Archive for August, 2019

A Look at Two Tithe Payers

August 31, 2019

Image result for Jesus watching the old lady two mites

In Mark 12:41-44 we read —

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

What a marvelous uplifting story of someone sold out to the Lord! Giving all she had to fulfill her duty. This story’s lesson is still applicable today. We shall look at two people who take two different directions in being faithful and unfaithful to the Lord. These examples are by no means unusual, but rather common today.

The first person we shall discuss is brother H.

He is from a very poor country in Africa. He currently is making just a few dollars a month (about the equivalent of 100.00 USA per month). He has been a present truth believer for 8 years. After studying the Scriptures and SOP message, he felt led by the Lord to continue studying, as the parable of the 10 virgins shows he needed “extra oil” to get to the kingdom.

But somewhere along the line brother H never took seriously the following SOP warning —

“Angels keep a faithful record of every man’s work, and as judgment passes upon the house of God, the sentence of each is recorded by his name, and the angel is commissioned to spare not the unfaithful servants, but to cut them down at the time of slaughter. And that which was committed to their trust is taken from them. Their earthly treasure is then swept away, and they have lost all. And the crowns they might have worn, had they been faithful, are put upon the heads of those saved by the faithful servants whose means was constantly in use for God.” (Testimonies, vol. 1, p.198)

Week after week passed by yet he continued to ignore the Lord’s treasury. He justified the missing of paying tithes as “I am poor and barely make expenses to live on, the Lord understands.” This brother H continues on his merry way thinking all is right and that the Lord is winking at his duty and making him an exception to returning the Lord’s money.

Again the Word of the Lord counsels —

“Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated Me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat You?’ “You have cheated Me of the tithes and offerings due to Me.”(Mal. 3:8)

Brother H is still struggling 8 years later after accepting present truth. Often getting temporary jobs and then being let go to start all over again looking for work. The Lord’s promise, His Word, has not applied to brother H. Why? Because he has not done his part to keep the bargain that the Lord proposed.

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing that there not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)

Let’s now look at brother T.

He also is very poor, he is also from a poor country in Africa. Brother T has likewise accepted the Lord’s Elijah message and has believed now for 7 years. But he, unlike brother H, read in the Scriptures (Malachi), SOP (many places) and the Rod (many places) that we must be faithful in returning the Lord’s money back to Him. He took this very seriously as he counted it a duty that must not be neglected, lest he is found a slothful and unfaithful servant.

Brother T makes about 180.00 monthly sweeping and cleaning the streets for some of the local business shops. Six days a week he works, and it is hard labor. But he decided long ago that he would make meticulous bookkeeping of his income and expenses. Every week he lists all his expenses for that week and deducts it from his income. The net balance (aka — net increase) is only about 18 dollars. So at the end of the week he sends off about 20%-25% of that to cover his first and second tithes = 3.60 to 4.50 a week. He also sends in free-will offerings as often as possible.

Brother T has been blessed, not only has he had a steady reliable job but the owners have paid him faithfully and he can count it like clockwork that he will get his money at the end of the week. This is the Lord’s hand at work. For the Lord has moved upon the heart of all who are connected with brother T to “treat him right” and they do this. Not only that but he has received three unsolicited raises during his five years on this job.

As to the motivation, brother T was inspired by the Lord’s counsel when he read the following —

 

“IS SMALL INCOME TITHE EXEMPT?

Question No. 158:

   As my income is very small, am I not exempt from paying tithe?

Answer:

   God designed the plan of systematic benevolence so as to make it as equitable to the poor as to the rich, no more a tax on the mite than on the million. And we know of no Scriptural authority for exempting from tithe any income, however small. All, poor as well as rich, are given the privilege of returning to the Lord His own. Many with a “mite” income are paying both first and second tithe, and in return are receiving a rich bestowal of blessing.

   Thus reason forces the conclusion that if one is not obliged to receive charity help in addition to his income (whatever its source) to cover his living expenses, then for him not to pay tithe is to cheat Himself of the abundant blessing which attends a faithful regard for the royal privilege of being one of God’s stewards.”  (Answerer, vol. 5, p.86-87)


To be sure Satan has found many ways to bring up excuses as to why we don’t need to bother with paying tithes. Here is a shortlist of some of the common ones —

1 —  Your income is too small and you just don’t have any extra to pay the tithes.

2 —  You live in a poor country and the mailing alone will cost more than the tithe.

3 —  You find much wrong with the current SRod associations, they do this or that wrong and therefore they are unworthy of your tithes.

4 —  You make your own home the storehouse and because of this, you are allowed to pocket His tithes and even ask for donations. You spread the message yourself and therefore are entitled to the Lord’s money.

Of course, there are more reasons to justify being a thief, but the above four are very prominent reasons today. We’ve shown you how number 1 reason is dealt with, now let’s look at number 2.

The Lord in His all-seeing vision saw that the poor countries would have that problem–too small tithe based on income that doesn’t even take care of the postage in some cases. In other words, how can one send in their 5.00 check or money order when postage is 5.00 ? Not to worry.

For the last several years both of the two large SRod organizations have online donation links, that process the money in seconds free of charge. The one thing that the sender has to have is a bank account. The sender simply gives his bank info to the organization’s process server (it is very secure) and it is done in minutes. 

This avenue has been so simple and seamless that yours truly has used it for years with good success.

Here are the two links to the Mt. Dale and Waco organizations for tithe processing–

http://www.shepherds-rod-message.org/giving/giving.html

https://davidiantoday.org/en/donation/

Now as to number 3, again the Lord counsel’s us —

IS IT MY DUTY TO SET RIGHT THE LORD’S TREASURY?

Question No. 98:

   Should we pay our tithe to the “storehouse” if we know that it is not used rightly?

Answer:

   Knowing that our tithe belongs to God’s storehouse, our greatest burden should be to see that it is faithfully paid there. Nowhere in the Bible do we find that the Lord has laid upon any tithe payer the policing of the channels through which these funds pass.

   The Lord’s treasury is under His control, and if He Himself should not see fit to correct an abuse in the handling of His money, certainly we could not correct it however hard we might try. If we guard carefully that part of His work which He entrusts to us, our only concern will be to find out where His “storehouse” is, and then faithfully to deposit His money there. He has not made us responsible for its use; that, He will personally take over–even as He is now “taking the reins in His own hands.”

   When the Promised Land was divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi received no land for an inheritance, as did the eleven tribes. Instead, the Lord decreed that the tithes of the other tribes were to go to the Levites. This was their inheritance. It was actually their own. And just as they, as the tithe receivers, had no right to dictate to the others, the tithe payers, what to do with their own increase after it had been tithed, so the tithe payers had no right to dictate to the tithe receivers what to do with the tithe. Each tribe was itself to be accountable to the Lord for that which He had entrusted to it. Thus it must be today. (Answerer, vol. 4, p.46)

On number 4, we also have direct clear counsel that warns us of such terrible ideas–

 

CANNOT MY HOME BE HIS “STOREHOUSE”?

Question No. 97:

   Is it Scriptural for one to retain and personally use his tithe and offerings in order to carry on the gospel work in his own community, according to his own plans?

Answer:

   Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find permission to use the Lord’s money at our own discretion. The only justification for so doing would be sheer inability, for some reason to send it to the Lord’s “storehouse.” Should one voluntarily, though, engage in such a practice then he would set the wrong example before others.

And if following in his lead, others assume  the same right, their course must inevitably  result in seriously handicapping the Lord’s work, bleeding and subverting His treasury, and thus disorganizing His work and reducing the church to a mere shell, while her members are hiring themselves as laborers in the Lord’s vineyard, helping themselves to the Lord’s money, and running without having been sent! What a Babylon that would be!

   Though the Lord commands, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” (Mal. 3: 10), He does not say to bring all the offerings. Thus, He shows that if we would engage in some personal charity or missionary activity, we should sustain it from offerings, not from the tithe.

   “Angels keep a faithful record of every man’s work, and as judgment passes upon the house of God, the sentence of each is recorded by his name, and the angel is commissioned to spare not the unfaithful servants, but to cut them down at the time of slaughter….And the crowns they might have worn, had they been faithful, are put upon the heads of those saved by the faithful servants….”Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 198. (Answerer, vol. 4, p.44-45)


“The message invests no one with authority to solicit financial help to carry on either their work or that of the Shepherd’s Rod. ” (Sym. Code, vol. 8, no. 1-12)

Summary —

The privilege to return the Lord’s money back to him is indeed one of our most precious blessings the Lord bestows upon us. I have personally seen it working in my own life and can attest to the Lord keeping His Malachi 3:10 promise. It is up to each of us to look within and account for either our faithfulness or thievery. Now is the time for self-reflection and while we still can make our faithful duty a serious business.

 

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Satan’s Three Pillar attacks against the Church

August 24, 2019

Image result for satan doing battle

As with any organized war, we know that in order to succeed there must be a battle plan. The attacks must come strategic and at points of strongholds that will weaken the enemy. This is warfare 101. In this same war plan, Satan has clearly directed his attack at three SDA strongholds of faith. That is not to say that he attacks us in other areas but these three are major. 

This week’s post we shall look at these three pillars and see what the enemy of souls is doing and how we can stand firm against him in the tried, true and successful — “Thus sayeth the Lord”.

As we all know from the beginning in the garden, Satan has attacked us ever so sneakily. His plans have been stealth and so very often unnoticed by the vast majority of church members, certainly our leaders!

Satan has long been at his work of deception, in GC, p.496-497 we read —

“God in His wisdom permitted Satan to carry forward his work, until the spirit of disaffection ripened into active revolt. It was necessary for his plans to be fully developed, that their true nature and tendency might be seen by all. Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, had been highly exalted; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong.

God’s government included not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds that He had created; and Satan thought that if he could carry the angels of heaven with him in rebellion, he could carry also the other worlds.

He had artfully presented his side of the question, employing sophistry and fraud to secure his objects. His power to deceive was very great, and by disguising himself in a cloak of falsehood he had gained an advantage. Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see to what his work was leading.”

Thus from a long history of practicing his work, he is working within our church to promulgate his attacks, in a form of misconstrued righteousness as we shall see. Let us look at the three pillars —

1st Pillar — The SDA Church is Babylon

The church has so much wrong with it as to constitute Babylon. This is the storyline that is promulgated today in reports, videos, websites, etc. Because of the abominations done in her, we should at once “touch no unclean thing” and have nothing more to do with her.

Satan’s go-to reference is this–

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:16-18)

Ah, they say, see here, we are not to associate ourselves with evil, idols, sin of any kind. We are unclean if we are among those people. Thus, the underground “home church” is the God-approved place of worship. These home churches are growing today due to the widespread message of “Come out from among them ” meaning quit the SDA church and associate yourself with small groups or just your family worship.

And as expected, enough of these brethren form alliances and a new smaller church is formed, yet separate and apart from the main body.  But his plan works, he gets some to make a FATAL blunder. How do we know it’s fatal? The Lord’s last message of Elijah says so, let us read —

“Our relation to the church is the same as was John the Baptist’s Jesus Christ’s, and the apostles’: We have a message to proclaim to the church, and though the church officials order us out, as the Sanhedrin ordered the apostles out of the “temple,” we must in a righteous way refuse to leave, and must continue returning to the church. For if we depart and stay away and become strangers, how, then, shall we proclaim the message to our people?

   All must realize, however, that it ill becomes a Christian to cause any disturbance at anytime, especially during church services. Neither is it possible for any of us by such methods to present the message to them, or to convince them that we are speaking “the words of life.” By witnessing silently, reverently, and circumspectly in church and out of church, we shall give provocation for naught but false accusations.

   In Sabbath School, it is perfectly right and  permissible to answer questions which arise in connection with the lesson. For this, they cannot justly accuse anyone of causing disturbance, as it is in no wise an infraction of the constituted purpose and rules of the Sabbath School. But if anyone should be specifically requested not to answer questions, then let him refrain from doing so rather than cause contention and displeasure.  It is wrong to create controversy or to argue over any points which may arise. Nothing but harm to the cause of Present Truth can result from such procedure. Let your deportment win the people’s confidence.

   Two of the chief reasons for not staying away from Sabbath School and church services are, (1) that we would be depriving ourselves of the privilege of public worship in the church we helped build, and (2) that by absenting ourselves from services, we would become strangers  to our brethren and would have to become reacquainted with them if ever we were to give the message to them.

By continuing, though, to go to church, we are then, after the congregation is dismissed, afforded an opportunity to speak with the brethren in the interest of the message, urging them to investigate for themselves either by attending our studies or by reading the publications of Present Truth. Also, there is always an opportunity to get one or more new names and addresses to send in for our mailing list.

   So, if we voluntarily stay away from the church services, we lay ourselves open to the charge of being offshoots from the body, and at the same time forfeit the opportunity of coming in contact with the congregation.

   Moreover, if in this wise we separate ourselves, then in the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9. when those who have not the “mark” are taken away, we shall not have the same right to claim an inheritance in the Denomination. (Answerer, vol. 4, p.30-33)

In the Tract called White House Recruiter, the same warning is given —

 “Do not, though, let any one fool you into believing that the Recruiter is calling you out of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination and into something else.  Such allegations and insinuations come only from those who are enemies of God’s eleventh- or Judgment-hour Truth, and who are therefore neither His servants not your friends.  God’s servants get their orders from God, and friends are ever cautious not to push their friends into accepting propagated falsehood, especially when the Scriptures are under consideration.

The plain truth about the Recruiter is that Its mission is to make sure that you stay in the Denomination, and to keep you from being cast out, not by men, but by the Lord when He proceeds to inspect the guests therein and to cast out those who have failed to put on the “wedding garment” which the Recruiter brings.” (WHR, p.53)

A wealth of information! We see that the Lord requests that we remain at our place of duty, and not to abandon her ranks. Further, we read solemnly that if we do stay away from her, at the time of the Lord’s church purification, we shall have no right to claim inheritance to her! This time will be her most glorious time, the time of the last great Loud Cry.  What devastation awaits those who have proclaimed false holiness, yet killed others (spiritually)! To look from without what could have joyfully been theirs from within, no more to walk with her ever again!

“I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good, According to their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things in their vessels; Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, Do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.” (Isaiah 65:2-5)

2nd Pillar  — We must keep the Feast Days

In this second pillar, we find it is similar to the first, as both have the underlying motive of false holiness by certain  “righteously” cloaked SDA members. The premise is that we are to please God by continuing to fulfill the Feast holy days. Often the home church proclaimers will also be one of these Feast keeping proclaimers as well. Satan cares not how he fools us, as long as he does somehow someway!  In these first two pillars it’s from an angle of an “angel of light”, let us read —

“For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)

But once again the Lord knew ahead of time how to meet these tricks and warned, through His final message fo Elijah, to not fall for such Satanic ploys, proclaimed by his human agents dressed as angels of light. Let us read–

Broadly speaking, the law of Moses consists of three parts.  The first is the Ceremonial law, the law of the temple — the sacrificial law.  This law, of course, we today must not observe, except in antitype, for it foreshadowed things to come, particularly Christ’s first advent.  Thus it is that if we had lived in Old Testament times and had failed to comply with the sacrificial law and system of that day, we would thereby have demonstrated unbelief in Christ, Who was to come.  But since we are living in the Christian era, if we should now observe the typical sacrificial law and system, we should thereby demonstrate unbelief in Christ, Who has come.

   And so, as this law was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14), we need not, and must not, observe it now. (TG, vol. 2, no.37, p.14)

It cannot get any clearer, we show “unbelief in Christ” if we observe the Feast days! SOP has much to say here as well–

“Christ discharged his disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any virtue; for type was meeting antitype in himself, the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances that pointed to him as the great and only efficacious offering for the sins of the world. … To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah.” — (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, June 14, 1898)

3 — The sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7 is symbolical and it’s study is of no great importance to members of the SDA Church 

Unlike the first two pillars, this one is the most sophisticated and diabolical. The success rate of Satan’s scheme to make this subject of nearly no importance throughout the vast SDA church membership is astonishing! 

The Spirit of Prophecy led out with this very subject when Ellen White, as a young girl had her first vision. Early Writings page 13-16 describes how the 144,000 make it to the kingdom, their temptations and struggles to stay on the “narrow path”. Thus God led out our church from its inception — this subject!

Further SOP declared what we as SDA need to focus on —

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven.” (RH, March 9, 1905)

To be clear,  while EGW under inspiration spoke those words at that time, it applies to us right now. This concept is explained —

“The prophets of God spoke less for their own time than for the ages to come, and especially for the generation that would live amid the last scenes of this earth’s history. “Not unto themselves but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, which things the angels desire to look into.” “All these things happened unto them for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (Signs of the Times, January 13, 1898)

The Lord followed SOP with the Elijah message and that too, He led out with this omni-important 144,000 subject —

“It is the intention of this book to reveal the truth of the 144,000  mentioned in Revelation 7, but the chief object of this publication is to bring about a reformation among God’s people.” (Preface Shepherd’s Rod, volume one)

And to those of us who have read all the Lord’s Rod publications, there is no doubt about it, the subject of the 144,000 is shown from many different angles. This unfolding is certainly the Lord’s doing, to let us have a clear precise understanding of what we are striving for. There is no “B” team or second class servants from the SDA church–no! 

But this knowledge is not ignored by Satan and his workers. They know that to know about this subject in detail and have it secured in our minds as –truth, hinders their work and ultimately brings their doom as the 144,000 take the field and begin to destroy the works of Satan.

If we do not understand the subject of the 144,000, we may not be sealed, for it would be worthless to understand it after the sealing, just as it would be of no value to understand the beast and his image after his work on earth is finished.” (SRod,  Vol. 1 p.14)

“Some day this subject must be understood, for Inspiration makes no useless statements, and it cannot be in the Bible for a trinket.  It must be understood before the number (144,000) is made or it would be of no value.  When understood, it will guide the feet of the 144,000 in the straight path just as the first, second, and third angel’s messages have led thousands of souls to Christ.”(SRod, vol. 1, p.14)

 …Its dominant doctrinal concern being the truth of the 144,000, and a correct understanding of it being a life-and-death matter to all, the Rod unfolds it from several different angles, each urging the Denomination to prepare for the glorious deliverance of the saints and against the inglorious destruction of the sinners as foretokened by the marking and slaying recorded in Ezekiel 9.” (SRod Tract, p.5-6)

“The Enemy will try everything conceivable to confuse, becloud, and cover up the Truth, especially on the subject of the 144,000.” (White House Recruiter, p.33)

But our adversary knows these verses and thus plans his attacks to counter them. Often when the subject is brought up to our leaders, it is dumbed down and we are told not to worry much as it’s not an important subject, “Christ’s love” is what counts they say. Satan gets the leaders to place prophecies on the backbench, yet the Lord began His last two church movements with this subject!

Today, in our church the 144,000 topic is vastly unheard of throughout her ranks! But the Lord has met this by the spreading of online media. We have alternative ways of finding out more about this subject through YouTube videos, Websites, Facebook, etc.

Now, to be sure Satan has not stopped with silencing this subject among Seventh-day Adventists, he has found a way to confuse and bewilder even some present truth believers–Davidian Seventh-day Adventists! How is this possible you ask? After all these Adventists are the real students  of the Word, they have accepted the message of Elijah (?).

In the Rod message there are some references such as the following —

“As present-truth adherents in the first-fruit period, may God help us all, Brother Sister, to be either among or along with the first fruits, the 144,000.  It is left to every one himself to determine his own destiny. “(White House Recruiter, p.46)

The reference is made to show that there will not be just 144,000 sealed from the SDA church but others, known as “those with”.  Granted , when one reads this reference it appears to say as such. But, as he is so often able to do, his deception is achieved by those not willing to study and to be “guided into all truth” (John 16:13).

The trick is exposed when we look at the verse in context. The paragraph before it says —

“..if you make your decision for the better, then you will receive God’s mark (Ezek. 9; Testimonies To Ministers, p. 445) in your foreheads, be accounted faultless before His judgment throne, and be privileged either to come up in the resurrection of Daniel 12:2, or to stand aforehand with the Lamb on Mount Zion (Rev. 14:1), thence to carry God’s message to all nations and bring all your brethren for an offering to “the house of the Lord.” Isa. 66:19, 20.  You will become part of the first fruits, the nucleus, of the Kingdom Church, the token of the second fruits of the living, of those whom you subsequently bring in.”

Therein lies the context, plain and easy to understand. The resurrected of Daniel 12:2 (faithful SDA who have died in Jesus) are the “along with” the Rod speaks about. 

So Satan’s ploy with the DSDA is to proclaim that the 144,000 are “Israelites” from the SDA church (Rev. 7:1-4) and the “those with” are the Gentiles in the SDA church. Therefore the 144,000 is not the only ones who survive the SDA church Ezek. 9 judgment. 

Thus he has a plan for the SDA, to dumb down the importance of the 144,000 and to the DSDA, to twist the subject of the 144,000.

To be sure the Rod is clear as can be about who survives the Ezek. 9 church judgment —  

“Notwithstanding the fact that “in the closing work” for the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. only 144,000 are to be sealed, according to Testimonies, vol. 3, p.266…” (Answerer, vol. 3, Question 54)

Satan knows that whoever adds or subtracts from the Revelation word, brings upon themselves a fearful and horrible demise —


“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, 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, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:18-19)

In closing, we have seen that Satan is not resting in his unholy work of deception. The question is — are we one of those snared ones that he has fooled? God forbid!  

The Lord’s word promises us —

“And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13)

Color code — Orange- The Lord speaking  Blue — Bible and SOP Brown — The Lord’s Rod (Micah 6:9) (aka Elijah message Mal. 4:5)

Studying the Seventh Seal

August 17, 2019

Image result for the seventh seal revelation

We all can agree that the book of Revelation, with perhaps the book of Ezekiel being the exception, is the most mysterious and difficult Bible book to understand. But we should not fear as the Lord, as promised, sent a prophet who would enlighten our minds with the deep truths therein. The following is an in-depth report on the Seventh Seal of Revelation. May you be blessed. 

The Seventh Seal, Revelation 8:1-5   Rev. 8:1, 3-5: “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”

We have omitted the second verse, for it has reference to the seven trumpets.  The silence in heaven for about half an hour cannot be the second coming of Christ, as some have thought, for afterward the angel with the golden censer and incense, offered the prayers for the saints from the golden altar.  The altar is in the holy place, just opposite the throne that is in the most holy.  The two apartments were separated by a vail.  In the day of atonement, the vail or door of the earthly tabernacle was opened and the high priest went in. 

But let it be remembered that the door (vail) was left open while the high priest officiated.  Thus the two apartments became one.  For this reason the congregation were not permitted in the holy place on that day, as they were at other times, for the vail being lifted, the holy place also became most holy.  So while the door to the most holy was open, the entrance to the holy was closed.  Therefore, the high priest alone used both apartments on the day of atonement. (See Lev. 16:17.) 

Thus the golden altar before the throne, from which the angel offered the prayers of the saints, was, and is, used in both periods — before, and in the time of the judgment.  As the entire judicial tribunal (Judge, Advocate, Elders, etc.) were in the temple after the seventh seal had been opened, it is evident that the judgment was in progress, and probation had not closed at the time of the “silence.”  For after the judgment has ceased and probation closed, no man can enter the temple. (See Rev. 15:8.)

   Had the “silence” of “half an hour” pointed to the coming of Christ, at which time He takes his saints with Him, there would be no necessity for the angel to offer their prayers.  Furthermore, it would be unnecessary to “cast” fire, which is the Spirit of God, from the golden altar to the earth. 

Again, if the opening of the seventh seal means the coming of Christ, then only those under the six seals would have been considered in the judgment, and there could be no seventh seal, which would show lack of perfection and completeness of the judgment, and of the gospel.  It would also be contrary to the number of seals on the book.  As the six seals have reference to six periods in which the saints were sealed, the seventh must also apply to a sealing period; otherwise it cannot be called, seventh “seal.”

   Now let us consider the truth as taught by the last seal.  Note carefully the order of each act.  The seal is opened, and silence follows, for it reads: “and when he had opened the seventh seal there was silence.”  The Revised Version, Weymouth, the Greek, and the Bulgarian Bibles read the same way.  The silence was followed by the angel coming to the altar with the censer, after he offered the prayers of the saints.  And then he filled the censer with fire, and cast the fire to the earth and again the voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.  This is the exact order of each event.

   What made the silence?  As the judgment opened, John states: “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings and voices;” and the four beasts “rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” (Rev. 4:5, 8.)  The voices are continuous day and night while the judgment is going on.  But sometime after the seventh seal was opened these voices were silenced for about half an hour.  After the angel offered the prayers of the saints, and cast the fire upon the earth, the voices resumed.  “And there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” 

Evidently the judgment, for some reason, had stopped, and half an hour later it resumed.  It cannot be otherwise, for, if the judgment was going on, and the beasts and the elders kept silent, it would indicate that there was something wrong — something to which they could not say “amen” and praise God.  Therefore, the only proper conclusion is, that for some reason the judgment retired for half an hour.

   What made the interruption and brought about the change?  Let us first determine the length of the prophetic half hour’s time.  A day in prophetic time stands for a year. (Ezek. 4:6.)  One hour is a twenty-fourth part of a prophetic year, and figuring thirty days to a month, it would be about two weeks.  Half an hour would be half of two weeks; therefore, seven literal days.  Seven days were used for purification.  (See Ex. 29:35, 37; Lev. 12:2; 13:4, 5; 1, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21, etc.)  From these references we conclude that the “half an hour” or seven days stand for the purification of the church, pointing forward to the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1-6.  But we have a more definite proof, which will clear all doubts.

   In observance of the Passover, the Lord commanded Israel to celebrate that occasion seven days. (See Lev. 23:5-8.)  Surely no one would say that God commanded His people to commemorate that event seven days with no object in view. 

Israel after the flesh going into Egypt, then out of Egypt to Mount Sinai, the passover in Egypt on the night when the death angel smote the first born of man and beast at the departure of Israel, are types of the church at the present time — the church going out of Egypt — worldliness, the purification of the church, the separation of the tares form the wheat — the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9.  (A complete explanation of the subject is given in “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, pp. 64-113; see also chart on page 224.)

The Spirit of Prophecy bears witness of this by the following statement: “The Passover was to be both commemorative and typical, not only pointing back to the deliverance from Egypt, but forward to the greater deliverance which Christ was to accomplish in freeing His people from the bondage of sin.” — “Patriarchs and Prophets,” p. 277.

   Thus the silence of half an hour points forward to this great event for the church of God.  Its fulfillment would bring us to the time of the harvest, or as it is called, the Loud Cry of the Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 18 — the last message for the world.  Thus, while the five men with the slaughter weapons are taking away those represented by the tares within the church, there will be silence in heaven for about half an hour (seven days), after which the judgment will commence again for those who shall be sealed in the time of the great harvest, which is the end of the world. 

Said Jesus: “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” — the church.  (Matt. 13:30.)

   They who are to be sealed at that time were seen by John as a great multitude with palms in their hands. (See Rev. 7:9.)  Hence the scroll has made a turn, and the sealing for those who shall be judged while living, has begun.  As we stated before, the passover night in Egypt is a type of the purification of the church, separating the tares from the wheat.  The crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites pointed forward to the fulfillment of Isaiah 63. (See “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, pp. 96-103.)

   Therefore, the prophet declares the words of the Lord: “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart and the year of my redeemed is come.” (Isa. 63:4.)  We quote verses 1-3, also 17, 18: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?  this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?  I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.  Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 

I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment…. O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?  Return for thy servant’s sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.  The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.”

   The prophet saw Christ himself returning from the slaughter of the Edomites — the class who were deceiving God’s people in the church, the tares, or adversaries who had trodden down His sanctuary.  “Bozrah” means “sheepfold” — the church.  He saw His garments stained with the blood of the tares, in delivering His people from their hands. 

The prophet asked: “Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth the winefat?” The purification of the church makes it necessary for Christ to leave the place of judgment and descend to deliver His redeemed (the 144,000), and this is what causes the judgment to cease, and the voices to be silenced for about half an hour — seven days. 

The Spirit of Prophecy bears witness of the same.  “The Lord Jesus shall rise up from His mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary, and shall clothe himself with the garments of vengeance, and surprise them at their unholy feast; and they will find themselves unprepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb.” — “Testimonies for the Church,” vol. 5, p. 690. 

Peter, looking forward to the purification of God’s church, and the commencement of the judgment for the living, says: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17.)

   Had the church as a body, or at least the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination accepted the message of reform as presented to them in “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, there would be no necessity for that class to fall by the figure of the five men with the slaughter weapons. 

It is the reception or rejection of the message that will fix the destiny of the two classes as described in the following testimony: “I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the true witness to the Laodiceans.  This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth.  Some will not bear this straight testimony.  They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people.” — “Early Writings,” p. 270.

   In the earthly sanctuary, the high priest entered the most holy apartment once a year, and on that particular day every Israelite was to confess his sin.  He who neglected to comply with the divine requirements was cut off from his people. (See Lev. 23:29, 30.)  Thus the day of anti-typical atonement, judgment, or cleansing of the sanctuary, as set forth in Daniel 8:14, is a day of purification for the camp of Israel, the church — putting away sin and sinners.  The earthly sanctuary was a figure of the heavenly. (See Heb. 9:23, 24.) 

It was instituted with its ceremonial system to point forward to the work of Christ, our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary during the anti-typical period — New Testament time.  As the sanctuary with all its services, was a figure of type of the true, heavenly, under the administration of Christ, so the typical day of atonement must point out the truth in the anti-typical period — our time.

   While the judgment for the living is in progress, every sin must be confessed and put away.  He who would neglect this great privilege, will find himself involved in everlasting ruin — cut off from among His people.  Ignoring this most vital subject would not profit us in the least.

Reformation in View

The great reformation in view, vividly represented by the angel at the golden altar with the prayers of the saints, and the casting of the fire from the altar to the earth, is foretold, also, in the following testimony: “In visions of the night representations passed before me of a great reformatory movement among God’s people.  Many were praising God.  The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought.  A spirit of intercession was seen; even as was manifested before the great day of Pentecost.  Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families, and opening before them the word of God. 

Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest.  On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth.  The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence.  Great blessings were received by the true and humble people of God.” — “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 9, p. 126.

   My brethren, the Lord is speaking to us.  Shall we not heed His voice?  Shall we not trim our lamps and act like men who look for their Lord to come?  “The time is one that calls for light bearing, and for action.”  Awake, I beseech you, from the sleep of death.  Let not the last day find you destitute of heavenly treasure.

   Are all the living judged and sealed under the seventh seal? Or have some been considered before its opening?  To answer this question we quote Revelation 8:3, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”  Note, the prayer is offered for all saints.  No one, knowing God’s truth, would dare pray for the dead, for it is abomination in God’s sight; much Iess would an angel commit such sin.

   The Psalmist declares that prayers for the dead are the invention of the heathen, “They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.  Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brakes in upon them.” (Psa. 106:28, 29.)  “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. (Psa. 115:17.)  If the dead praise not God, how can an angel offer a prayer for them before God?

   The phrase, “all saints,” has reference to all the living who are to be judged.  Evidently this is done under the seventh seal.  If “all,” then it is definite that all the living saints are counted under the seventh seal.  Thus, with the opening of the last seal, commences the judgment for all the living saints.  Let nothing confuse you on this point.  If we say the prayers of all saints had some connection with the dead, then they should have been offered at the commencement of the judgment — the opening of the first seal, for after the judgment the prayers cannot profit them.

   Note the words at the opening of the judgment for the dead in 1844: “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” (Rev. 5:8.) 

Mark that no angel offered a prayer, but the prayers of the saints were presented by the beasts and elders through praise by harps, and golden vials full of odours, that is, there was no prayer offered for the dead, but their prayers which they had prayed, being recorded while they were yet alive, were presented before the throne.  The 144,000 are sealed before the silence “of half an hour,” or at the opening of the seal, but they are judged in the period of the seventh seal, for the prayer was for “all” saints — the living.

   Is there any way whereby we can determine the time of the opening of the seal, and the commencement of the judgment for the living?  If God so faithfully revealed to the living the commencement of the judgment for the dead, it cannot be possible that He would keep secret the time of the judgment for the living.  If He did, we would have no present truth in the time of the last seal; neither could there be justice in such secrecy, nor could such judgment be legal. 

Therefore, a revelation of the judgment for the living, is of as great importance as the revelation of the gospel itself.  For the judgment (blotting out the sins) is the crowning act in the gospel of Christ.  Thus we conclude that when the seal is opened, and the judgment for the living begins, we must know it.  The day of atonement in its type proves the same, for the Israelites were well informed of the event, their duty, and the consequence.

   The date of that most glorious event for the righteous, but exceeding solemn for the wicked, will be made known at the fulfillment of the following verse: “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings and an earthquake.” (Rev. 8:5.) 

The casting of the fire from the altar into the earth is the outpouring of the Spirit of God.  We have stated before that the book of Revelation is a revealing of prophecies, and not a prophecy of itself.  Therefore, we find the prediction of this glorious event in Joel 2:28, 29.  The “voices, and thunderings, and lightnings,” denote the opening of the judgment for the living, as they also denote the opening of the judgment for the dead. (See Rev. 4:5.)  The earthquake will be the sign of the event. (SRod, vol. 2, p.214-221)

A Helpful Documentary

August 10, 2019

Image result for Davidian Seventh-day Adventist

As we have been in the message of the Lord’s final prophesied Elijah prophet for many years, we appreciate good reports and videos that accurately explain aspects of the Lord’s Elijah message. We came across a most thorough documentary of the history of the Davidan Seventh-day Adventist movement. We have posted the seven links of the video, and we hope you take the time to watch these presentations. They give a good historical perspective of the DSDA movement. Be Blessed.

Part 1 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4Yg1ZQ0G20

Part 2 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJVZ5Q874Po

Part 3 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGBKJZAAP6M

Part 4 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=821CvdPjFY8

Part 5 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa3sRtkF3UU

Part 6 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EptPUlgcT0

Part 7 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dimA-c8EYU

Switching Employers

August 3, 2019

Image result for picture of satan as angel of light      Image result for picture jesus in the clouds

Oh the wiles of Satan. His craftiness is almost unmatched. Yet the Word says —

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Our King showed that some are working for Satan yet know it not —

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

So we have, whether we admit it or not, an employer, a boss over us. It’s one of two rulers– Christ or Satan.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”(Romans 6:16 -17)

Powerful! God’s word tells us we are servants either to our King or the adversary, no middle ground! As such we get paid.

 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Perhaps our greatest example of switching employers is the apostle Paul. Let us read a most stirring account of this transformation —

“Prominent among the Jewish leaders who became thoroughly aroused by the success attending the proclamation of the gospel, was Saul of Tarsus. A Roman citizen by birth, Saul was nevertheless a Jew by descent and had been educated in Jerusalem by the most eminent of the rabbis. “Of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,” Saul was “a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Philippians 3:5, 6.

He was regarded by the rabbis as a young man of great promise, and high hopes were cherished concerning him as an able and zealous defender of the ancient faith. His elevation to membership in the Sanhedrin council placed him in a position of power.

Saul had taken a prominent part in the trial and conviction of Stephen, and the striking evidences of God’s presence with the martyr had led Saul to doubt the righteousness [113] of the cause he had espoused against the followers of Jesus. His mind was deeply stirred. In his perplexity he appealed to those in whose wisdom and judgment he had full confidence. The arguments of the priests and rulers finally convinced him that Stephen was a blasphemer, that the Christ whom the martyred disciple had preached was an impostor, and that those ministering in holy office must be right.

Not without severe trial did Saul come to this conclusion. But in the end his education and prejudices, his respect for his former teachers, and his pride of popularity braced him to rebel against the voice of conscience and the grace of God. And having fully decided that the priests and scribes were right, Saul became very bitter in his opposition to the doctrines taught by the disciples of Jesus.

His activity in causing holy men and women to be dragged before tribunals, where some were condemned to imprisonment and some even to death, solely because of their faith in Jesus, brought sadness and gloom to the newly organized church, and caused many to seek safety in flight.

Those who were driven from Jerusalem by this persecution “went everywhere preaching the word.” Acts 8:4. Among the cities to which they went was Damascus, where the new faith gained many converts.

The priests and rulers had hoped that by vigilant effort and stern persecution the heresy might be suppressed. Now they felt that they must carry forward in other places the decided measures taken in Jerusalem against the new teaching. [114] For the special work that they desired to have done at Damascus, Saul offered his services. “Breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,” he “went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

Thus “with authority and commission from the chief priests” (Acts 26:12), Saul of Tarsus, in the strength and vigor of manhood, and fired with mistaken zeal, set out on that memorable journey, the strange occurrences of which were to change the whole current of his life.

On the last day of the journey, “at midday,” as the weary travelers neared Damascus, they came within full view of broad stretches of fertile lands, beautiful gardens, and fruitful orchards, watered by cool streams from the surrounding mountains. After the long journey over desolate wastes such scenes were refreshing indeed. While Saul, with his companions, gazed with admiration on the fruitful plain and the fair city below, “suddenly,” as he afterward declared, there shone “round about me and them which journeyed with me” “a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13), too glorious for mortal eyes to bear. Blinded and bewildered, Saul fell prostrate to the ground.

While the light continued to shine round about them, Saul heard, “a voice speaking . . . in the Hebrew tongue” (Acts 26:14), “saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” [115]

Filled with fear, and almost blinded by the intensity of the light, the companions of Saul heard a voice, but saw no man. But Saul understood the words that were spoken, and to him was clearly revealed the One who spoke—even the Son of God. In the glorious Being who stood before him he saw the Crucified One.

Upon the soul of the stricken Jew the image of the Saviour’s countenance was imprinted forever. The words spoken struck home to his heart with appalling force. Into the darkened chambers of his mind there poured a flood of light, revealing the ignorance and error of his former life and his present need of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

Saul now saw that in persecuting the followers of Jesus he had in reality been doing the work of Satan. He saw that his convictions of right and of his own duty had been based largely on his implicit confidence in the priests and rulers. He had believed them when they told him that the story of the resurrection was an artful fabrication of the disciples. Now that Jesus Himself stood revealed, Saul was convinced of the truthfulness of the claims made by the disciples.

In that hour of heavenly illumination Saul’s mind acted with remarkable rapidity. The prophetic records of Holy Writ were opened to his understanding. He saw that the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, had been foretold by the prophets and proved Him to be the promised Messiah. Stephen’s sermon at the time of his martyrdom was brought forcibly to Saul’s mind, and he realized that the martyr had indeed beheld “the glory of God” when he said, “Behold, I see the heavens [116] opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55, 56. The priests had pronounced these words blasphemy, but Saul now knew them to be truth.

What a revelation was all this to the persecutor! Now Saul knew for a certainty that the promised Messiah had come to this earth as Jesus of Nazareth and that He had been rejected and crucified by those whom He came to save. He knew also that the Saviour had risen in triumph from the tomb and had ascended into the heavens. In that moment of divine revelation Saul remembered with terror that Stephen, who had borne witness of a crucified and risen Saviour, had been sacrificed by his consent, and that later, through his instrumentality, many other worthy followers of Jesus had met their death by cruel persecution.

The Saviour had spoken to Saul through Stephen, whose clear reasoning could not be controverted. The learned Jew had seen the face of the martyr reflecting the light of Christ’s glory—appearing as if “it had been the face of an angel.” Acts 6:15. He had witnessed Stephen’s forbearance toward his enemies and his forgiveness of them. He had also witnessed the fortitude and cheerful resignation of many whom he had caused to be tormented and afflicted. He had seen some yield up even their lives with rejoicing for the sake of their faith.

All these things had appealed loudly to Saul and at times had thrust upon his mind an almost overwhelming conviction that Jesus was the promised Messiah. At such times he had struggled for entire nights against this conviction, and always he had ended the matter by avowing his belief [117] that Jesus was not the Messiah and that His followers were deluded fanatics.

Now Christ had spoken to Saul with His own voice, saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” And the question, “Who art Thou, Lord?” was answered by the same voice, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” Christ here identifies Himself with His people. In persecuting the followers of Jesus, Saul had struck directly against the Lord of heaven. In falsely accusing and testifying against them, he had falsely accused and testified against the Saviour of the world.

No doubt entered the mind of Saul that the One who spoke to him was Jesus of Nazareth, the long-looked-for Messiah, the Consolation and Redeemer of Israel. “Trembling and astonished,” he inquired, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

When the glory was withdrawn, and Saul arose from the ground, he found himself totally deprived of sight. The brightness of Christ’s glory had been too intense for his mortal eyes; and when it was removed, the blackness of night settled upon his vision. He believed that this blindness was a punishment from God for his cruel persecution of the followers of Jesus. In terrible darkness he groped about, and his companions, in fear and amazement, “led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.”

On the morning of that eventful day, Saul had neared Damascus with feelings of self-satisfaction because of the confidence that had been placed in him by the chief priest. To [118] him had been entrusted grave responsibilities. He was commissioned to further the interests of the Jewish religion by checking, if possible, the spread of the new faith in Damascus. He had determined that his mission should be crowned with success and had looked forward with eager anticipation to the experiences that he expected were before him.

But how unlike his anticipations was his entrance into the city! Stricken with blindness, helpless, tortured by remorse, knowing not what further judgment might be in store for him, he sought out the home of the disciple Judas, where, in solitude, he had ample opportunity for reflection and prayer.

For three days Saul was “without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” These days of soul agony were to him as years. Again and again he recalled, with anguish of spirit, the part he had taken in the martyrdom of Stephen. With horror he thought of his guilt in allowing himself to be controlled by the malice and prejudice of the priests and rulers, even when the face of Stephen had been lighted up with the radiance of heaven. In sadness and brokenness of spirit he recounted the many times he had closed his eyes and ears against the most striking evidences and had relentlessly urged on the persecution of the believers in Jesus of Nazareth.

These days of close self-examination and of heart humiliation were spent in lonely seclusion. The believers, having been given warning of the purpose of Saul in coming to Damascus, feared that he might be acting a part, in order the more readily to deceive them; and they held themselves [119] aloof, refusing him their sympathy.

He had no desire to appeal to the unconverted Jews, with whom he had planned to unite in persecuting the believers; for he knew that they would not even listen to his story. Thus he seemed to be shut away from all human sympathy. His only hope of help was in a merciful God, and to Him he appealed in brokenness of heart.

During the long hours when Saul was shut in with God alone, he recalled many of the passages of Scripture referring to the first advent of Christ. Carefully he traced down the prophecies, with a memory sharpened by the conviction that had taken possession of his mind. As he reflected on the meaning of these prophecies he was astonished at his former blindness of understanding and at the blindness of the Jews in general, which had led to the rejection of Jesus as the promised Messiah.

To his enlightened vision all now seemed plain. He knew that his former prejudice and unbelief had clouded his spiritual perception and had prevented him from discerning in Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah of prophecy.

As Saul yielded himself fully to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, he saw the mistakes of his life and recognized the far-reaching claims of the law of God. He who had been a proud Pharisee, confident that he was justified by his good works, now bowed before God with the humility and simplicity of a little child, confessing his own unworthiness and pleading the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Saul longed to come into full harmony and communion with the Father and the Son; and in the intensity of his [120] desire for pardon and acceptance he offered up fervent supplications to the throne of grace.

The prayers of the penitent Pharisee were not in vain. The inmost thoughts and emotions of his heart were transformed by divine grace; and his nobler faculties were brought into harmony with the eternal purposes of God. Christ and His righteousness became to Saul more than the whole world.

The conversion of Saul is a striking evidence of the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin. He had verily believed that Jesus of Nazareth had disregarded the law of God and had taught His disciples that it was of no effect. But after his conversion, Saul recognized Jesus as the one who had come into the world for the express purpose of vindicating His Father’s law. He was convinced that Jesus was the originator of the entire Jewish system of sacrifices. He saw that at the crucifixion type had met antitype, that Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Redeemer of Israel.

In the record of the conversion of Saul important principles are given us, which we should ever bear in mind. Saul was brought directly into the presence of Christ. He was one whom Christ intended for a most important work, one who was to be a “chosen vessel” unto Him; yet the Lord did not at once tell him of the work that had been assigned him. He arrested him in his course and convicted him of sin; but when Saul asked, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” the Saviour placed the inquiring Jew in connection with His church, there to obtain a knowledge of God’s will concerning him. [121]

The marvelous light that illumined the darkness of Saul was the work of the Lord; but there was also a work that was to be done for him by the disciples. Christ had performed the work of revelation and conviction; and now the penitent was in a condition to learn from those whom God had ordained to teach His truth.

While Saul in solitude at the house of Judas continued in prayer and supplication, the Lord appeared in vision to “a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias,” telling him that Saul of Tarsus was praying and in need of help. “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight,” the heavenly messenger said, “and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.”

Ananias could scarcely credit the words of the angel; for the reports of Saul’s bitter persecution of the saints at Jerusalem had spread far and wide. He presumed to expostulate: “Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to Thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on Thy name.” But the command was imperative: “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.”

Obedient to the direction of the angel, Ananias sought out the man who had but recently breathed out threatenings against all who believed on the name of Jesus; and putting his hands on the head of the penitent sufferer, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee [122] in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

“And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

Thus Jesus gave sanction to the authority of His organized church and placed Saul in connection with His appointed agencies on earth. Christ had now a church as His representative on earth, and to it belonged the work of directing the repentant sinner in the way of life.


Find out more today how to purchase ahardcover orpaperback copy of The Acts of the Apostles.

Many have an idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and experience, independent of His recognized followers on earth. Jesus is the friend of sinners, and His heart is touched with their woe. He has all power, both in heaven and on earth; but He respects the means that He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men; He directs sinners to the church, which He has made a channel of light to the world.

When, in the midst of his blind error and prejudice, Saul was given a revelation of the Christ whom he was persecuting, he was placed in direct communication with the church, which is the light of the world. In this case Ananias represents Christ, and also represents Christ’s ministers upon the earth, who are appointed to act in His stead.

In Christ’s stead Ananias touches the eyes of Saul, that they may receive sight. In Christ’s stead he places his hands upon him, and, as he prays in Christ’s name, Saul receives the Holy Ghost. All is done in the name and by the authority of Christ. Christ is the fountain; the church is the channel of communication.”(AA, p. 112-122)


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