

“Hear Ye the Rod, and Who Hath Appointed it.Micah 6:9.   Sunken in Laodicean slumber and sleep, “the city,” the church, in God’s merciful effort to prepare it against this day of trouble, is to be startled to life by His urgent cry:

   “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.”  Isa. 52:1.

   “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.  For, behold the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall rise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.  And the Gentiles shall come to the light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isa. 60:1-3.

   The church of the Laodiceans, being the last of the seven churches, is the last sectionnof the Christian church in which the wheat and the tares are commingled.  The overcomers, the marked ones, from it, those who hear the Rod, begin the eighth section of the church — the one symbolized by the “barn” (Matt. 13:30)  and by the “vessels” (Matt. 13:48), also by the “golden candlestick” of Zechariah 4.  Of her the Lord says: “…the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.  Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Isa. 62:2, 3.

   Among the Laodiceans, however, those who refuse to arouse and take in the situation, who will not “sigh and…cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezek. 9:4) will be left without the mark, and will consequently fall under the slaughter weapons of the angels (Ezek. 9), while those who receive the mark will escape them and be shielded from the trouble, the shield’s being symbolized by the barn and the vessels.” (Matt. 13:30, 48). (Track 9, p.61-62)

 Allow me to briefly explain my views on this “guiding”.  It was only when I began to “sigh and cry” for the sins of the church, was my eyes opened. As we know , our current truth message of Elijah  tells us to sigh and cry for all the abominations done in the church (Testimonies, vol, 3, p.266-267, vol. 5, p.221-212). And Ezekiel 9. This is now what gets us sealed, along of course with keeping of the Sabbath and His other Commandments.

So if one is not truly validating his walk with Christ, obeying His final message of Elijah, then it would seem that the Spirit of Truth is stymied, stuck. This may be why some cannot see what is there in the Scriptures. I am speaking solely concerning Seventh-day Adventists of course. Those without are being addressed in a wholly separate way and according to Scripture await, in most cases, the work of God through His final servants the 144,000. This is known as the Great Multitude of Rev. 7:9.

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)

In closing, let us know that God is able to give us that precious guide, the Spirit of Truth. But we must do our part to humbly ask for It and be willing to advance so that it will be said of us —

“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 14:4)

“Wonderful possibilities are open to those who lay hold of the divine assurances of God’s word. There are glorious truths to come before the people of God. Privileges and duties which they do not even suspect to be in the Bible will be laid open before them. As they follow on in the path of humble obedience, doing His will, they will know more and more of the oracles of God.” (Testimonies for the Church , Vol. 8, P.322)

Understanding the Christmas Holiday through Present Truth

December 8, 2018

Image result for picture of Jesus in manger

As the Christmas holiday is fast approaching, it behooves us to correctly understand this long-held tradition. There is much we can filter through once we stay abreast of God’s advancing scroll of Truth. To be sure, if one does not look at this in a more full perspective, one may be caught up in being an extremist and steering from the “middle of the road” as the Lord’s Elijah message counsels.

For example, one “present truth” believer condemns those who even mouth the word “Christmas”. Yet Inspiration has never said such things. Many SDA think nothing of lighting their home Christmas tree and outside house lights during this season. Both positions are wrong and not in the counsel  of the Lord’s word.

Let us read —

“There is but one way of knowing that we are being led, by Christ our Lord, in the straight path to the pearly gates, and that is, by neither adding to nor taking from the Word of Truth, but by carefully following in the way of light, going not a step ahead of it, lingering not a step behind it, nor walking along its side-edges, but by following right in the middle of the road.

Hence, let not your zeal for progress drive you ahead of the light and make you to walk in the darkness; neither let your caution against running too far ahead cause you to drop back and lag behind; nor yet let carelessness verge you toward the edges.

Stay in the center of the road, where the light shines the brightest. Do not follow ideas, which stand upon implications, upon enlargements, upon diminishings,of the meaning of authoritative statements. Says Christ: “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life.” (Rev. 22:18, 19.)

“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.” (Deut. 18:20.) “Extremists never walk in the blaze of the light, but are always found ahead of it, and those who are passive invariably walk far behind it, while the careless and the indifferent stray to the edges.But those who are the true children of light never vary a step left or right, front or back from the brightest spot of the Christian’s narrow road”.”—3 SC 3-4:13

December 25th as Christ’s birthday —

There is no doubt that the “wide awake” Christians believe that Jesus was not born on Dec, 25. Further, we have Inspiration which also makes this case–

“The twenty-fifth of December is supposed to be the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and its observance has become customary and popular. But yet there is no certainty that we are keeping the veritable day of our Saviour’s birth.

History gives us no certain assurance of this. The Bible does not give us the precise time. Had the Lord deemed this knowledge essential to our salvation, He would have spoken through His prophets and apostles, that we might know all about the matter. But the silence of the Scriptures upon this point evidences to us that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes.

In His wisdom the Lord concealed the place where He buried Moses. God buried him, and God resurrected him and took him to heaven. This secrecy was to prevent idolatry. He against whom they rebelled while he was in active service, whom they provoked almost beyond human endurance, was almost worshiped as God after his separation from them by death.

For the very same purpose He has concealed the precise day of Christ’s birth, that the day should not receive the honor that should be given to Christ as the Redeemer of the world—one to be received, to be trusted, to be relied on as He who could save to the uttermost all who come unto Him. The soul’s adoration should be given to Jesus as the Son of the infinite God.” (Adventist Home, p. 477 )

“For over nineteen centuries the institution of Christmas, the popular gift-exchanging day, has been acclaimed throughout Christendom as one of God’s good and perfect gifts.  And this sentiment has been glorified and perpetuated in the face of the widely-known facts that Christmas is not the birthday of Christ, that He was not, in truth, born in December at all, that the observance of the day is simply a Christianized heathen custom perpetuated in charming Christian guise, and that it is not a gift from God.” (Tract 13, p.5)

The Christmas Tree —

The Scriptures and His Rod both are in agreement here. But regarding the Spirit of Prophecy (SOP) writings we see a little different angle.

“Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

   “They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go.  Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” (Jer. 10:2-5.)

 

“…Christmas is not, in reality, observed to the honor of the Saviour, but to the glorification of a heathen custom and to the gratification of the carnal heart.  Consequently, “altogether-Christians” cannot therefore consistently participate in celebrating the Christmas myth.  Indeed, to do so is openly to set at naught the Word of God, for “thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.” (Tract 13, p.6-7)

“Letters of inquiry have come to us asking, Shall we have a Christmas tree? Will it not be like the world? We answer, You can make it like the world if you have a disposition to do so, or you can make it as unlike the world as possible. There is no particular sin in selecting a fragrant evergreen and placing it in our churches, but the sin lies in the motive which prompts to action and the use which is made of the gifts placed upon the tree…. Let not the parents take the position that an evergreen placed in the church for the amusement of the Sabbath school scholars is a sin, for it may be made a great blessing.

Keep before their minds benevolent objects. In no case should mere amusement be the object of these gatherings. While there may be some who will turn these occasions into seasons of careless levity, and whose minds will not receive the divine impress, to other minds and characters these seasons will be highly beneficial. I am fully satisfied that innocent substitutes can be devised for many gatherings that demoralize.” (The Adventist Home, p.482)

How can this be assessed?  We think this is key, we go with “our present truth” , the current message from the Lord via His Rod is–do not “consistently participate” in this custom with its heathen practices. That’s what we are counselled and what we should do.Apparently those of Ellen White’s time we under different instructions on the “church” tree. Nowhere is SOP speaking of a “home tree” as is the heathen custom today.

Gift Giving —

“..the traditional gift-exchanging which is part and parcel of the spirit of Christmas observance, is a jealousy-breeding custom, all too often only cankering the receiver’s heart and emptying the buyer’s pocketbook.  Thus while it goads one multitude to display of pride, even luring them into revelry, debauchery, and immorality, it drives another, the multitude of poor, either to envy or discouragement, or to both, also not infrequently to despair, and sometimes to  insanity — even to committing murder and suicide.

The whole Christmas institution consequently being but a species of heathen worship that is demoralizing the nations, the Lord’s servants will invariably shun the exchanging of Christmas gifts, shun the evil attendant upon the occasion’s pretentious spirit and spurious humanitarianism.  Christians cannot, indeed, take part in its unholy  traffic of gift-trading and reveling, and at the same time be “altogether-Christians.” (Tract 13, p.7-8)
“The holiday season is fast approaching with its interchange of gifts, and old and young are intently studying what they can bestow upon their friends as a token of affectionate remembrance. It is pleasant to receive a gift, however small, from those we love. It is an assurance that we are not forgotten, and seems to bind us to them a little closer…. 

It is right to bestow upon one another tokens of love and remembrance if we do not in this forget God, our best friend. We should make our gifts such as will prove a real benefit to the receiver. I would recommend such books as will be an aid in understanding the word of God or that will increase our love for its precepts. Provide something to be read during these long winter evenings….

Thousands of dollars will be worse than thrown away upon the coming Christmas and New Year’s in needless indulgences. But it is our privilege to depart from the customs and practices of this degenerate age; and instead of expending means merely for the gratification of the appetite or for needless ornaments or articles of clothing, we may make the coming holidays an occasion in which to honor and glorify God.

Like the wise men of old, you may offer to God your best gifts and show by your offerings to Him that you appreciate His Gift to a sinful world. Set your children’s thoughts running in a new, unselfish channel by inciting them to present offerings to God for the gift of His only-begotten So.” (AH, p.478-480)

Another seemingly diametrically opposing counsel yes? Well, upon close examination maybe not. SOP says we can bring gifts that honor God. For example a Tithe offering to one of God’s “true” storehouses or maybe a present truth Tract or book to someone. In other words, gifts glorifying God and His cause.

Sadly, as of today, there is not any Children’s books on the Lord’s Elijah message. But we are working on that. For it would be a great gift for the Children. Notice that we can set our “..children’s thoughts running in a new, unselfish channel by inciting them to present offerings to God for the gift of His only-begotten Son.”

The Christmas purpose —

“While to a multitude of Christmas-observers, Christ means scarcely more than any ordinary man of fame, to an even greater Christmas-observing multitude of “not-at-all-Christians,” He is but a storied figure by which to conjure holiday revelry; although they meaninglessly lip His name in conventional acknowledgment of the supposed origin of the religious occasion of the season!  Thus to many, like a light in the darkness, stands out the fact that Christmas is not, in reality, observed to the honor of the Saviour, but to the glorification of a heathen custom and to the gratification of the carnal heart.  Consequently, “altogether-Christians” cannot therefore consistently participate in celebrating the Christmas myth.” (Tract 13, p.6-7)

“As the twenty-fifth of December is observed to commemorate the birth of Christ, as the children have been instructed by precept and example that this was indeed a day of gladness and rejoicing, you will find it a difficult matter to pass over this period without giving it some attention. It can be made to serve a very good purpose. 

The youth should be treated very carefully. They should not be left on Christmas to find their own amusement in vanity and pleasure seeking, in amusements which will be detrimental to their spirituality. Parents can control this matter by turning the minds and the offerings of their children to God and His cause and the salvation of souls….Let there be recorded in the heavenly books such a Christmas as has never yet been seen because of the donations which shall be given for the sustaining of the work of God and the upbuilding of His kingdom.” (AH, p.478, 482)

Summary —

As we mentioned in the top of the post we must strive toStay in the center of the road, where the light shines the brightest.” Thus, when we look at God’s word as said in the above references, we can see an underlining harmony.

The Christmas season is nearly all encompassing of heathen worship and customs. Yet we can turn it around by doing what God’s Spirit of Prophecy says. Gifts such as offerings to His storehouses, present truth literature to those we think may be enlightened, and teaching our children about Christ and focusing on HIM that day. It can indeed be  a day of — sustaining of the work of God and the upbuilding of His kingdom.”

Faith in Action

December 1, 2018

Image result for picture of jesus with the centurion

We have heard the well-known following words from our Lord —

“Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.” (Matt. 17:17)

Our Lord was exasperated with the lack of faith around him. But how about those who show great faith and put it in practice?

We remember one of the greatest examples of pure unadulterated faith exhibited by the Centurion.

“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west,and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.” (Matt.8:5-13)

Today when we hear of such strong faith , it really encourages us. It motivates us to do likewise remembering that faith is so important in our Christian walk. This week we’d like to tell you about “Brother R”. We heard about this story this week and was led to share it. The following is what he wrote on FB —

Blessed by the goodness of God!

I lost my wallet today on a bike ride to the store. When I got home I immediately knew that it was not in my pocket. I got on my bike and followed the way back to the store. No wallet. I went inside the store and asked customer service. No wallet. I left my name and tele # with them. Then I rode back the same way. No wallet.

When I got home, Elba and I had prayer that it might be returned. I then cancelled my debit card which thankfully was the only card that I had. We both had faith that it would be found and returned. Later on I called the store to check in and see. No wallet.

We had some family over for Thanksgiving dinner this evening. My faith was still encouraged, even though it had been several hours by now. After the family time was over and everybody went home, I had began to think that it was not going to be found. I wrote down on my desk that I needed to contact the DMV, bus pass, and store discount card. Then we sat down to watch a movie. It was 9 pm.

Shortly thereafter…….
The doorbell rings. There stands two guys and a lady. I immediately knew what it was all about. They brought my wallet to the door. A mom and her two sons who were older. Wow! The mom’s husband found it on the sidewalk about a block away. He was unable to come. I didn’t hesitate to offer them a check. They all absolutely refused. I offered a couple of times, still they said no way. We praised God for them and gave them many thanks. We said, “God answers prayer”. They agreed.

What a God! God’s faithfulness was shown even when I had pretty much given up on the tail end. Bless His name! (This was the third time in recent years that my wallet was lost. Each time they were returned, nothing was missing.)

Although tempted to forego his faith, he still had faith in the power of the Lord to answer prayer, for he had lost his wallet two other times and each time, prayed and it has been done unto him. We notice that he and his wife did the most important thing, they took the matter to the Lord in prayer right away. So often we sadly forget to call upon the Lord in these situations, whether big or small, important or not so important.

But here is what really made us think. Brother R, his wife and myself all think it was no ordinary humans who found and then delivered this wallet, we believe it was–angels! Brother R relayed to me when we discussed this situation that there was something unique and wonderful about the “mom and her two sons”. For they smiled very warmly and presented themselves in, well let’s just say an “angelic way”.

God’s word says —

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”(Hebrews 13:2)

We also had the same unique and wonderful experience, which we related in the following post done back on Dec. 11, 2009 —

https://godsloveandlaw.com/2009/12/11/gods-sings-give-us-renewed-faith/

The above link post experience reminded me of a prior similar experience. Looking back, I truly believe it was angels who sat down with me for that dinner. Angels probably take a much more active role in the Christian experience than we realize. We remember Lot having that memorable meeting with the two men who were angels.

Some may say. “Yeah but I pray often for things but I don’t get much from it.” The Scriptures answers that —

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)

In closing, our walk is built upon “the basics” and those are –love, faith, and obedience. When we learn to trust the Lord, He will certainly reward our faith if it is according to His purpose.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”(Matt.21:21)


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