Archive for July, 2019

Will Women and Children be counted among the 144,000?

July 27, 2019

Image result for children and women with Jesus

Recently the subject of who will comprise the 144,000  came up on our Facebook ministry. This is quite a good question because of the issue of women and children, how do we understanding the elect of God in relation to them?

Fortunately, the Lord’s final message of Elijah does have a lot to say about this and makes our understanding clear upon study. First, we should know that in order to be found a part of the 144,000, including women and children, you MUST be sealed. Let us look at inspiration concerning this.

“Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (Ezek. 9:6.)

“When God was about to smite the first-born of Egypt, be commanded the Israelites to gather their children from among the Egyptians into their own dwellings, and strike their door posts with blood, that the destroying angel might see it, and pass over their homes. It was the work of parents to gather in their children. This is your work, this is my work, and the work of every mother who believes the truth. The angel is to place a mark upon the forehead of all who
are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel will follow, to slay utterly both old and young.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, p. 505.

“The curse of God will surely rest upon unfaithful parents. Not only are they planting thorns which will wound them here, but they must meet their own unfaithfulness when the Judgment shall sit. Many children, ‘will rise up in judgment and condemn their parents, for not restraining them, and charge upon them, their destruction. The false sympathy and blind love of parents causes them to excuse the faults of their children and pass them by without correction, and their children are lost in consequence, and the blood of their souls will rest upon the unfaithful parents.”—Testimonies for the church, Vol. 1, p. 219.

“Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (Ezek. 9:6.) In this Scripture we see that as the “ancient” men are lost, their children are not saved either.

   “And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons and his slaughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his   sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones and burned them m with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.” (Joshua 7:24, 25.)

   “I saw that the slave-master will have to answer for the soul of his slave whom he has kept in ignorance; and the sins of the slave will be visited upon the master. God can not take to heaven the slave who has been kept in ignorance and degradation, knowing nothing of God or the Bible, fearing nothing but his master’s lash, and holding a lower position than the brutes. But He does the best thing for him that a compassionate God can do. He permits him to be as if he had not been; while the master must endure the seven last plagues, and then come up in the second resurrection, and suffer the second, most awful death. Then the justice of God will be satisfied.” — “Early Writings, ” p . 276.

   The above references indicate that the children of the righteous will be saved, and that the children of the wicked will be lost. However, none who have had no opportunity to be saved will themselves suffer punishment. Therefore, missionaries must be sent to every “nation, kindred, tongue, and people” to inform all of the plan of redemption, so that each will be given an equal opportunity to be saved.” (SC, vol. 2, no.11, p.9)

Here will see some clear instructions about sealing. We notice the solemn responsibility placed upon the parents! The children are sealed (saved) because of their faithfulness. Likewise, they can be lost for their parent’s unfaithfulness. 

“Those who are slain before the commencement of the Loud Cry in fulfillment of Isaiah 66:16 are professed Sabbath keepers who fail in the time of the closing work for the church to receive the seal of God. “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 3, p. 266. (See the Sept. Code of 1935, p. 7)” (2 SC,
no 7, 8, p.11).

“Obviously all the sinners in the church will perish in this slaughter of the wicked, be they men, women, or children. PARENTS who continue to SERVE the DEVIL will have their LITTLE ONES with them in HELL; and PARENTS WHO BREAK AWAY FROM ABOMINATIONS will have their LITTLE ONES WITH THEM in the KINGDOM. Where do you stand? Are you with those who have the burden of this work, or are you against them? This you see is the decisive hour for you, for me. {1 TG  no.52: p.21.2}

“Question: “Will all but the 144,000 of the present S.D.A. denomination actually be slain in the separation?”

Answer: All but those who do not receive the mark or seal, old or young, male or female, will fall under the slaughter weapons of the angels. (Ezek. 9:6.) Only those who sigh and cry for all the abominations in the midst thereof will receive the mark. (verse 4.) John saw 144,000 sealed (marked). If others from within the S.D.A. denomination besides the 144,000 should escape, it is not known to us.” (1 SC, no. 15, p.9)

In our last reference find clear unmistakable points on our topic, let us rejoice in Him who gives our light!

“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.” (SR, vol. 2, p.164)

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Looking at John Knox’s teaching of the Holy Spirit

July 20, 2019

Image result for John Knox

Three weeks ago we made the post “Mysterious God”, in it we expounded upon the Holy Spirit and how it is truly the Third Person of the Godhead. But recently the Lord has impressed upon us to delve more into the John Knox tie in and why it is important for us present truth believers to know what he taught in regards to the Holy Spirit.

To begin, once more we need to see this issue from the Lord’s final pleading message of Elijah (Mal.4:5-6), the “restoring” message that is to restore all things (Matt. 17:11). The Lord knew undoubtedly that this Holy Spirit issue would become a real controversy among His people, and for sure it has!

The Seventh-day Adventist church, along with even some present truth believers, the Davidian SDA, are seriously battling this controversy right now, with many online websites and YouTube videos proclaiming that we are dishonoring God and even blaspheming Him when we claim the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Godhead.

Two of the leading proponents of this “two Beings” only doctrine, is Nadar Mansour and David Barron, both being quite active in online media today. But to be sure, there are many others as well. So we feel there must be a counter-voice from the present truth believer standpoint to expose this folly, this terrible doctrine, lest us Elijah messengers get snagged also!

Let us look at what specific counsel the Lord sent through His message to us. First, we shall look at the Ezekiel 4 chart.

 

 (Click this link to enlarge)
http://www.davidiansda.org/Chart02.htm

Once you click the enlarged chart, you will notice step two showing John Knox as the Barley, as symbolically described in Ezekiel 4:9.

“Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.”

We should also take notice of the words “Presbyterian”. John Knox and John Calvin were the leaders in starting this movement and today their teachings in this denomination are largely based on their doctrinal understanding of the Bible, particularly the Godhead, ie. The Holy Spirit. Thus we need to see what John Knox and their Presbyterian teachings were concerning our issue because obviously they were inspired and approved by the Lord and allowed into His Elijah chart above.

As present truth brethren, we should know well this Ezekiel 4 teaching. This we believe sets straight our issue of clarity on the Holy Spirit understanding.

For those who aren’t familiar with the basics of this teaching see this link for a general outline —

http://www.shepherds-rod-message.org/outlines/eze_4.pdf

The Eliajh message confirms that Knox’s teachings on the Holy Spirit was sanctioned by the Lord —

“The Jews never rose higher than the height to which Moses led them. When Moses died, they as it were died with him so far as spiritual progress was concerned. Thus it was that they rejected and killed the prophets that came after Moses, not sparing the Son of God.

The same spirit prevailed in the Christian church. She never rose above the level on which the Apostles left her, and for a time she even fell almost to the bottom of the pit. And she would have dropped out had God not again visited His people in the persons of Luther, Knox, Wesley, Campbell and the other reformers, through whom the Lord brought to light certain parts of Bible Truth that had long been trampled under foot.” (Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 26, page 21)

Let’s note the words “certain parts of the Bible”. This explains how those reformers were given specific “parts” of truth (parts of the spiritual food) and their sum total is the whole spiritual food fed to God’s people in six steps (courses) during the time of the Reformation. The Protestant denominations are built chiefly on the six doctrines;

1) Wheat = Faith brought by Martin Luther (Lutherans)  Hebrews 11:6

2) Barley = Holy Spirit  by John Knox  (Presbyterians)  Judges 7:13-14

3) Beans = Grace  by John Wesley  (Methodists)  Rom. 3:24; 4:4

4) Lentils = Baptism by Alexander Campbell  (Baptists)  Matt. 3:16

5) Millet = 2300 days  by William Miller (1st-Day Adventists) Dan. 8:14

6) Fitches (Spelt) = Sabbath/Sanctuary by E. G. White  (SDA) Gen. 2:1-3 Ex. 20:4-6

 

The message explains more detail of this important Ezekiel grain prophecy —

 “The Lord said to the prophet Ezekiel, “Put them in one vessel” (Ezek.4:9).   It will now be considered as to whether he really did put all these doctrines in one vessel.  Luther believed in the doctrine he taught, but the great enemy flooded the church with deception.  Not with arguing the truth.  No, no.  But suggesting to the people that they now have all the truth, and that they surely were right, thus hardening their hearts against more light.

Soon additional truth came, but Satan had already flooded the church with his agents, and prejudice was aroused against the new light.  The result was that the majority turned down the truth.  A few saw the light and as the case generally is, they were voted out by the church.  Necessity gave birth to a new movement, or denomination.  Such has been the experience with the church in each advancing truth up the line to our own time.

   In like manner, the truth represented by the barley (Spirit) was turned down by those who had accepted the doctrine symbolized by the wheat (faith).  Knox believed in all the truth he had and also all the truth Luther taught.  Thus the wheat and the barley were in one vessel and carried to the second step.

   We next have the truth symbolized by the beans (grace) and presented by Wesley, who believed also in the truths previously taught by Luther and Knox, which were represented by the wheat and barley.  The third step was made, and the wheat, barley, and beans were in one vessel.  The fourth truth was represented by lentils (baptism by immersion) and taught by Campbell, who believed in the doctrines of Luther, Knox, and Wesley.

Thus the wheat, barley, beans and lentils were carried to the fourth step, and in one vessel.  The fifth truth (2300) was represented by millet, and this step upward was made by William Miller who believed in all the truths symbolized by wheat, barley, beans, and lentils.  The fifth step was made and the five varieties of food of truth were carried in one vessel.

   We now come to the last variety of the cereals: “spelt” (Sabbath), in connection with the judgment.  Is it not a fact that the Seventh-day Adventist denomination believes in all these truths: The wheat (faith); barley (Holy Spirit); beans (grace); lentils (immersion); millet (2300 days); spelt (Sabbath, with the sanctuary truth)?  It will be noticed the Lord said, “Put them in one vessel”.  He did not say in two, or more, but in one.

There are no other people besides Seventh-day Adventists who believe in the 2300 days (cleansing of the Sanctuary), and it is this denomination (vessel) which teaches all the six doctrines as represented by the six varieties of food.  Thus the prophecy meets its fulfillment in our day, and we are amazed with the difficulty to comprehend the great wisdom of the Lord our God.” (SRod, vol. 1, p.120-122)

Ok, we have established the fact that the Lord’s Rod message shows us to look closely at what John Knox taught in regard to the Holy Spirit, so let’s see exactly what that teaching is —

Our first reference comes from the Presbyterian creeds of confession —

Chapter 12 – Faith in the Holy Ghost

“Our faith and its assurance do not proceed from flesh and blood, that is to say, from natural powers within us, but are the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; whom we confess to be God, equal with the Father and with his Son, who sanctifies us, and brings us into all truth by his own working, without whom we should remain forever enemies to God and ignorant of his Son, Christ Jesus.

For by nature we are so dead, blind, and perverse, that neither can we feel when we are pricked, see the light when it shines, nor assent to the will of God when it is revealed, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus quicken that which is dead, remove the darkness from our minds, and bow our stubborn hearts to the obedience of his blessed will.

And so, as we confess that God the Father created us when we were not, as his Son our Lord Jesus redeemed us when we were enemies to him, so also do we confess that the Holy Ghost does sanctify and regenerate us, without respect to any merit proceeding from us, be it before or after our regeneration. To put this even more plainly; as we willingly disclaim any honor and glory from our own creation and redemption, so do we willingly also for our regeneration and sanctification; for by ourselves we are not capable of thinking one good thought, but he who has begun the work in us alone continues us in it, to the praise and glory of his undeserved grace”.https://www.apuritansmind.com/creeds-and-confessions/the-scottish-confession-by-

We note that the Holy Spirit is said to be “God”, and “equal with the Father and the Son”. This is profound and cannot be misinterpreted!

Next we go to our second reference  direct from an authorized Presbyterian website —

“Presbyterian theology, like Christian theology, begins with the triune God. The Trinity is the basis for understanding who God is. The three persons are one God. Who we see in Jesus Christ is God. What we see the Holy Spirit do is God. The God who is revealed in the Old Testament is God. All the work of God is one work in that it is carried out by the one God. But God works as three divine persons, united in the divine love. The Bible distinguishes the work of the persons of the Godhead. But we believe in and worship, as the hymn says, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity”
https://firstpresbyterian.org/sites/default/files/other/What-Presbyterians-Believe-Session1.pdf

In our last reference, again is from the Presbyterian site we read —

“1. The Holy Spirit is God. That is to say, the Holy Spirit is understood strictly in Trinitarian terms. The Trinity is a doctrinal way of referring to the three ways God has of being God — all three simultaneously, and each always in active relation with the other two. This means that our experience of God as Holy Spirit always involves also our relation to God as Creator (Father) and to God as Mediator-Savior (Son).

God as Holy Spirit comes into our lives in and through and with God’s creation of Israel and its history, in and through and with the coming of the Word of God in the “flesh” of Jesus of Nazareth. No matter how profound is our sense of the immediate spiritual presence of God in our lives, that awareness is always initiated, given substance and definition, corrected, and sustained in and through and with our being encountered by the eternal Word of the Creator — finally and decisively by that Word incarnate in the life-death-resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Holy Spirit moves within us, but there is no merging and loss of identity in the union of Holy Spirit and human spirit.”
https://www.presbyterianmission.org/what-we-believe/holy-spirit-3-views/

Summary —

Because our King told us through His final restoring message of Elijah that John Knox, the barley of Ezek. 4 prophecy, taught the correct understanding of the Holy Spirit, we would do well to know this doctrine and stand upon His word, fortified and solid upon the Rock of Jesus.

Those that come to us saying something different must be shown as the usurpers they are, counterfeits and leading souls into the pit, prepared for the devil and his angels. The Lord says there are THREE BEINGS in the Godhead, the Father as God, the Son as God, and the Holy Spirit as God, amen.

If we reject this clear teaching shown by Knox’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit then we should not call ourselves present truth believers, rather some other description and be honest by denying connection to our Lord’s Rod message, aka the Elijah message. The two being doctrine cannot be reconciled with the Lord’s Rod.

“And such as do choose to engage in private interpretation are respectfully asked to desist from teaching in the name of the Rod and at its expense. Let them like honest men, teach in their own names and at their own expense.” (Answerer, vol. 5, Q- 133)

 

Coming in the Clouds

July 13, 2019

Image result for Jesus coming in the clouds

The great hope for believers is the long sought after “coming in the clouds” of our King and Savior. Let us read–

“But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”(Matt. 14:61-62)

This, as we know, is what we are taught as basic Christianity 101. But there is advanced learning that must be accended to if you are a current member of God’s remnant church, those professing to be keeping the Commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. In other words, if we are Seventh-day Adventists, there is present truth that will put in a clear timeline and focus on this “coming in the clouds”.

Briefly, as a personal testimony, when I first came into the SDA church, this was a basic understanding that I had and was confirmed by our church. The very “next” coming is to be His coming in the clouds with all glory and power.  In other words, our great hope and anticipation. 

Our leaders, nearly all of them, confirm this next coming and the following is a typical example of our belief.

Amazing Facts ––  “The Second Coming of Jesus is mentioned more than 300 times in the New Testament is the capstone of our teachings, it is essential to our identity as Seventh-day Adventists Christians. The doctrine is engraved in our name… without the promise of His coming our faith would be in vain, and indeed it would. This glorious truth gives us a sense of destiny and motivates our missionary outreach.

https://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/media/e/10309/f/6/t/the-second-coming-of-jesus
(mark 13:57- 14:95)

But there is a precedent, a type, that indeed fits us SDA. That is the Jews of Christ’s day and their expectation of their King’s coming and how they taught this coming and neglected the truth of His real coming.

“As a nation the Jews had been growing prouder and prouder. They had made great boasts of their righteousness. They made broad their phylacteries, uttered long prayers in the market places, and gave alms to be seen of men. Their religion was formal, consisting of ordinances and purifications, rites and ceremonies. It was not heartfelt. Although they made their religious profession so very prominent, yet they did not scruple to grind the faces of the poor and to take advantage of them in every way possible.

This proud people could not think of acknowledging the lowly Nazarene as their Messiah. They knew that if they should take their position by the side of this humble man, all the surrounding nations would deride them and scoff at them. After having so loudly boasted of how they would be exalted when the Messiah should come, they could not think of recognizing the carpenter’s Son as the Messiah. Satan had blinded their eyes so they knew not what was for their good.” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, p.153)

So down through the centuries have we as God’s people learned from our past? Obviously not. Our SDA leaders continue to be generally destitute of the real knowledge of the Scriptures. The Lord’s Word tells us exactly of what His next coming will be —

 

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1-5)

There are great jewels we gain from a close examination of these great prophetic words. Let us see.

1) A messenger is to come to His people before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. This rules out John The Baptist, as he did not come before that day. He was before the first advent only. As we know of only one place in all of Scripture that predicts someone to come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, and that is “Elijah”. A male prophet.

2) We SDA are seeking Him, thinking as we have noted that He will come in the clouds, yet His word corrects us and says He will  “suddenly come to His temple”. He will come as a surprise to us (except not to those prepared for this sudden coming), and that is to His church (temple).

3) But there will be some who “stand” and some who will not. The complimentary Scripture for this understanding is found in Rev. 6: 15-17, let us read —

“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;And said 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?”

The message explains more of these words above —

 

“In these verses are pictured the fate, the fear, and the smitten conscience of all who are not able to stand in the day of the Judgment of the living, the great and dreadful day of the Lord — the wrath of the Lamb in the great “time of trouble such as never was” (Dan. 12:1), the day following the appearance of the antitypical “Elijah the prophet” (Mal. 4:5) — yes, the day in which those who have not clad themselves in the wedding garment, are cast into outer darkness, there to gnash their teeth (Matt. 22:11-13).

   Also in these scripture (Rev. 6:14-17), asserts the Spirit of Truth, “two parties are brought to view.  One party permitted themselves to be deceived, and took sides with those with whom the Lord has a controversy.  They misinterpreted the messages sent them, and clothed themselves in robes of self-righteousness.” — Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 268.” (Tract 15, p.56)

Thus the great and dreadful day of the Lord, the day in which judgment starts first in the house of God upon earth (1 Peter 4:17) will produce the Rev. 7-1:4 , 144,000, those who will “stand” in that day. Sad indeed to think we now have over 20 million SDA!

When questioned about this extremely small number, we often respond, how many were saved out of God’s first worldwide judgment upon His people? Eight from Noah’s many years of preaching!

In the great vast throng, some say over 1 million strong, who partook in the great exodus from Egypt, who over the age of 20 made it into the kingdom? Two, Joshua and Caleb!

These are solemn examples of the Lord not carelessly preserving those who will not listen to His prophets! This is why we time and again warn–LISTEN TO HIS ELIJAH PROPHET before it is too late!

4) We see why the Lord comes suddenly to His church, to purify His church  “like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.”

5) Then after His “strange act” (Isaiah 28:21) the church will finally please Him and “the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

6) He will draw near to us, meaning He will come to our very house, His house called by His name the Seventh-day Adventist church! he will then perform the great and dreadful day, as a “swift witness” against those who have not the wedding garment on.

So we see that just like the Jews of old, our leaders, from Doug Batchelor, Stephen Bohr, Mark Finley, 3 ABN, Amazing Facts performers, Stephen Wolberg, Kenneth Cox, and a slew of others, all are teaching us “Be ready Jesus is soon to come in the clouds, this is His next coming”. Wrong.

Be not confused the Lord WILL come in the clouds, but after He has first come invisibly to His church to produce His final Loud Cry servants, from His church purification to give the final message to the dying world.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.

They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD. And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 13:3-9)

Color code Orange is our Lord/God the Father speaking, Blue is Scripture or Spirit of Prophecy, Brown is Elijah message as brought by Victor T. Houteff.

What Is Religion?

July 6, 2019

TEXT FOR PRAYER
Parables-Links In The Chain Of Truth   I shall read from “Christ’s Object Lessons,” on page 17–

   “In Christ’s parable-teaching the same principle is seen as in His own mission to the world.  That we might become acquainted with His divine character and life, Christ took our nature, and dwelt among us…. Men could learn of the unknown through the known; heavenly things were revealed through the earthly; God was made manifest in the likeness of men.

So it was in Christ’s teaching: the unknown was illustrated by the known; divine truths by earthly things with which the people were most familiar…. Natural things were the medium for the spiritual; the things of nature and the life-experience of His hearers were connected with the truths of the written word.  Leading thus from the natural to the spiritual kingdom, Christ’s parables are links in the chain of truth that unites man with God, and earth with heaven.”

  Let us pray that we might understand Christ’s teachings of the unknown through the known — the heavenly things as revealed through the earthly; that we emulate Christ’s way of teaching, illustrating Divine truths by earthly objects; pray that we fully benefit by Christ’s parables — the outstanding links in the chain of Truth that unites earth with heaven.

 

WHAT IS RELIGION?

DOES IT PROFIT BOTH NOW AND HEREAFTER?

TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF, MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS  SABBATH, JULY 12, 1947 MT. CARMEL CHAPELWACO, TEXAS.

   If humanity needs to know any one thing above another, it is the answer to these two questions: What is religion?  Does it profit now and hereafter?

   Many think that religion consists of going to church, of praying, of having good morals, not stealing, not killing, not playing games, not gambling, not attending shows, not eating certain things, of doing or of not doing this, that, and the other.

   Others think religion is nothing more than some kind of a sociological order, and that the church is a place in which to get acquainted, etc., etc.  Let us see:

   Jesus was confronted by the rich young ruler, who said to Him, I have kept the commandments.  What yet must I do to enter into life eternal?  Here follows the answer:

Luke 18:22 — “Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me.”

   To understand this scripture, we must read another one along with it:

John 3:1-3 — “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

   Both the rich young man and Nicodemus were rulers, and though Nicodemus might not have been as rich as was the young man, he nevertheless was not poor.  But why was the one asked to distribute his riches to the poor, and the other told to be born again?  Why should not both pay the same price for salvation?  Here are the reasons:

   To avoid being seen in the company of Jesus, Nicodemus came to Him, not by day, but secretly by night, whereas the young ruler came to Jesus not only openly by day, but also while a multitude were with Jesus.  The rich young ruler’s basic hindrance, therefore, was his wealth, and Nicodemus’ basic hindrance was his pride.  Plainly, then, the one’s ailment called for one kind of treatment, and the other’s ailment called for another kind of treatment.

   Jesus never asked anyone to take His religion, but He asked them to “follow” Him, to be one of His disciples.  The rich young ruler could not follow the Lord because his heart was centered upon his own riches.  And Nicodemus could not follow the Lord because he was too proud to be seen in the company of unpopular and hated Jesus followed by humble fishermen. 

To remove the hindrances, the one had to get rid of his riches, and the other had to get rid of his pride.  To eradicate pride, one must be born again, must become a new man.  But to eradicate the love of money one must give his money to those who really need it.

   The Scriptures bear record that Abraham was very rich.  Yet he is called the “friend of God.”  Riches in themselves, therefore, can be a blessing, although they more often become a curse.  Pride, however, is never good.

   Remember that the Devil finds in every one of us at least one loop-hole.  Whatever that loop-hole be, it must be done away with — be it riches or be it pride.  Of course not all are rich and tied to their wealth, but everyone can be tied to himself, the “old man.”  And not all need give up riches, but all need cut loose from the “old man” who gets them into everything but what they ought to be in.

   Let us read again from John three–

John 3:4-8 — “Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old?  can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

   Nicodemus’ acknowledgment that Jesus was the Son of God made his case exceedingly bad.  Knowing who Jesus was, he should not have been ashamed to be seen in His company, nor should he have been afraid of His enemies.  He should have considered it a privilege to associate with the Son of God, with a Heavenly Being.  But inasmuch as Nicodemus was ashamed to be seen with Him, and was proud to be with Pharisees, he needed to bury the “old man,” and to arise in newness of life — needed to be born again.

   To the question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” Jesus answered, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus had to be baptized, had to publicly acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, and receive the Spirit of Truth.

   And the illustration, “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit,” definitely points out that to really know what it is to be born of the Spirit is to have the experience of being one of His disciples, of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and of proclaiming His Truth.  Jesus, comparing His followers, those who are born again, with the wind, makes this fact still clearer; for if His disciples are like the wind, if no one knows where they come from and where they go to, then the only way to find out is to become one with them.

   For Jesus to become one with us He had to be born again; He had to become an earthly man.  And for us to be one with Him, we have to be born again, born of the Spirit.  The difference is that Jesus was first born a spiritual, a Divine being, and second a human being; whereas we are first born human beings, and second spiritual beings.  Prophetically speaking of Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isa. 66:7 — “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.”

   The Jewish church, the church into which and by which Jesus was born, Inspiration declares, neither travailed nor had pain; that is, she felt neither need of nor burden for a Saviour, and yet in spite of it, He was born.

   But speaking of the children that are to make up the Kingdom, we read:

Isa. 66:8 — “Who hath heard such a thing?  who hath seen such things?  Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day?  or shall a nation be born at once?  for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.”

   Although the Jewish church in Jesus’ day travailed not, yet she brought forth the Son of God!  But when Zion travaileth she brings forth all her children at once, a whole nation!  A miracle in each instance.

   How may Zion travail? — Let us turn to the natural realm: In nature, the mother carries a child, then travails and gives birth to it.  How else, then, in the spiritual realm can Zion travail without first carrying her children before they are born?  To be specific, when one joins the church, she is pregnant with him so to speak.  When she is thus carrying her children, then they shall all be born at once, — they shall all at once receive their second birth, the birth here mentioned.

And as Inspiration makes it clear that they must be born again, they all at the outset must be in the same state of mind as was Nicodemus — ashamed to be seen in the company of present Truth believers, ashamed to be associated with believers of unpopular Truth.

   Plainly, then, our efforts to reach the people with the message of a “second birth” shall not be in vain: Zion shall bring forth all her children, as it were, in one day.  And that is why we cannot be driven to despair or to discouragement.  We are assured that “revival and reformation” will take place among all God’s people, that His word will not return unto Him void.

   Now, who could the children be? — To be children of Zion, they must some day stand on Zion.  They are therefore none other than the “firstfruits” of whom the Revelator says: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads.” Rev. 14:1.

   From the Scriptures it is now clearly seen that in this instance when one joins the church, the church becomes pregnant with that member.  Thus it is that from the time one becomes a member of the church to the time he is “born again,” he is spiritually developing for the hour of this second birth.  Then, after he is “born again” he is still to keep on growing until he becomes a full-grown, matured, spiritual being — a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of Christ, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. 

Accordingly, this state of being no one has as yet reached, but the time is now at hand when a multitude shall reach it, for says the Lord: Isa. 66:9 — “Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth?  saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb?  saith thy God.”

   This scripture endeavors to remove all doubt.  Let us believe the Lord and know for certain that the time for this particular new birth is here and that the Lord can and will make it possible regardless how it may appear to us.

   From this study we see that religion is not made up of must’s and don’t’s; that no one is to be tied to a man, but to God’s ever unfolding Truth; that religion means to be following the Lord, and to be doing those things which He leads one to do; that from the time one accepts the Lord as his Saviour, — from that very time he is to begin to grow spiritually, first to be born again, then to become a full-grown spiritual being, not all at once, but to be growing daily. 

To reach such a high state of perfection, one must therefore be perfecting himself daily and be in keeping with the Truth of God, that each spark of Truth might add the amount of spiritual growth the season requires, or else one will fall behind in reaching spiritual maturity.  Only thus can one be reaping all the benefits which religion affords.

   No, religion is not something extra, something optional.  It is something which everyone must have.  A true and up-to-date religion is something as essential as the eyes in your head.

   For examples let me take you through the stream of time, beginning with Noah.  His religion not only saved him and his family from drowning in the terrible flood, but also made him become the progenitor of the world after the flood, — yes, the progenitor of our world.  The world in his day, though, perished because it felt no need of an up-to-date religion, no need of present Truth.  What a shame!  What nonsense for one to try to get along without religion, without God’s counsel, and without the message of the hour!

   Let us take a look at another highlight in Bible history. The mother of Moses believed in up-to-date religion.  She believed that the time had come for the deliverance of the Hebrew race, and she did all she could to make it possible.  When she saw that she could no longer hide her infant son from the hand of Pharaoh, she let her religion do the rest.  The results were great, not only did she receive her son again in her arms forever saved from being thrown into the Nile, but also a guarantee for his support, education, and all — the best Egypt could afford — were paid from Pharaoh’s treasury!  The right kind of religion, you see, does great things.

   Eighty years later Moses’ religion led the whole Hebrew nation from the brick yards of Pharaoh to the Red Sea.  The sea parted for their sake, and as soon as they passed through, it closed in on their taskmasters.  What a deliverance!  What a victory!

   Moreover, as those millions of men, women, and children, also their cattle, came into that forbidding desert place where there was neither food nor water, religion made the rocks gush with streams, and the clouds drop down manna — not for a day, nor for a month, but for forty long years!  Then the miracle of the Red Sea was repeated at the river Jordan, and the emancipated brick-makers became prophets, kings, and priests!

Notwithstanding all these great happenings, when they became careless and indifferent, when they felt no need of prophets, no need of present Truth, no need of meat in due season, they again became slaves and captives!  That is why we need the right kind of religion, and that is why we need to stick to religion and to grow with it.

   The Jews were taken captive and carried into Babylon.  Nevertheless, those who were faithful to their religion were well taken care of even in their captivity.  Daniel, for instance, rather than serving as a slave, was instead treated as a lord, and was at last made a ruler by both the Chaldeans and the Medo-Persians.  And when he was for spite thrown into the lion’s den, he was spared, while his enemies were eaten up by the wild beasts.

   When the three Hebrews, for faithfulness to their religion, were thrown into the fiery furnace, the Son of God came and rescued them and not a hair of their heads perished.  Their enemies, though, were burned to death, but the Hebrews were made rulers in the kingdom.

   Gideon had to win a war.  After recruiting 22,000 soldiers, he was told that they were too many!  Consequently the time-killers were removed, and finally there were but three hundred left to fight against a multitude that covered the plain!  In spite of his small army, Gideon did win the war overnight, and without the loss of a man!  Religion, Brother, Sister, when lived up to, is a paying proposition.

   All could have been Daniels and Gideons.  Yes, even the Jews of today could have been something, but what are they? — A nation hated by all the people in the world, a nation without a king, without a flag, without a land, — the only such nation on earth.

   Now let me tell you of an experience that is strictly personal, and news to most of you.  Several years ago while I was crossing one of the busy streets of Los Angeles, California, a woman from my left drove squarely into me.  She then became so nervous that she could not stop her car but kept going for a half block.  The car, though, did not tip me over; an unseen hand carried me ahead of it.  And when the car stopped right at the alley which crossed the street, I stopped, too! 

By that time hundreds of spectators including news reporters and three motor cops, had gathered around the car.  As they found no one lying in the street, dead or wounded, they then decided the victim must have been pinned under the car.  When I told them that it was I who had been hit, they wondered.  As I told them that I was not hurt, and as I refused to be taken to the hospital, they made me raise up my hands and legs, and they asked dozens of questions.  The pencil in my coat pocket had been crushed by the impact of the car into about a dozen pieces, but my ribs were untouched!  Then one from among the crowd said, “He must be made of rubber.”

   Religion, you see, is better than an insurance policy.

   From our study we perceive that God’s power that protected life even in the fiery furnace and in the lion’s den, is still at work; that God is still as much interested in His people today as He was in Daniel’s or in any other day.  We therefore need an up-to-date religion every day.  We cannot afford to be without it, — no, not even for a moment.

   Timely Truth not only saves our souls for eternity, but It protects us from day to day.  It supplies our needs today and gives us hope for hereafter.  There is safety in nothing else, and faith in God is our only peace of mind, especially in this day and age.

   Religion obviously is profitable not only for hereafter, but certainly for today as well.  Do not play the fool by trying to get along without it. (Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 49, p.2-13)

 


 

 



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