Archive for the ‘Victor T. Houteff’ Category

Nations see Edom perish, Desert bloom, and a highway to Zion

October 19, 2019

TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, APRIL 5, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
WACO, TEXAS

TEXT FOR PRAYER “Do Ye Even So To Them”

Our reading this afternoon is found on pages 192 and 193 of “The Mount of Blessing”–

“On the assurance of the love of God toward us, Jesus enjoins love to one another, in one comprehensive principle covering all the relations of human fellowship.

“The Jews had been concerned about what they should receive; the burden of their anxiety was to secure what they thought their due of power and respect and service. But Christ teaches that our anxiety should not be, How much are we to receive? but, How much can we give? The standard of our obligation to others is found in what we ourselves would regard as their obligation to us.

“Every one who has been made a steward of the manifold grace of God, is called upon to impart to souls in ignorance and darkness, even as, were he in their place, he would desire them to impart to him….

“So also with the gifts and blessings of this life: whatever you may possess above your fellows, places you in debt, to that degree, to all who are less favored.”

What shall we pray for this afternoon? — That we may imbibe the great principle of the Golden Rule, and realize that our concern should not be as to how much we are to receive, but as to how much we can give. Let us pray for understanding that the standard of our obligation to others is found in what we personally would regard as their obligation to us; and also that whatever we possess above our fellowmen places us to that degree in debt to those less favored.

NATIONS SEE EDOM PERISH, DESERT BLOSSOM, AND A HIGHWAY TO ZION

Our subject for this afternoon is found in Isaiah 34 and 35. Last week, you recall, we studied the thirty-third chapter, the Lord’s burden concerning the church as she approaches the time of “harvest,” — the time the “wheat” is put into the barn, and the “tares” burned (Matt. 13:30); the time the “good fish” are put into “vessels” and the “bad fish” cast out (Matt. 13:47-49) as are those who have not the “wedding garment” on (Matt. 22:1-13). Continuing now into the thirty-fourth chapter, we there see that God invites the nations of the world to draw near and to hear His mighty work of refining:

Isa. 34:1-3 — “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.”

Why does God invite the nations of all the earth to draw near and to hear? — That they might consider His indignation against the wicked in His church and know what to expect when His Judgment spreads out among all nations; that they might know what to expect when His refining work begins among them; that they might therefore beforehand count the cost. His judgment, He declares, is already pronounced upon the armies of the world — “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”–1 Pet. 4:17.

Isa. 34:4 — “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.”

While verse 3 points out that the solemn events of this chapter take place in a day of gigantic world-wide armament program, verse 4, being parallel with Revelation 6:14, it reveals that they take place in the period of the sixth seal, in the days of the sealing of the 144,000 and the gathering of the innumerable multitude out of all nations, the seal that we are now living in. The sixth seal may overlap the seventh.

Isa. 34:5-11 — “For My sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of My curse, to judgment. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and He shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.”

The immediate curse, we see, rests upon Idumea. Antitypically speaking, it is the land of the antitypical Esauites — those who by rights should have kept the office which the antitypical Jacobites take away from them. They so underestimate its value that they, like Esau of old, sell their rights for a dish of red pottage as it were. (For further study on the subject, see “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, pp. 52-111.)

Isa. 34:12 — “They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing.”

Evidently after the destruction falls upon Idumea, none of her so-called nobles shall be found there to participate in the exodus (Isa. 11:11) to the antitypical Kingdom (the church purified), and her princes shall be as nothing. Then, it must be that those who escape and enter into the Kingdom are mostly from among the common people, those from the streets and the lanes (Luke 14:16-21).

“…In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self- sufficient, independent of God, and he cannot use them.” — “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, pg. 80. “…Only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it [the Third Angel’s Message] when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry.” — “Review and Herald,” Nov. 18, 1908.

Isa. 34:13-15 — “And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.”

God does not forsake the earth. He does not forgo His power nor His interest in Truth and righteousness. He does not let the world go into oblivion. What He does do, though, is make examples of some in order to save many others, for when the judgments of God are upon the earth, the inhabitants will learn righteousness. (Isa. 26:9.)

Is it armament then that the nations of today need for peace and security? Is atomic war to be their fear? — What they need to fear is “the sword of the Lord,” for His “sword shall be bathed in heaven,” “it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of [His] curse.” They need not fear anything if they fear the Lord. Let them make Him their fear, their dread and protection (Isa. 8:13). So He commands:

Isa. 34:16 — “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth It hath commanded, and His Spirit It hath gathered them.”

God here counsels us to search the Bible and to implicitly believe that not one of Its prophecies shall fail, — no, not one shall fail to follow another in its turn. And why should we have this confidence? — Because God Himself has commanded, and because His Spirit, not the wisdom or efforts of men has gathered into a single volume, the writings of the prophets of old, “the book of the Lord” — the non-sectarian Bible as we know It today.

Isa. 34:17 — “And He hath cast the lot for them, and His hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.”

Regardless whether we take this verse to say that the wild beasts “shall possess it forever,” or whether we take it to say that those who seek “out of the book of the Lord” “shall possess it forever,” our greatest concern must be to personally acquaint ourselves with the Lord and His Truth if we would gain His favor and find a shelter in this time of trouble.

“Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a Man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isa. 32:1, 2.

Now we shall go on into the thirty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, which is but a continuation of the thirty-fourth.

Isa. 35:1 — “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”

What a difference when God manifests His power and purifies His church! Then the lands of the Gentiles (the wilderness) and the land of the heathen (the solitary place) shall both be glad to see God’s holy people. Finally as God’s Truth for this time penetrates throughout the lands where there are no Christians at all, the desert places shall blossom as the rose, so to speak, and thus yield an abundant harvest of souls.

Isa. 35:2-4 — “It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; He will come and save you.”

This great commission and opportunity to proclaim God’s soon coming vengeance are ours. We must not fail to take advantage of these privileges. With the mighty message for this time we must strengthen the weak; we must make firm the knees that are giving out. Those who are unable to stand up and to hold their own must be strengthened. We must reassure the fearful that God is to come with vengeance against the unbelieving and with recompence for the faithful.

Isa. 35:5, 6 — “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams [of truth] in the desert.”

When these things take place, then it will be just as natural for the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to leap, and the dumb to sing, yes, as natural as blossoms are followed with fruit. God’s Truth for this time is to spread everywhere and reap a great harvest of souls.

“I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God’s word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world.” — “Testimonies”, Vol. 9, pg. 28. If but one soul saved from every city and village there would be several times 144,000 living souls.

Isa. 35:7 — “And the parched ground [the places which are now entirely devoid of Truth] shall become a pool, and the thirsty land [the land that thirsts for God’s Truth] springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.”

There shall be fruitage, you see, even where the dragons lie.

Isa. 35:8 — “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

None shall be left in the “wilderness,” for there shall be a highway for all the followers of God’s Truth. Matters not what the faithful be, illiterate or otherwise, they shall not err therein. Indeed, all the “wheat” shall be gathered and put into the “barn,” the Kingdom. (See Tract No. 3, “The Judgment and the Harvest.”)

Isa. 35:9 — “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there.”

Once the hypocrites are taken out, they shall not be allowed to return and to endanger the peace of God’s people. Only the redeemed shall walk on the Highway of Holiness. And where does the Highway lead? — The next verse gives the answer:

Isa. 35:10 — “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Yes, the Highway leads to Zion. With songs and everlasting joy shall the redeemed enter therein, never more to sorrow or to sigh. “For He cometh, to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His Truth.” Ps. 96:13.

Brother, Sister, the sacrifices we may be called to make are as nothing in comparison to the privilege of heading for Zion via the Highway of Holiness. Ponder upon this, then act. Let nothing deter you from complying with God’s Truth for this time — the day in which the nations see Edom perish and the desert blossom. Act now while the highway to Zion is in preparation.

“We all went under the tree and sat down to look at the glory of the place, when Brethren Fitch and Stockman, who had preached the gospel of the kingdom, and whom God had laid in the grave to save them, came up to us and asked us what we had passed through while they were sleeping. We tried to call up our greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that surrounded us that we could not speak them out, and we all cried out, ‘Alleluia, heaven is cheap enough!’ and we touched our glorious harps and made heaven’s arches ring.” — “Early Writings,” p. 17. (Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 35, page 18 – page 26)

 

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Faith in the Prophets

October 5, 2019

A THOUGHT FOR PRAYER   I shall read from The Mount of Blessing, page 168, beginning where we left off last Sabbath.

   “The one thing essential for us in order that we may receive and impart the forgiving love of God is to know and believe the love that He has to us.  Satan is working by every deception he can command, in order that we may not discern that love.  He will lead us to think that our mistakes and transgressions have been so grievous that the Lord will not have respect unto our prayers, and will not bless and save us. 

In ourselves we can see nothing but weakness, nothing to recommend us to God, and Satan tells us that it is of no use; we can not remedy our defects of character.  When we try to come to God, the enemy will whisper It is of no use for you to pray; did not you do that evil thing?  Have you not sinned against God, and violated your own conscience?  But we may tell the enemy that ‘the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’  When we feel that we have sinned and can not pray, it is then the time to pray.  Ashamed we may be, and deeply humbled; but we must pray and believe….”

   Here is seen that it is Satan’s studied purpose to discourage us, to make us think that God does not love us, and that He cannot save us from our sins.  We are therefore to resist the whisperings of the Enemy.  When we see ourselves as sinners, then is the very time for us to come to God, and to accept His love and to fully believe in Him.

   We should now pray for an absolute realization that God is in business to save sinners, of whom we are chief.  That it matters not how deep in sin we may be, if we but depart from evil and choose to do good He will gladly grant us forgiveness.

 

THE JEWS AND THE CHRISTIANS’FAITH IN THE PROPHETSTEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTSSABBATH, NOVEMBER 16, 1946MT. CARMEL CHAPELWACO, TEXAS   Let us turn to the writings of the gospel prophet whom the Jews so maliciously sawed asunder.

Isa. 1:18, 19 — “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.”

   With this Divine recommendation for God’s professed people, the gospel prophet was instructed to introduce his book. And now that we are living in the present-day application of his prophecies, we dare not neglect to comply with Inspiration’s sound and fair recommendation.  Our first step shall be to honestly and unbiasedly consider the successes and the failures of those who have gone before us.

   Let us beforehand refresh our minds with the Jews’ attitude toward the prophets: Rather than going with the purpose of learning and reasoning, the Jews went to the prophets with prejudiced minds, with malice, with hatred in their hearts, and with instruments of cruelty.  (We must not.)  This evil spirit was prevalent among the Jews throughout their history.  It was manifested even against Moses although for forty years he led the Hebrew host with Divine signs and wonders all the way from the brickyards of Egypt to the borders of the promised land.

   The remnant finally crossed the Jordan only because they whole-heartedly believed that Moses was God’s mouth piece, and because they ceased murmuring, took and obeyed orders.  The Hebrews ever after deeply cherished his writings, and this reverent regard for the Pentateuch continued among the Jews even to the days of Christ.  As a man of God and as the nation’s emancipator and founder of its sacred ceremonies, Moses was highly esteemed by all.

   Ironically, though the prophets that followed after Moses were rejected by the Jewish nation as a whole.  Those who survived in the Babylonian captivity did accept the prophets Haggai and Zechariah only because they were the founders of the movement then on foot as was Moses in his day.

   The Jews, according to their own way of reasoning, were honest, though blind, in concluding that they had no need of prophets, because as they saw it, Moses’ writings were complete, there was nothing lacking in them: They contained both the civil and religious laws.  They, therefore, saw no need for greater light and no need of another prophet.  Through their unbelief in the prophets, they failed to see that their kingdom was only a type of a greater one to come, they failed to see that God’s Truth is progressive and ever unfolding, that each generation has to have added Truth especially adapted to meet their particular needs.  Their blindness to this was their basic sin that led them on to ruin.

   While the Jews boasted of their faith in Moses’ writings, Jesus reprehended them by saying: “…had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me.” John 5:46.  He had reference to–

Deut. 18:15 –“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.”

   Of the coming Messiah Zechariah also wrote:

Zech. 9:9 — “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

   Though they professed to believe in both Moses and Zechariah yet they gave no heed to any of these passages, and ever since a curse has rested upon them.

   In rejecting the prophets the Jews thought they were surely keeping out of deception, and thought that they were thus actually loyal to Moses’ writings and consequently to God.  This they believed as much in Jesus’ day as Israel believed in Elijah’s day.

   Let us now note that they fell into ruin only because they refused to give heed to the prophets who were sent to reform their ways, to correct their erroneous interpretations of Moses’s writings and to lighten the path of their feet the rest of the way — clear to Paradise.  Having deprived themselves of the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy by doing away with the prophets, they completely cut off Heaven’s communication line and were thus left in gross darkness and led into error, fanaticism, and crime.  They became self-sufficient, proud, boastful, and high minded.

They felt rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing more.  Thus it was that their perversions of the Scriptures by their uninspired interpretations of them caused them to lose the way, and finally to reject and even to crucify their own long-expected Redeemer.

   Of Moses’s writings the Jews made a mighty weapon against Christ and the prophets of that day.  They were, however, at one time or another forced to acknowledge that their dead fathers were guilty of the blood of the prophets.  The same is true today.  Many admit that sectarianism is thriving on uninspired interpretations of the Scriptures, yet they expect no inspired interpreters for this day.  They thus reject the antitypical prophet Elijah even before his appearance though the Scriptures definitely predict his coming before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, before the Judgment of the Living commences.

   If we accept Inspiration’s counsel and come and reason together while we are examining our own standing with the prophets, then an excellent place to begin is

Gen. 49:10 — “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

   Here Moses wrote that the gathering of the people shall be unto Judah, and that when Shiloh comes, Judah shall have a king and a lawgiver of her own.  Do we as Seventh-day Adventists believe in this particular part of Moses’ writings?  If not, then we have no better standing with Moses than did the Jews.

To examine our standing with the rest of the prophets, we need not depart from the subject which Moses has introduced in the scripture just quoted.  Mark that between the writings of Moses and of Isaiah, the Bible contains the records of history, the judges and the kings.  Isaiah, then, is the next prophet after Moses that we shall go to.

Isa. 2:1, 2 — “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”

   Not to Takoma Park, not to Mt. Carmel Center, not to some other place, but to house of Judah and Jerusalem shall the final converts from all nations flow.  Isaiah you plainly see absolutely confirms that the gathering of the people shall be unto Judah.  Do you?

   Jeremiah being the next prophet to Isaiah, we shall read

Jer. 31:6 — “For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God.”

   “Mount Ephraim,” you know, is the location of the ancient ten-tribe kingdom, Israel.  According to this scripture, the kingdom of Israel, which is still lost among the nations, shall some day emerge from the four corners of the earth and gladly join the kingdom of Judah.  So shall the gathering of the people be.

Jer. 31:7, 8 — “For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel.  Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.”

   Jeremiah discloses that the gathering unto Judah shall be from the four corners of the earth.  Indeed, Jeremiah, Moses and Isaiah, all three, speak alike on the subject.  The question is, Do you believe what they say?  If not, are you then better than were the Jews?

   Next we are to test our standing with the prophet Ezekiel.

Ezek. 36:17-27 — “Son  of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their  own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings:  their way was before Me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.  Wherefore I poured My fury upon them for the blood that they had shed  upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: and I scattered them among the  heathen, and they were dispersed  through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.   And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned My holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of  His land.   But I had pity for Mine holy name, which  the house  of Israel  had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.

   “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.  And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.  For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.”

   What more could Inspiration say to make the subject clearer?  God plainly and solemnly promised to recreate and to rebuild the ancient kingdom, to set it up in its own land.  This He is to do after Judah and Israel are scattered among the Gentile nations, and assimilated by them — after they have lost their racial identity — then as Christians, not as Jews, He is to gather them from the four corners of the earth and to bring them to their own land.  (And moreover, the Scriptures teach that they are as the sand of the sea for multitude.)  This He is to do, you note, not because they are worthy, not because they had been good before or during their dispersion among the Gentiles, but because He is anxious to sanctify His Own name among the heathen.

   Still further, after He gathers them from all countries and brings them into their own land, then it is that He promises to cleanse them eternally from their filthiness and from their idolatry — to remove all the defects that sin has wrought upon them.  Then it is that He gives them a new heart, puts His Spirit upon them and enables them to unavoidably keep His judgments.  Mark carefully that regardless of our ideas and opinions all these things take place after God’s people return to their father’s land.

   The 144,000 descendants of Jacob, whose fathers were assimilated by the Gentile nations and who thus down through the centuries lost their racial identity, are the first fruits, the first to be gathered unto Judah.  They are those who stand on “Mount Zion with the Lamb.” Rev. 14:1.  The faithful descendants of the Jews who composed the early Christian church, and who also lost their national identity by naming themselves Christians (Acts 11:26), are also to be gathered from everywhere and brought unto Judah.

   Finally, if these prophecies are not to be fulfilled, as the angel of the Laodicean church supposes, and if God’s people are not to return to their homeland, then how will they ever be cleansed from their filthiness since the cleansing is to be done there only?  How will they ever have their hearts changed?  And what is to make them keep His statutes and judgments unless, as promised, beforehand receive His Spirit in the Promised Land?  Indeed, if these prophecies fail, then how will God’s people ever be able to stand before a pure and holy God? 

And how will they ever obtain immortality and be on schedule for translation if they do not comply with the prophecies, with His expressed will and plan for His people?  And if they ignore these prophecies, the fulfillment of which is during the Judgment for the Living, the harvest, the gathering time, what chance do they then stand to survive that great and dreadful day of the Lord?

To be more specific, if the denomination fails to recognize and accept these promises, then where are the laity to be led from here on?  Certainly not to the Kingdom if their leaders do not believe in It.  Do you now believe in Moses, in Isaiah, and Ezekiel?  Or do you rather still believe in fables devised by men?

   Next to Ezekiel is the prophet Daniel.  Incidentally, let us remind ourselves that to begin with, Daniel did not prophesy to the Jews, but to the Chaldeans and to the Medes and Persians.  The Jews accepted him as God’s servant only as they saw his prophecies fulfilled.  The great question before us, however, is, Do we fully believe in the prophet Daniel’s writings?  Let us see.

Dan. 2:44, 45 — “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”

   On Daniel’s own word, the stone is symbolical, not of something else, but of the Kingdom, the which in the parable of the wheat and tares Jesus calls “barn,” the place into which He is to put the wheat (saints) after it is separated from the tares (Matt. 13:30).  Now mark carefully that according to Daniel’s interpretation the stone depicts the Kingdom, the which God shall set up not after the days of these kings, but in their days, and that the stone Kingdom Itself, not something else, shall break the great image.  If our interpretation of the stone contradicts Daniel’s interpretation of it, then we do not only reject Daniel’s inspiration, but even misconstrue the Word of God!  We better not.  We now come to the prophet Hosea.

Hosea 1:11; 3:5 — “Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel…. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.”

   Can one believe Hosea on the subject of the Kingdom if he does not believe in the former prophets who taught exactly as he? — Of course not.

   We are now at Joel’s prophecies.

Joel 3:1, 2 — “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land.”

   When God frees the antitypical children of Judah and of Jerusalem, the church of today, and takes them back to their own land, then it is, you note, that He gathers all nations into the valley of Jehoshaphat.  There He is to judge them — to separate the good from the bad, (Matt. 13:47, 48), the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32).  And this work you must know is the work of the Judgment for all the living. 

Are we to reject Joel along with the prophets before him, and consequently the message of the Judgment for the Living after having for over a century preached the Judgment for the Dead?  Ponder over what the Scriptures say and thus make up your mind to forsake all other voices.  And what about your belief in the prophet Amos?  Let us read

Amos 9:9-15 — “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.  All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.  In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by My name, saith the Lord that doeth this. 

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.  And I will bring again the captivity of My people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.  And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.”

   Since Amos with even greater emphasis bears the same testimony as all the prophets before him, and since the language on the subject is crystal clear as is the language of all the prophets before him, so much so that it needs no comments, what shall we do with him?  We are now to read Obad. 1:15-18 —

“For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.  For as ye have drunk upon My holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.  But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.  And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it.”

   In harmony with all the prophets before him, and in perfect clarity, Obadiah, too, relates that in the day the Lord destroys the heathen, in the day of harvest, or judgment, otherwise called the cleansing of the Sanctuary (Dan. 8:14) and the purification of the church (Mal. 3:1-3), and also the great and dreadful day of the Lord, there shall be deliverance upon Mount Zion, and the house of Jacob shall possess the wealth of the heathen.  Do you now believe in the testimony of Jesus through His prophets?  If not, then how can you say that you speak according to the “law and to the testimony” (Isa. 8:20)?  Ever remember that the law and the testimony always go hand in hand.

   The prophet Jonah is next in line, but we shall consider his prophecies when we come to the prophet Nahum.

   We shall now see what is to be done with the prophet Micah.

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

   As emphatically as all the prophets before him, Micah declares that after the destruction of the Lord’s ancient “mountain,” (the kingdom), comes the reestablishment of it in the last days, and that peoples and nations shall flow unto it because the Law and the Word of the Lord shall go forth from Zion and from Jerusalem.  Shall you now close your ears and eyes against this promise?  or do you as servants of God intend to get there with the first fruits?  I hope it is the latter.  We now come to the prophecy of Nahum:

Nah. 1:12, 13, 15 — “…Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.  For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder…. Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!  O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.”

   Nahum’s burden is concerning the restoration, and the fall of Assyria, the powers which rule them in the day He restores the latter-day Kingdom of Judah; in the day He breaks the Assyrian yoke, in the day He bursts asunder the bands that bind His people.  In that day He sends His messenger to bear good tidings to His people, tidings of peace while the world is upset with wars. Through His messenger He is urging His people to perform their vows, for He is to take away the wicked from among them.  Assyria is to vacate and give room to Judah.  “For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” Isa. 30:31.  Now He pleads:

   “Turn ye unto Him from Whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.  For in that day [in the day Assyria falls] every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin. Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.  And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, Whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem.” Isa. 31:6-9.

   The purification (Judgment), here you see, is conducted from Zion and Jerusalem.  And through Malachi asks the Spirit, “But who may abide the day of his coming?  and who shall stand when he appeareth?  for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi [the ministry], and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Mal. 3:2, 3.  Do you accept Nahum?  And since Jonah’s prophecy is a counterpart of Nahum’s, then if you reject Nahum, you automatically reject Jonah, too.

   The prophet Habakkuk was told to “write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run who readeth it.”

Hab. 2:3 — “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

   Then Habakkuk prayed, saying,

Hab. 3:12, 13 — “Thou didst march through the land in indignation, Thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.  Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, even for salvation with Thine anointed; Thou woundest the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck.  Selah.”

   Can we in faith pray for the same thing Habakkuk prayed? — That the Lord go forth for the salvation of His people, that the vision be fulfilled without delay, and that we run to proclaim the good tidings?  If not, then truly we spurn Habakkuk also.

   Let us see what Zephaniah has to say concerning the latter day house of Judah — the mountain of the Lord.

Zeph. 2:5-7 — “Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites!  the word of the Lord is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.  And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.  And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.”

Since Zephaniah’s prophecy is also definite that the Lord is to re-establish the kingdom of Judah, and since it, too, needs no comment, we shall quickly pass to Zechariah’s prophecy.

Zech. 1:20, 21 — “And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do?  And He spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”

   Once God raised “horns,” nations, to scatter His people throughout the Gentile nations, but those “horns” in the restoration of “all things,” are seen to become “carpenters,” so that while they as horns at long last cast the Gentiles out from the promised land, they are as carpenters to build for Judah.  Thus Zechariah, as do all the prophets before him, prophesies of the restoration of the kingdom of Judah.  Now we shall read from Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets.

Mal. 3:1-3 — “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming?  and who shall stand when he appeareth?  for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”

If, in the face of the plain and unquestionable teachings of all the prophets, we as Seventh-day Adventists fail to give heed to the truth of the Purification of the church (the Kingdom here dealt with), the message of the Judgment for the Living and of the restoration of the kingdom of Judah — the sanctuary for the purified ones, — then certainly others will have to take our places in proclaiming it.  Then along with the Jews we will have to bear the guilt of rejecting all the prophets since the world began.  Why? — Because unless we actually believe all that they have written, our merely pretending to believe in them means as much to Heaven as the faith of the Jews in the writings of Moses meant to the Lord.  What!  Preaching the gospel of the Kingdom but denying the Kingdom Itself!

   In closing I shall read from Early Writings, in the chapter entitled “The Loud Cry.”

   “This message [that is the message that makes the Loud Cry] seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844.” — Early Writings, pg. 277.  And on page 118 we read: — “I then saw the third angel.  Said my accompanying angel, ‘Fearful is his work.  Awful is his mission.  He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner.  These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention.'”

   The author of these statements makes clear that the Loud Cry is not made by a lot of noise, but by an additional message, and that the third angel’s message in the end of the world, not the end itself, selects the wheat from the tares.  Who among you would be foolish enough to close his eyes and ears to the testimony of the prophets, and at last in consternation cry out, “The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jer. 8:20.

   Now, if we as a church do not even so much as expect an additional message, besides rejecting the former prophets, then how much better is our attitude toward God and His prophets of today as well as of yesterday?

   The Jews wanted a kingdom of their own, a kingdom of this world (saint and sinner in it).  Yes, they wanted a kingdom on earth, but none in Heaven.  What is more, they wanted it two thousand years ahead of schedule.  Now, ironically, in the time of the restoration of the Kingdom, the Denomination takes an opposite attitude: It wants a kingdom in Heaven, but none on earth.  Indeed, it wants to board the “chariot” from Takoma Park.  And besides while the Lord says He is to save nations, the Denomination says “He is to save only 144,000 living sons of Jacob,” and consequently none of the sons of other nations!

   The Jews wanted nothing but what they wanted, and nothing is just what they got.  So it will be with the Denomination if this clear cut and extra Biblical Truth, and the example of the Jews does not help her see that she has drifted “to sea without chart or compass.” — Christ Our Righteousness, pg. 37 (1941 edition).  If she continues to want nothing but what she wants, it is certain that nothing is what she can expect.

   Pray tell, what more should one expect to get from partial belief in the prophets, from private human interpretation of the Scriptures, from a system of explaining away the Scriptures, of making mysteries of simple passages by the use of unknown manuscripts and sectarian translations?  Let us hold to “the book of the Lord” which His mouth hath commanded, and which manuscripts His “Spirit…hath gathered….” Isa. 34:16.

   Say anything you wish against the Jews, but my study tells me that we as Seventh-day Adventists are outdoing them in mischief.

   Moreover, it is now seen that our study of this afternoon is a summary of the message to the Laodiceans, who think that they are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing more, though they have need of everything.  They had better awake to their poverty.

   To be sure, the present state of affairs does appear gloomy. Yet seeing that this dark and cloudy day holds forth a future of unsurpassing glory, let us with the prophet Habakkuk say: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Hab. 3:17, 18.  Thus, just as the apostles defeated the enemy of the church in their day, likewise shall we defeat him in our day.

(Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 15, p.2-21)                        

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)

 


 

 


Life Is But What We Make It

June 1, 2019

TEXT FOR PRAYERReveal God; Do Not Conceal Him   I shall read from “Christ’s Object Lessons,” page 18, beginning with the first paragraph–

   “In His teaching from nature, Christ was speaking of the things which His own hands had made, and which had qualities and powers that He Himself had imparted.  In their original perfection, all created things were an expression of the thought of God…. The earth is now marred and defiled by sin…. God’s object lessons are not obliterated; rightly understood, nature speaks of her Creator. 

In the days of Christ these lessons had been lost sight of…. The sinfulness of humanity had cast a pall over the fair face of creation; and instead of manifesting God, His works became a barrier that concealed Him…. So in Israel, man’s teachings had been put in the place of God’s.  Not only the things of nature, but the sacrificial service and the Scriptures themselves, — all given to reveal God, — were so perverted that they became the means of concealing Him.”

   I wonder if the world is not about the same today as it was in Christ’s day.  The Jews were given a great opportunity to reveal God to humanity, but instead they concealed Him.  Christians that are quarreling and bickering, bringing doctrines of man into the doctrines of God, are not revealing God to the heathen but are concealing Him, turning them against Him.  Such are not making converts to Christ but are driving souls away from Him.  We must pray that we do better; that we do not conceal Christ but reveal Him in all our works and through our lives.

 

LIFE IS BUT WHAT WE MAKE ITTEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTSSABBATH, JULY 19, 1947MT. CARMEL CHAPELWACO, TEXAS   To find out that life is really what we make it, I shall bring to attention seven examples, beginning in Noah’s day and ending in our day:

   Example No. 1: Noah was commanded to build an ark, and to tell the world that a flood was to cover the earth, that only those who would get into the ark would escape alive.  One hundred twenty years later the animals were strangely seen to march two and two into the ark!  Noah and his family also went in, while the rest of the world laughed and ridiculed.  But when the rain began to pour, the situation ceased to be “funny.” Those outside the ark cried, mourned, pled.  But all perished as fools only because they had failed to give heed to present Truth, had failed to feed on “meat in due season.”  What folly!  What disaster!

   One would think that after the deluge, the world would have had great respect for religion and for the prophets of God.  But that was not the case.  The antediluvians did not believe Noah’s prediction that there was to be a flood, so they refused to go into the ark!  But the flood came and they perished.  The postdiluvians did not believe his prediction that there was not to be another flood so they set about to build the tower of Babel!  But when God saw the tower sky-rocketing,

He blasted the top of it, and confounded the builders’ language.  That is, He blotted their own language from their minds and carved into them the languages of today.  Thus he caused the birth of various races and languages which we today find even in the remotest parts of the earth.

   It was not God’s purpose that the people should stack themselves in the plains of Shinar, but that they should spread out and replenish the earth.  And so when they refused to obey His command He gave them the next best He had for them, and that they had to obey.

   Man’s work independent of and contrary to God’s, you see, is certain to meet with disaster.  A house that is built on sand cannot survive a storm, and no man can possibly defeat God’s purpose for men.  Do not make a fool of yourself by trying.

   It takes years in the schools of men to learn a language, but in the school of God, it takes but a moment.  He can blot out one language from man’s brains and carve in another, and at the same time change the features of his face and the color of his skin.  Yes, God can do all this more quickly than a dentist can pull a tooth.  But whether a change be made for better or for worse, all depends upon the individual.

   Example No. 2: Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream.  Being troubled with it he summoned the wise men of his realm to tell him the interpretation of it.  They came but there was nothing that they could do.  At last Daniel was brought before the king.  After hearing the king’s story of the dream, Daniel said:

Dan. 4:24-26, 28 — “This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king: that they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.  And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule….came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.”

   The king heard the interpretation of it, and he understood the decree.  Nevertheless he was not willing to admit that there was One greater than he.  Then it came to pass that–

Dan. 4:29, 30 — “At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.  The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?”

   What a statement to make after having heard God’s decree!  The king had yet to learn that God rules the nations, sets up kings and deposes kings.  Let us now hear God’s answer to the king’s folly:

Dan. 4:31-33 — “While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.  And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.  The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.”

   Some even to this day do not realize that God rules, that men are not independent of Him although they are permitted to choose whether or not to serve Him.  It was not necessary for the Chaldean king to live with the beasts of the field, but as he could not learn his lesson by words, in the easy way, he was removed from his palace and put into a corral, there to learn by experience, in the hard way.  In the end of seven years, after he had graduated, so to speak, from God’s school of hard knocks, the king walked back into his palace, and said:

Dan. 4:34-37 — “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever, Whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His Kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou? 

At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.  Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all Whose works are Truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.”

   Through pride and disloyalty to God Nebuchadnezzar made life miserable for himself, but at last he did awake.

   Example No. 3: Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom continued until the reign of his grandson, Belshazzar.  Belshazzar knew his grandfather’s history and his experience with God, but he failed to profit by it.  He made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and commanded that the vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, be brought to the feast, so that the king himself, and his princes, wives, and concubines might drink therefrom.

   As soon as this revelry took place there came forth fingers of a man’s hand, which wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace. Belshazzar was greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonished.  Then was Daniel brought before the king.  And Daniel emphatically declared:

Dan. 5:18-31 — “O thou king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: and for the majesty that He gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. 

But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: and he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the Most High God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that He appointeth over it whomsoever He will. 

And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in Whose hand thy breath is, and Whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Then was the part of the hand sent from Him; and this writing was written.  And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 

This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.  TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.  PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.  Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.  In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.  And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.”

   What a difference there would have been in the scroll of history if Belshazzar had profited by the priceless lesson which his grandfather had learned.  Yes, what a difference it would have made!  This is the needful lesson for us all, kings and peasants alike.

   Example No. 4: The Chaldean empire became a Medo-Persian empire, not because the Medes and the Persians were stronger and mightier, but because God had so decreed.  Let us see:

Isa. 45:1 — “Thus saith the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.”

   Cyrus, under whose command the Medo-Persian army marched into Babylon, had not yet been born when the prophet Isaiah wrote of him.  But God remembered His promise and when Belshazzar felt perfectly secure on the night of revelry and fatal debauchery, God opened before Cyrus the two-leaved gates and made possible the capture of the kingdom.  There the Medes and Persians met Daniel and his companions, who called Cyrus’ attention to the Scriptures which not only predicted his victory, but even foretold his name.  Having seen and felt the power of God, Cyrus was moved to decree:

Ezra 1:2-11 — “Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all His people?  his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.  And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. 

Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.  And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. 

Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.  And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives, thirty basons of gold, silver basons of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand.  All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.”

   It is not difficult to see that if the rulers of the Medo-Persian empire had continued to rule in the same spirit as Cyrus, the kingdom would have stood until this day.  That kingdom, though, gave way to Grecia; Grecia, to Rome; and Rome, to the nations of today.  Plain enough it is to see that the kingdoms of today still stand because God has purposed it so.

   Their growing more and more independent of God will sooner or later bring the end of them too, for looking down the stream of time, down to the kingdoms of today which are depicted by the feet and toes of the great image, the Spirit of Truth wrote: “And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.  And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 

And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and It shall stand for ever. 

Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Dan. 2:41-45.  Rather than merging into the Kingdom of God, they will have to be destroyed.

   Example No. 5: Now let us see what benefit the kingdoms and nations reaped from coming in contact with the church. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome, who came in contact with the church, make up the civilized world of today.

   Look at the nations and peoples (the heathen in the somewhat isolated places of the earth) who were not so fortunate as to meet the church as early as the other nations.

   Still further, look at those who are still more isolated in the remotest parts of the earth who have had no contact with the church, not until just recently.  Most of them are but little better than animals not only in intelligence but even in progress.

   The people who were fortunate enough to be the closest to the religion of Christ, are, you will find, the most intelligent, the most prosperous.  England, for example, who translated the Bible and published and scattered It throughout the world to all peoples and languages, became the greatest of the nations in its time. 

Then the United States (but a sister nation to the English Empire), who less than two centuries ago founded its government upon the principles of the Bible and inscribed on its dollar, IN GOD WE TRUST, and who also established the American Bible Societies, in but a comparatively few years became the greatest of nations, as did the Hebrews in their day.

   On the other hand those who turned against the religion of the Bible, were left desolate — their blessings became a curse to them.  The hated Jews, for whom there is no spot on earth, are the best example.  Germany, who led out in the Reformation but who turned back from it, has reaped a sorrowful harvest, too.

   And what is true with the nations is, of course, just as true with individuals, homes, families, and communities.

   If you will take a little time to observe, you will see this law of blessings and cursings in demonstration everywhere without exception.

   The world was founded upon religion, and you can rest assured that when religion disappears from the earth, the world will disappear with it.  Those who fall in love with the Truth will find that blessings will, reciprocally, fall in love with them.  Let us read:

2 Thess. 2:8-12 — “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

   We see that if we do not fall in love with the Truth, deception is inevitable.  No, none are deceived by coming in contact with error (for we are in contact with it anyway from the time we are born to the time we die), but everyone who does not love the Truth is sure to be deceived, regardless what he may do to avoid It.

   And those who are satisfied with the Truth of yesterday, who are not looking for fresh Truth for today from the throne of God, not looking for “meat in due season,” — such ones will find themselves in as terrible a predicament as did the Jews — spued out.

Deut. 30:15, 19 — “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil:… I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

   Example No. 6: If we fail to profit by what God tells us we shall fail as badly as, if not worse, as any who have failed before us.  I think some of you who have had personal contact with God, know these things through experiences of your own.  Doubtless you have found that you cannot long prevent explosion while keeping fire and gunpowder in the same room; that you cannot serve the Devil and yet have peace and security.  Let me illustrate this by an actual incident:

   A certain man dreamed that a horse killed him by kicking him.  To safeguard his life he ever after kept his distance from all horses.  Nevertheless one windy day as he was walking down a street, he passed a blacksmith’s establishment in front of which was hanging a sign with a horseshoe painted on it.  The sign suddenly fell on his head and he died from the impact.

   We can no more avoid the consequences of sin and of isolation from God, than could the dreamer avoid death by dodging it.  We never know what the day will bring forth, and we cannot afford to isolate ourselves from God even for a moment.  Neither can we say definitely that we will or will not do this, that, or the other.

   Example No. 7: Some years ago while in Europe, I heard that one of my cousins had left for America.  I then said to myself, “Poor cousin, I will never leave home and go to live anywhere as far away as America for any reason.”  But about that time, I, along with others, was falsely accused of conspiracy.  It was in the season when the nights were long, and as we put on the lights in our store one morning before daylight, a mob gathered with guns and stones, and stormed the windows. 

So it was that just a few months after I took pity on my poor cousin’s estrangement from his homeland I found myself in America in the same house with him.  It was a great disappointment at first, no not lesser than Joseph’s of old, but what a favor at last!  God bless the mob!

Only God knows the future, and we should place our hopes and ambitions in His mighty hand.  Then, and then only, will we come to the “top.”  And if we are tempted to say we will or will not do this or that, then let us remember Jonah: He said he would not bear a message to Nineveh, and straightway took a boat for Tarshish.  But the boatmen threw him overboard and the great fish picked him up and brought him right back to the place whence he was trying to run away.

   Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, thought to perpetuate his kingdom by ordering all his subjects to bow down to his golden image.  The three Hebrews, though, defied his purpose and changed the course of history.  The men who threw the Hebrews into the fiery furnace were themselves burned to death, but not a hair of the Hebrews’ heads was singed all the time they remained inside the fiery furnace.  Let us with the Psalmist lift up our voices and say:

Psalms 8:1-6 — “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!  Who hast set Thy glory above the heavens.  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.  When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?  and the Son of man, that Thou visitest Him?  For Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory and honour.  Thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet.”

   The prophet Malachi was instructed to write for the people that were to live in the time of the end.

Let us read from chapter four:

Mal. 4:1-3 — “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.  But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.”

   Is it not better to be a human being in God’s order, a beautiful ever-living creature, than to be ashes under the soles of the saints?  Why not now respond to His call and make life what it ought to be?

Mal. 4:4-6 — “Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

   Are you waiting, watching, praying and hoping that when this antitypical Elijah the prophet appears and calls on you, your heart be turned toward your children and their hearts toward you, or are you crawling under your shell, as it were, for fear that you be deceived if you should meet him?

   Life, you see, is what you make it.  Most people do not know how to make it better, but “if you know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

To summarize this study: We have learned that we have been put in this world for a purpose, that if we want salvation and blessings we must cooperate with God.  This we can do by following the examples of God’s Truth-hungering people.  To enable us to do this He has seen to it that both the glories and calamities of both classes have been noted in His Book.

   If we compare our works with Noah’s works we will see whether we measure up with him in obeying present Truth.  Neither the antediluvians nor the postdiluvians did profit from Noah’s preaching.  The former did not believe it possible to flood the earth and perished; the latter did not believe it possible for the earth not to be flooded again.

They built the tower of Babel because they feared another flood although they were plainly told that there will be such a flood no more.  God, though, not only destroyed their work, but also confounded their language, and in exchange gave them all different languages so that few could understand one another.  If we work to fulfill God’s plans for us we shall never be confused or confounded.

   Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon at last saw these things as God sees them, but the hard way — not before God turned him loose for seven years to eat grass like the oxen.  Later when he came to himself, he acknowledged God as the God Who rules both heaven and earth.  Let us do better than did the King.

   Then Belshazzar, the king who failed to profit by the experience of Nebuchadnezzar, over night lost himself, his kingdom and his all.

   Ruler followed ruler and finally the kingdom passed to the Medo-Persians, then to the Grecians, next to the Romans and finally to the nations of today.  The nations, you see, belong to God, and He lets them be ruled by whomsoever He will.

   The nations who came nearest to God and His teachings became great and respectable nations, and those who kept themselves away from Him are not much better than animals.

   It is best to learn what God wants you to do, then do just that.  Life truly is just what we make it — no less and no more.  Now is your chance, now you are at the two cross roads.  Which will it be for you?  The wide, or the narrow, which?

 

The Gifts of GodHis gifts are greater than my dreams,The gifts of God to me;As countless as the sunset’s golden beams,As boundless as the sea.I ask a part, He gives the whole–Himself, and all beside;His loving-kindness overflows my soul,Inrushing as the tide.Within my heart He shall have placeTo rule and reign supreme;My voice will ever praise Him for the graceOf which I ne’er could dream.His gifts are greater than my dreams,The gifts of Him who set me free;And more and more abundant daily seemsThe grace of God to me.–J.B. Pounds(Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 50, p.14- 31)                        

A Present Truth Sermon

May 18, 2019

TEXT FOR PRAYERBe Doers Of The Word   Our thought for prayer is found in “The Mount of Blessing,” p. 209 —

   “Not all who profess His name and wear His badge are Christ’s.  Many who have taught in My name, said Jesus, will be found wanting at last.  ‘Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name?  and in Thy name have cast out devils?  and in Thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.’

   “There are persons who believe that they are right, when they are wrong.  While claiming Christ as their Lord, and professedly doing great works in His name, they are workers of iniquity.  ‘With their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.’  He who declares God’s Word is to them ‘as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear Thy words; but they do them not.'”

   The people here described like to hear God’s Word, but that is as far as they go.  I hope there are none here only to listen, but to do something about it.  Only the doers of the Word are justified.  Let us kneel and earnestly pray that God will help us not to be mere professors of the Truth, but actual doers of It.

 

THINGS THAT OBTAIN BEFOREAND AFTER THE EARTH IS MADE NEWIsaiah 65TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTSSABBATH, JUNE 7, 1947MT. CARMEL CHAPELWACO, TEXAS   We are to study the sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah.  As we study we shall see that it bears record of things that take place in the period before the earth is made new, and in the period after it is made new.  We shall begin our study with the first verse.

Isa. 65:1 — “I am sought of them that asked not for Me; I am found of them that sought Me not: I said, Behold Me, behold Me, unto a nation that was not called by My name.”

   Paul, writing to the Romans, applies this verse to the Gentiles coming into the Gospel (Rom. 10:20).  They are, therefore, those who sought the Lord without asking for Him, and those who found Him without seeking after Him.  This condition laden with results, points out that the Lord is easily found.

Isa. 65:2 — “I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts.”

   Here is a great contrast between the well-informed in the things of God, and the ignorant Gentiles.  While the former are pulling away, although the Lord is tearfully pleading with them, the latter are drawing nigh to Him.  Here we see how patient God is.  He continues to plead on and on.  It is hard for Him to give up a sinner before all possible means to save are exhausted.  Here is clearly seen that it is easier to save a heathen than it is to save a well satisfied deluded Christian.

Isa. 65:3 — “A people that provoketh Me to anger continually to My face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick.”

   To sacrifice in gardens is to make a display of religion, and altars of brick (the product of man, not of God’s creation as is stone), are the works of man.  Cain offered an undesirable sacrifice, but the people brought to view in this scripture offer on an undesirable altar.  The one is as bad as the other.  And what could altars of brick be if not places of worship which God Himself has not commanded to be built?

Isa. 65:4 — “Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels.”

   To remain among the graves is to be denied of having a part in the resurrection of the saints.  And to lodge in the monuments is to live in a so-called exalted cliff of life — dead to God and alive to the world.

   The Jews were quite careful of what they ate, but here is a forecast of a people whose appetites are as loose as were Adam’s and Eve’s while partaking of the forbidden fruit.

   Although we as a people profess to be strict in keeping the unclean meats away from our tables, this scripture, nevertheless, unveils the shameful truth.  It makes known that many are indulging in these abominable things.  In one part of the world perhaps they indulge in one abomination, and in another part of the world they indulge in another abomination.

Isa. 65:5 — “Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou.  These are a smoke in My nose, a fire that burneth all the day.”

   On the one hand they are as careless as they can be, eating anything and everything, clean and unclean alike.  And on the other hand they have a high opinion of themselves — they think themselves holier than any others.  Plainly, then, those who indulge in the abominations which verse four tells about, are the very ones who protest against having communion with those who try to live a life consistent with their profession, fearing that reformation might take place. Satanic indeed!  God hates hypocrites more than He hates any other kind of sinners.  Those who are thus pushed to the right and to the left, see the perfect fulfillment of this scripture at this very time.

Isa. 65:6, 7 — “Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed Me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.”

   Verse six needs no comments, and but a sentence on verse seven will suffice.  The Pharisees of yesterday and the Pharisees of today, so to speak, we see are to receive similar rewards.

   Isa. 65:8, 9 — “Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for My servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.  And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of My mountains: and Mine elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there.”

   The seed of Jacob, the inheritor out of Judah, is, of course, Christ.  The elect, His servants, are those who escape the destruction here mentioned.  They are to be a blessing to others.  Symbolically speaking, the mountains are the kingdoms of Judah and Israel gathered together as also foretold in Ezekiel 37:16-28.  But if taken literally, the mountains are those in the Promised Land.  The phrase, “Mine elect shall inherit it,” changes the object from the plural “mountains” to the singular “it,” and makes the symbolism carry both thoughts, the Kingdom and the location of It.  The verse that follows verifies this very thought.

Isa. 65:10 — “And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for My people that have sought Me.”

   Verses nine and ten carry us from the Jewish period into the Christian era, then down to the restoration and consolidation of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel in the land of our fathers, Sharon and Achor.

Isa. 65:11 — “But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget My holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.”

   Those who are to be destroyed are those who do not particularly care for His holy mountain, the Kingdom mentioned in these scriptures.  They are those who prepare a table, or who assemble passages of Scripture taken out of their setting, and with them they feed (teach) the group, or the troop that is of the same mind as themselves.  To “furnish the drink offering” is as much as to say that the troop is drinking in whatever their teachers put out.

Isa. 65:12 — “Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before Mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.”

   To this call of God they do not answer.  Neither do they hear Him speaking, for they are inclined to do evil.  They delight in their own ways and hate the Lord’s.  Of this sin they are possibly not conscious.

Isa. 65:13-15 — “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, My servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, My servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, My servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.  And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto My chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call His servants by another name.”

   These evil doers may not now give even a thought to this solemn warning, but as sure as day is followed by night, just that sure their want, shame, sorrow, and calamity are soon to come.

   The denominational name will they leave to God’s servants; that is, to those who escape from the Lord’s sword shall the name consequently be left.  The name, however, is left only as a curse, and His servants will be called by another name which “the mouth of the Lord shall name.”

Isa. 65:16 — “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of Truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of Truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from Mine eyes.”

   In this verse it is implied that the Lord is taking this strange action because His unfaithful servants have not been blessing themselves in the God of Truth.  Consequently, they must have been blessing themselves in the god of falsehood; that is, they have been teaching, approving, and spreading falsehood while the Lord is endeavoring to bless all His servants with Truth fresh from His throne.  To those who embrace His Truth for this time, He will never bring up their past.

Isa. 65:17 — “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”

   Here we are brought down to the time the Lord finally renews the heaven and the earth.

Isa. 65:18, 19 — “But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.  And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.”

   We are encouraged to rejoice because Jerusalem, as well as her people, are created for joy.

Isa. 65:20 — “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.”

   Concerning the wicked in the earth made new, who come up in the second resurrection, the resurrection of the unjust (Rev. 20:5), there shall be neither birth nor death among them for one hundred years.  Thus the only children that shall be among them will be those who are raised from the dead.  Consequently both those who are old and those who are young will have lived a hundred years from the resurrection of the unjust to the second death.  Thus the child and the sinner, becoming a hundred years old in the earth made new, shall both succumb in the end of the century.  Then the righteous shall inhabit the whole earth.

Isa. 65:21, 22 — “And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”

   Again we see that the Hereafter is to be as real and as natural as was the Garden of Eden in the day it was created.  So the message of Elijah shall indeed restore all things — all that was lost through sin.

Isa. 65:23 — “They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.”

Much of our labor on this earth is done in vain, and many of our sons and daughters are also born in vain.  But in the earth made new, no one shall labor in vain, and nothing shall be brought forth for trouble.

Isa. 65:24 — “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”

   For the answers to some of our prayers we often wait long, and most of them are not answered as we want them to be.  But in the earth made new there shall be no delay and no disappointment.

Isa. 65:25 — “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord.”

   There shall be peace all around.  We shall not see men quarreling nor beasts fighting and eating one another.  There shall be real and perfect peace among them all.

   If we could only realize what God has prepared for them that love to study His Word and to walk in His ever-increasing Light, then we would make God’s business our chief interest; then we would no longer waste our energies striving for the material things of life.  They will be added unto us while we diligently labor for the upbuilding of His Kingdom, for He Himself says: “The workman is worthy of his hire.”

(Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 44 , P. 1 – 10)                       


 

The Old Family Tree

November 17, 2018

TEXT FOR PRAYER   I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” beginning on page 188, the last paragraph.

   M.B., pg. 188 — “Jesus…earnestly desired that the great multitude might appreciate the mercy and loving kindness of God.  As an illustration of their need, and of God’s willingness to give, He presents before them a hungry child asking his earthly parent for bread.  ‘What man is there of you,’ He said, ‘whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?’  He appeals to the tender, natural affection of a parent for his child, and then says, ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?’ 

No man with a father’s heart would turn from his son who is hungry and is asking for bread.  Would they think him capable of trifling with his child, of tantalizing him by raising his expectations only to disappoint him?… And should any one dishonor God by imagining that He would not respond to the appeals of His children?

“…The Holy Spirit, the representative of Himself, is the greatest of all gifts.  All ‘good things’ are comprised in this.  The Creator Himself can give us nothing greater, nothing better….”

   If we do not believe what God tells us, if we do not believe what He says He is, then we dishonor Him.  He is very anxious to give us gifts, but only if we want them.  He is particularly anxious to give us the greatest gift — the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Naturally, with this gift all other gifts are given.  It was this gift that Solomon asked for, and with it he was liberally given all the other gifts.  Let us likewise pray for this great gift.  It is just what God wants to give us if we will only wholeheartedly and honestly promise — positively to use the gift in the way He would have us use it.

 

THE OLD FAMILY TREETEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTSSABBATH, MARCH 8, 1947MT. CARMEL CHAPELWACO, TEXAS   Let us turn to the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, and begin our study with the first verse.

Isa. 11:1 — “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”

   Here is a family tree in which three persons are introduced.  This verse does not say whom the rod represents; it does not say whom the Branch represents; but it does say that the stem is Jesse, the father of king David.  The rod, of course, which came out of the stem, could be none other than the son of Jesse — David, the king of ancient Israel.  The verses following this verse explain that the Branch is the Lord Himself.  Clearly, then, this family tree represents Jesse, David, and Christ.

   The remaining verses of the chapter are concerning Christ, His work, and His kingdom.

Isa. 11:2 — “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”

   Upon this one gift — the gift of the Spirit — all things hinge.

Isa. 11:3, 4 — “And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth: with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.”

   These verses, I am sure, need no comment save to mention that “the rod of His mouth” and “the breath of His lips” must mean God’s Word, His Truth.  This very Truth to which we are listening this afternoon will, therefore, on the one hand slay those who reject It together with those who are disobedient to It, but on the other hand save those who give heed to It, and who comply with Its requirements.  The one consequence is as natural as it the other.  For example, did not the preaching of the gospel of Christ save the Apostles, but at the same time cause Judas to commit suicide?  And did it not save the disciples but destroy all the unbelieving of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.?

   In the Kingdom here predicted, not only are men to be at peace with men, but men with beast, and beast with beast as well.   The reason given for such perfect peace is that the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. Knowledge, then, is what we need, and shall we turn it down now when it is so freely brought to our doors?

   Just as soon as God’s people obtain this knowledge of the Lord, just that soon shall the kingdom appear.  So it is that while learning of God and of His wisdom, we are at the same time bringing peace on earth.  Plainly, then, those who have not this knowledge of the Lord cannot become citizens of His kingdom.  How essential, then, that we study for ourselves; how essential that we know what is Truth through our own personal experience, not through the experience of others!

Isa. 11:10 — “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”

   That is, in the day of the Branch (in the Christian period), in the day this family tree is completed, then it is that the kingdom of peace (the church purified) sprouts, so to speak, from the ground up.  It then stands for an ensign to the people, and to It shall the Gentiles seek for salvation.  Plainly, then, this old family tree, Kingdom, is to be set up while probation lasts.  Moreover, the place where It is to stand (rest) shall be glorious.  It is therefore to have Its own location, and Its own boundary line.  It is to be for the gathering of the people, the ark of today as was Noah’s ark in Noah’s day.  So we are again brought to the same truth which Isaiah, chapter 2, and Micah, chapter 4, teach:

Isa. 11:11, 12 — “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.  And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

   The Lord is to recover the remnant (those that are spared) of His people in the day this Kingdom is set up; that is, the Kingdom is set, then those who are left behind among the Gentiles, those who seek after the ensign, the Lord is to recover them.  This second recovery of His people declares Inspiration, is to be from the four corners of the earth. The first, as you know, was from Egypt only.

Isa. 11:13-15 — “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim [–there shall be no sinner among them].  But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.  And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with His mighty wind shall He shake His hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.”

   Both kingdoms, Israel (sometimes called the house of Ephraim) and Judah, are to be restored and united in the antitype.  They shall never again envy or vex each other. And through Ezekiel commands the Lord:

   “Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in Mine hand.  And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 

And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be My people, and I will be their God.” Ezek. 37:19-23.

   Thus it is that “…in the days of these kings [not after their days] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it [the kingdom] shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Dan. 2:44, 45.

   If the Kingdom is to destroy all these kingdoms, then It must be set up before these kingdoms are destroyed.  The stone that is cut out of the “mountain” in the days of these kings, is itself to become a great mountain, and It, the Kingdom, is to fill the whole earth (Dan. 2:35, 45).

   In the days of Moses the Lord smote but one stream, the Red Sea, and one nation, Egypt.  But now the Lord promises to smite every stream (all “seven”) and cause His people from the four corners of the earth to reach their land without so much as getting their feet wet.  Although today as in Moses’ day, such a thing seems utterly impossible, yet it is certain that just as God made it possible then, He will now, too.  The battle is the Lord’s, the will is ours.  We have nothing to do but to obey His voice.  That is our only duty Brother, Sister.

   There is no Bible Truth plainer than this, and there is no truth as important at this time as is this Truth.  These are the very reasons that it either saves or destroys — to accept It is to have all your sins blotted out; to reject It, is to sin against the Holy Ghost.  “Today if ye will hear His Voice, harden not your [heart]” is God’s counsel for you and for me.  You well know now that this Truth is irrefutable. Try and see for yourself.

Isa. 11:16 — “And there shall be an highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.”

   After the first fruits and the Lamb are gone to Mount Sion, there shall be a highway for the second fruits, for those who are still in “Assyria,” the world.  In other words, all obstructions shall be removed.  Our faith shall not fail us, and our hope shall not be in vain, for God has not forsaken the earth.  He Who rules and guides the stars in their unerring path, is able to lead us safely to our own land. Indeed, just as not one of them fails in its course, so not one of God’s promises shall ever fail to materialize. 

Let no one deceive you in this.  Study verse by verse, word for word, read, stop and think, do not hastily pass by this positive, most urgent Truth, for as it was in the days of the flood so shall it be now, says the Lord (Matt. 24:37).  The first born (firstfruits) who failed to paint the door post with the sacrificial blood in the first exodus, the type, perished.  So any of the firstfruits of today who fails to comply with the demands of the message for today, will as certainly perish at the angel’s slaughter weapons (Ezek. 9:5, 6).

Isa. 12:1-3 — “And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise Thee: though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortedst me.  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.  Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

   “In that day,” that is, in the day His people are being gathered from the four corners of the earth, in that day are they thus to praise Him, because they will plainly see that His anger has been turned away from them.  They will positively know that He is their salvation, their fear, and their strength. They will therefore with greater joy drink in the freshly revealed truths of the Bible.

Isa. 12:4 — “And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted.”

   “In that day,” that is, in the gathering time shall they encourage one another to praise the Lord, to call upon His name, and to declare His doings among the people.  They will then whole-heartedly and with knowledge be doing real and profitable missionary work. Isa. 12:5, 6 — “Sing unto the Lord; for He hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.  Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

   You certainly will not let anything hinder or stifle your voice now that God commands to cry out and shout.

   “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in Judgment.  And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isa. 32:1, 2.

   No, this is not what popular theology teaches, but you admit that this is what the Bible teaches, and that It we must believe rather than men.

   Thus far faith in God’s promises has not failed us, and why will He fail us now? — Never.  Faith mixed with works will bring everything in due season.  The adversaries of Truth shall fail, but Truth shall triumph, and the faithful with It.

   “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

   “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

   “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in taberacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

   “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful Who had promised.  Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 

For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.

   “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 

By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.  By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

   “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.  By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.  Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

   “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.  By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

   “And what shall I more say?  for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

   “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

   “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:1-40.

   Now while the eternal records are being made, will you not cause your name to be written among the great heroes of God?  How can you afford to eternally lose out at such a late hour?

(Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 31, P. 1-13)

M.L Andreasen meets Victor Houteff (Part 2 of 2)

September 15, 2018

Image result for M.L Andreasen  Image result for victor houteff

Let’s review part one of our interview post. We found that the General Conference was basically firmly against the message of the Shepherd’s Rod. The leading men were against it from it’s inception when brother Houteff began to lead the Sabbath School lessons in 1929.

But the message did not fade away, for it gained such traction that the GC leaders needed a man to meet with Houteff and expose his movement as not of God. They had tried once before in setting up a meeting with VTH to “go over” his doctrines in a formal meeting. This ended in a total failure as the S.D.A leaders were later found out to have double crossed Houteff. This so called “get to the bottom of his teachings” meeting was smoke screen to show the gullible people that the teachings had been looked into and found wanting.

S.D.A and D.S.D.A historical accounts show that while this Los Angeles meeting was going on, GC leaders were back east in Washington D.C discussing strategies to put down the Shepherd’s Rod movement.

The man who they selected to “beard the lion” was M.L. Andreasen, the top respected scholar of the day.

Before we go further let’s review God’s word about how to tell if a movement is from Him.

“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)

The interview took place December 15th and 16th, 1942. Brother Andreasen arrived at the official headquarters of the Davidian movement, known predominantly at that time as the Shepherd’s Rod group or people. (Note: for those who may not be aware, the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists are NOT the Branch Davidians, those well known for the Waco disaster in 1993. See our post we made in 2012 for information on this often confusing subject)

https://godsloveandlaw.com/2012/11/17/original-davidians-are-not-branch-davidians/

The two men met and then soon went into the reception room and sat down for the discussion. Andreasen took careful notes and later sent a full report to headquarters giving his first hand account of the meeting. The full transcript can be viewed on the aforementioned book in part one. Brother Augustus has compiled a comprehensive historical account of this meeting along with much history between the S.D.A and the D.S.D.A (A link for the purchase of the book will be provided at end of this post)

After describing the place (Mt. Carmel headquarters) in his report he says “ The most satisfactory part of the interview concerned the matter for which the interview had been sought: that of confirmation on his part that the public statements published in the two volumes of the “Shepherd’s Rod” were still his belief and teaching.”

We can see that M.L was attempting to verify whether VTH had changed his mind about what he had written. To this Houteff responded, “We do not work that way. We do not claim the words are inspired , but the idea is. We do not change our teaching, and have not done so. What is published we still stand by and always will.”

Thus, M.L was firmly handed his response. But being sent by the GC and knowing his goal to accomplish, M.L wrote his report in a slant that was appealing to the higher-ups, and we don’t mean God. This will become clear as we review it.

As brother Augustus pointed out in his book, when one wants to make of no effect someone’s work or art, they usually first try to destroy their image, paint them in a bad light to lessen their impact as good people or their work as good works. In fact the message tells us this very same ploy —

“..since the Enemy cannot get around the Truth, he does all he can to blacken character and to pick flaws in personalities.” (General Conference Special, p.8)

So M.L begins early in his report to start this blacken character work. He points out that a certain disgruntled former follower “Hazel Hendricks”, had written a small book describing what she thought were error and falsehood in the SRod. But M.L. discussed the accusations of “whippings” and other terrible treatments of the young children on the grounds. But when M.L brought this up, VTH denied it and offered to bring the children right then and there to clear it. This was not pursued by M.L.

Quick note on Hazel. Sister Bonnie Smith, who is still proclaiming the message at 88, personally told this author aobut the last time she saw Hazel Hendricks. It was at a Sabbath lunch and the two discussed their past. Mrs. Hendricks confided in sister Bonnie, that looking back she made a mistake and regretted what she had done. To this sister Bonnie told her it was not too late to make amends, of which Hazel could never (as far as we know publicly) come clean and repent. So sad when pride hinders us!

After this unsettling blow, M.L decides to further deride Houteff. “The writings of Mr. Houteff, which I have examined for the last few months somewhat critically, bear the evidence of a confused mind. He gives some very fantastic interpretations of the Scriptures, sometimes quoting the writings of Mrs. White, and at other times giving no authority whatsoever, except his own inferred inspiration.

He then goes on to basically mock interpretations such as Ezek. 4:9-17, Isaiah 7:21-22. However, while noting them as “fantastic” M.L gives no other idea as to their meaning. Thus, M.L sits upon the throne of judgment and renders a judgment without reasoning! In other words, Houteff is wrong but he doesn’t know why. They are just “fantastic”.

Continuing on in his black report, he then says, “The truth is while the majority of persons deceived by the “Shepherd’s Rod” are people that this denomination is better off without, there are some we cannot afford to lose.”  Huh?? With a wave of his hand M.L. judges the thousands of people who accepted the Rod as unworthy! If this is not mounting the judgment throne, tell us what is? The plain God’s truth is that there should be MORE Davidians among us today! Those who walk the talk.

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matt. 7:1-2)

However, at this point Andreasen has his first reflective moment. He may have been dwelling on the call for reformation that the Rod declares, he says, “Honest people are led astray by the call of the “Shepherd’s Rod” to reform, and by their pointing out practices that we do not countenance, and which yet exist within the denomination. The only safe way to meet this is that we examine thoroughly the things that need rectification and make a determined   and honest effort to eliminate all that will not stand the light of investigation.

To me it seems entirely inadequate to denounce the “Rod” people for their many errors if we do not profit by criticisms made.”

Next he goes into lamentation about what the S.D.A church is lacking. At this point , there can be no doubt that during the interview Houteff has struck a nerve. As we continue this will become more prevalent.

“The field is divided  on the subject of the Trinity. The vital doctrine of the 144,000 has ceased to be preached. Fantastic theories in regard to war.Hitler, and the future are being promulgated. The battle of Armageddon is a present source of discussion, and unauthorized books appear. The ever present question of the position which sister White should hold among us is a prolific cause of difficulty.

Our stand upon religious liberty, noncombatancy, health reform, recreation, amusements, Sabbath-keeping, the nearness of the Lord, are being discussed and questioned. while some of these questions may seem less important, others are vitally  significant. The fact remains that, in the matter of Bible study, — I mean official, authorized study– we are doing very little…

Mr, Houteff raised, decidedly, the question of our lack of unity and our spiritual impotency.”

At this point we clearly start to see that M.L. is reflecting on brother Houteff’s points and if the S.D.A church condemns the Rod’s position on reforms, then it cannot stand innocent if what is said is the truth.

Continuing on about what the Rod teaches, he says, “The “Shepherd’s Rod” makes much of the buying and selling going on in our churches on the Sabbath. I do not think we can defend this practice. Indeed, we do not defend it, but rather condemn it, as our resolutions show. But the practice continues… For years we have been advocating the need for revival and reformation… I conceive it to be a duty of the church in its official capacity to take action in this matter.”

What we have here is Andreasen basically echoing what the Rod proclaims. Yet, he cannot bring himself to concur with the movement, lest he forget what his mission is. At this point M.L. reverts back to his blacken mission course.

“In the first volume of the “Shepherd’s Rod” publication, there is what is called a partial list of sins of the Adventist church. Twelve sins are mentioned. This list is enlarged in later publications. Some of these so-called sins are trivial, some are not so trivial. They themselves are guilty of most of them, and of many more. In reality, their whole movement is unwholesome, illiterate, presumptive and, I am afraid, corrupt and devilish. This , however, does not help our case any.” 

Blacken is the correct word we read here. M.L. is planting his seeds of doubt strong and unmistakable,  “unwholesome, illiterate, presumptive and, I am afraid, corrupt and devilish.” 

Yet no where in this report does Andreasen establish the Scriptural reasons for the so-called false doctrines. Nor does he explain why the movement is so “devilish”. It’s an unambitious  black charge for the sake of tarnishment. The same unholy works the S.D.A leaders have promulgated since the Rod came on the scene. Except this time the church thought they could use the “master scholar” as their testimony to the ignorant and unaware in God’s church. It back fired!

After letting his best blacken charge stand, mysteriously he again reverts back to acknowledging the Rod’s points. It seems a real spiritual struggle is going on within Andreasen now. He has been awaken by the “lion” whom he said he would “beard”, meaning expose and conquer in the written report. Now the lion has made him reflect and he finishes his report with a rebuke of the then current S.D.A church condition!

“If we answer one charge on which we are sure and omit others, we give them weapons against us which we can ill afford to give them. Should they merely list the things we must, of necessity, omit in our answer, this list will expose our weakness. The question, “why have we not answered all the charges” will naturally arise in the mind of the reader. And we are not prepared to answer them until we have done some housecleaning… the opinion prevails that the General Conference is not interested in Bible study as such; that it is each man for himself, with the General Conference a mere onlooker. 

I have not written this , brethren,  without some trepidation and fear and a great deal of prayer. I might consider it none of my business;and I should  not have rushed in where angels might well fear to tread had I not been asked to do investigate the “Shepherd’s Rod.” Having been asked to do this work, I knew I would have to make some kind of report. I feared that I would find some charges that I could not refute and, wishing to do an honest piece of work, I could not ignore them.  So I am in a dilemma…

If I were to write an answer to the charges of the “shepherd’s Rod”, I would have  to omit  some of the most serious indictments they level against us– charges of conditions which we ourselves deplore, but do little about. But to do this would invite defeat… The truth is, brethren that this denomination is ripe for a revival and reformation such as we have never seen, and we are all looking to you for its inauguration… There are sins in Israel that can only be corrected by men in official positions…

I believe that I am beginning to understand when sister White says, “I seldom weep, but now I find my eyes blinded with tears; they are falling upon my paper as I write.” …

Sincerely your brother, 

M.L. Andreasen”

Wow, what we have witnessed in this report is truly eye-opening! The great S.D.A savior who was to go into the “lion’s den” and come out victorious, instead came out as a dog with his tail between his legs! He conscience was greatly affected by this interview and thus he ended up making the whole case for the Rod movement–reformation!

Sadly, M.L. Andreasen never did accept the Lord’s Rod message (Micah 6:9 and Mal. 4:5) as far as we know. He became involved in trying to correct some of the wrongs within the S.D.A church in the latter years of his life and was largely an outcast for it. Plainly then it appears this interview, whom many believe was with the last prophet to be sent to the S.D.A church, dramatically affected him from then on.

The whole lesson here is that God works for his people and yet the leaders are often the very ones who reject the message God’s gives. Now is our time to work brethren, let us learn from this very important lesson God sent us.

“These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.” (1 Cor. 10:11)

(For those interested in brother Augustus’ book  —  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-every-seventh-day-adventist-should-know-about-the-shepherds-rod-garrick-d-augustus/1129276750?ean=9781491784006 )

 

M.L Andreasen meets Victor Houteff (Part 1 of 2)

September 8, 2018

Image result for M.L Andreasen         Image result for victor houteff

 

In the annals of our church history stands out one of the most prolific , yet not well-known, one on one interviews the church has ever had. The man inspired of our Lord to hand the mantle to another man, yet unfortunately it would end in bitterness and anguish by one man. In this post we will review this historic account of Pastor M.L. Andreasen and Minister Victor Houteff. There is a BIG lesson for us here. Let us carefully look at this lesson sent by God for our instruction.

“… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Amen. Anytime we get closer to the Truth, learn it, discover it, challenged by it,  get surprised by it  -we MUST embrace it! For the Lord also warned us in the counter verse —

“He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.” (2 Thes. 2:10)

By nearly all accounts Pastor and theologian Andreasen was a gifted man. Well versed in God’s word and given the ability to translate God’s word with motivating skill.

Briefly Wikipedia says —

“He was one of the Seventh-day Adventist church’s most prominent theologians during the 1930s and 1940s. Andreasen held to the belief that Christians can overcome sin, known popularly as Last Generation Theology, controversial for its views on atonement and salvation. Andreasen became well known for his protests against Seventh-day Adventist church leaders during the last years of his life.”

But what many do not know is that Andreasen’s change in dealing with the S.D.A church appears to be due, in a significant way,  to the aforesaid one on one interview.

Our story starts in 1928 when Andreasen authors one of the most profound books in our Advent history called “Isaiah the Gospel Prophet”.

Front Cover

Later in 1929 the subject of Isaiah’s chapters was the first quarter’s Sabbath School lesson. The lesson was largely based on Andreasen’s in-depth study of Isaiah.  In 1929  brother Houteff began to teach the Sabbath School lessons in Olympic Exposition Park S.D.A Church in 1929, Los Angeles. It is during that year that Victor began to see new understandings from this part of Scripture.

There is something different when you or I search the Scriptures, possibly being “inspired” by them or even led by them to know “all truth”. Yet when one is “chosen” of God it is on quite another level indeed!

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”  (2 Peter 1:20-21)

As Houteff explained the lessons, word soon spread among the church members, that something special was going on. For as the year went on the crowd began to grow sizeably and they began to have two lessons even after church. Yet the leaders were not so humble to accept new revelations.

Victor explains —

“The enemies of the message then left nothing unturned in their search for something against me, rather than to make sure that they were not turning down Truth.  They tried every hook and crook to pin something on me and to stop my activities, but found nothing and as a rule about 30 members of the church stayed in my special meetings each Sabbath afternoon.  Then came the time that the elders of the church refused to let us use the church for our meetings, and they made us all get out.

  But one of the sisters who was living in a big house right across from the church offered her place for the meetings, and there was a great uproar among the people around the church premises.  Some were for us and some were against us.  So it was that the house across from the church was filled that afternoon and many listened from the outside through the windows.  The enemies failed to break up our meetings, and the victory was ours.

   Next they forbade us to attend their church services, and they began to disfellowship those who still wanted to attend our meetings.  They tried to deport me, too, but failed.  Then they endeavored to get a court order against any of us going to the church on Sabbath, but lost out.  Once they called the police to have me arrested on false charges that I was disturbing the meetings, but after the officers in the police station heard my story and the deacon’s charges against me, he commanded the two policemen who brought us to the station to put us in their car again, and to take us right back to the church where they picked me up!

   After this the elders endeavored to put me in an insane asylum.  The “city manager” of Glendale himself (a Seventh-day Adventist) had come to this church that Sabbath morning to lay down the charges and to see me carried away and locked in the asylum.  After talking with me for a few minutes, though, the officer did nothing but to tell me that he would not bother me again!  Then the 200 lb. city manager felt smaller than my 135 lb. weight.

   They did all these unbecoming things and many others; besides, they talked and preached against me.  And though I had no one but the Lord to defend me at any time, yet in all these the victory was mine!” (Timely Greetings, vol. 2, no.35, p.23)

So no doubt the beginning of the Lord’s final message of “Elijah”(Mal. 4:5) began with strong headwinds. No doubt the great enemy , Satan, knew full well he must start his counter attack. Thus, this was the way that M.L Andreasen and other top leaders reacted , generally, throughout the Seventh-day Adventist community. Not so much with the laity, which to a sizeable decree, began to accept or at least acknowledge some truth within the message known as the  “Shepherd’s Rod”.

Soon the message had gained  enough traction throughout the denomination that the leaders were forced to hold a formal meeting with Houteff to review his teachings. This was known as the famous sit down meeting to once and for all look at the Rod. It was held in Los Angeles in February 1934. But, as might be expected, this meeting ended in a fiasco, with an unbelievable S.D.A double-crossing of brother Houteff. This is documented.

For an in depth review of what took place see this Tract–

http://shepherds-rod.org/Tracts/trac007.html

The message was not to be deterred. For several years after this charade of an honest “get to the bottom of the Rod” meeting, the Rod only grew stronger. Andreasen no doubt was one of the concerned leaders watching from the sidelines as the S.D.A could not put down the Rod movement . In December of 1942 he decided to get involved and on behalf of the General Conference to go out — “bearding the lion in his den”. Let us read the GC’s  file letter to Andreasen,

“Dear brother Andreasen: Just a line to say that the brethren still want you to write the reply to the Shepherd’s Rod, and they believe you are the man who is best qualified to do this work. .. The committee has voted today to authorize you to make a trip to the headquarters of the Shepherd’s Rod movement in Texas at such time as you are able to arrange for an absence from the Seminary, and spend as much there as you think wise..

We believe your idea of going out and ‘bearding the lion in his den’ is a very excellent one, and we are just glad to cooperate with you  in this matter and in any other way that we can  in order to make your work an outstanding success.” (File letter from W.H. Branson, General Vice-President -GC to Andreasen , July 30, 1942 *)

So because the Lord’s Rod message was doing its intended work in His vineyard, the SDA leaders continued their impeding work, and finally found, they believed,  their man to quash the movement by exposing its error and deception. Andreasen would not only be able to hold his own against Houteff, but would prove his “false theories” as just that–false.The great savior had been found to “beard the lion”!

But stop and think about this brethren, here you have a movement that announces ” .. the chief object of this publication  is bring about a reformation among God’s people. (SRod, vol. 1 preface)

The Davidians goal was to “reform” God’s people, in dress, worship, health, study habits, etc. yet the S.D.A church was getting a “man who is best qualified to do this work” whom they thought would put the movement down! The cronyism and club, the S.D.A hierarchy,  was not about to be overturned, by any movement, even by one from God!

….To be continued

( * thanks to brother Garrick Augustus for providing information used in these two part posts. His new book —  “What every Seventh-day Adventist should know about the Shepherd’s Rod” an in-depth book on the historical relations between Adventists and the Shepherd’s Rod movement)

Batchelor vs. Houteff on the 144,000 (Part 2 of 2)

May 26, 2018

Image result for picture doug batchelor Image result for picture victor houteff

Continuing with part two ……

Question 4 — What is the seal in the forehead mentioned in Rev. 7 ?

DB —  Starts out by quoting Ephesians 4:30.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” ..There is something more tangible than that, that can be seen in the life and you’ll find that in this verse, Isaiah 8:16   “Bind up the testimony, seal the seal the law among my disciplines.”

.. What’s the new covenant? I’ll take My law and write it in their hearts. But we’re going to go a step deeper. Find out what is that seal in the law. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall  labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of your Lord God ; in it you shall do no work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your  stranger who is within your gates.”  Now watch carefully  “For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth and the sea.”

There you have the name of God, the title of God, the territory of God in the middle of the law of God is the seal. 

In the last days if you will have the law of the Lord in your heart and in actions and in your mind you will not have the mark of the beast. If you don’t have the  law of God in your heart, your hand or your head, you’ll have the mark of the beast. ..if you’ll read Ezekiel 9 there’s another vision there. By the way Revelation is referring back to Ezekiel that everybody in Jerusalem was to be destroyed  except those who had this mark placed on them by this angel. Everybody in Ezekiel 9 who gets the mark is saved. Because they are sighing and crying for the abominations that re done in Israel. There was false worship that was happening among the people of Israel.

So DB declares that the seal as found in Rev. 7 is the obedience of the Sabbath and puts Ezekiel 9’s marking or sealing in past history.

VTH — Has the following report on this subject —

Question No. 21:

What is the seal of God upon the foreheads of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:3)? Is it the Sabbath seal or something else?

Answer:

Being sealed in Christ “with that Holy Spirit of promise,” after having “heard the word of truth” (Eph. 1:13- 4:30), the saints are consequently sealed by Present Truth—the truth preached in their own day.

“The seal of the living God,” the Truth, by which the 144,000 are sealed (Rev. 7:2), is a special seal, being the same as “the mark” of Ezekiel 9. (See Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445; Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 267; Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 211). It demands one’s sighing and crying over the abominations which defile him, and which desecrate both the Sabbath and the house of God, especially against selling literature and raising goals during Sabbath services. 

As the saints have this seal or mark on their foreheads, the angels will pass over them, not slay them. It is equivalent to the blood on the door post on the night of the Passover in Egypt. The angel is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who by sighing over their own sins, and over the sins in the house of God, show fidelity to the Truth. Then the destroying angels will follow, to slay utterly both old and young who have failed to receive the seal. (See Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 505)

So, the former seal enables the receiver to rise from the dead in the resurrection of the just, while the latter seal enables the sighing-crying one to escape death and forever to live for God.

Key points are brought up such as SOP showing the direct relationship to John’s sealing and Ezekiel’s (Testimonies to Minsters, p.445). This , we believe, is so profound that we have a separate report on it called “The Game Changer”.

SUMMARY

As we review the differences in interpretations of the two men we see clear opposing Scriptural teachings.

1) On our first question, Batchelor does not feel it’s important to expand upon the four winds in Rev. 7. Yet if the winds are held back for the sake of sealing the 144,000, then we should assume that these winds are not just some trinket but serious symbolical happenings to effect the earth and people therein. Houteff shows the most specific SOP reference there is in identifying , in context, these four winds –Testimonies to the Church, vol. 5, p.152. We cannot understand Batchelor’s ignorance of this reference.

2) Batchelor declares some standard SDA doctrinal teachings on the “spiritual” grafting in of the 144,000 into the “symbolical” twelve tribes. He does not believe that God has any heavenly record of the bloodline of the original Jews.  In other words the “twelve tribes”part of Rev. 7 is not to be taken literally.

Houteff counters that just as God has kept track of Jesus’ bloodline back to Adam, He must for a consistent reason have kept tract of the bloodline going forward in regards to the twelve tribes. In other words Houteff takes literally this accounting and since the Jews have been scattered all around the world for thousands of years, today no one knows who is who except God. The specific Bible reference Houteff uses is —

“I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.” (Psalms 87: 4-6)

3) Batchelor does not address the issue of the 144,000 in regards to it’s relationship to the SDA church. But once again we see that mysteriously he ignores the profound statement from God through SOP where Ezekiel 9 and Rev. 7 are the same event-same sealing. As far as he knows these people can be any people from anywhere, and not just from the SDA church. The haziness here is disconcerting.

Houteff builds his case once again on Inspired statements. He emphasizes that the term “first fruits” requires that second fruits are to be harvested, lest the term first fruits is a vain thing. The harvest is ONLY through the church “Jerusalem” or “City” as shown in Ezekiel 9. Thus Houteff builds the case that as the 144,000 are all that are sealed from the tribes “church” then  a second harvest is gathered by these first fruits as shown in Rev. 7:9.

   “The city” is figurative of Judah and Israel, the church in which are to be found the 144,000 servants of God (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445) those who are to be called by another name after the unworthy servants are slain.  And as the 144,000 are the first fruits (Rev. 14:4) of the harvest, they are the “escaped” of the Isaiah 66:19 and of Ezekiel 9.  This separation of the tares from the wheat in the church is to signalize the beginning of the final harvest of earth — the end of the world.” (Tract 14, p.19-20)

In the Rod writings you will see the very important SOP reference that tells us the “Israel of today ” is the SDA church, found in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p.164.

“We are not to conclude that the Jews are the only descendants of Abraham.  Those who are fortunate enough to have this revelation brought to them, are the people.  There is no other safe conclusion if God causes the prophecies to be written, sealed, and then unsealed at His will and at the time appointed.  The Jews, therefore, are not the only descendants of Abraham.” (1 TG, no.37, p.11) 

The message is brought to the S.D.A church , and like a homing pigeon the people that come into our church are those “who are fortunate enough to have this revelation brought to them.” Yes, all within the S.D.A church have their chance but just as in Jesus day, only few decide to come aboard. As SOP says we are the “Israel of today” from God’s impeccable guidance.

4) In the very important point of knowing what the seal of God is in Rev. 7, Batchelor again uses the standard SDA understanding of the Sabbath as that seal in our foreheads. Though acknowledging a marking or sealing through Ezek. 9, he places this prophetic statement in past history, ignoring several key statements given in SOP about this subject.

“Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel, these words will be literally fulfilled.” (Manuscript releases, p.260)

We know Batchelor has spoken of Ezek. 9 for a future event, but he has never placed it in connection with Rev. 7 and putting it BEFORE the winds blow (Sunday Law) where Inspiration places it. This we feel is serious derelict of teaching duty.

Houteff does use Manu. Releases, p.260 along with the in-depth study of Ezek. 9. Houteff shows us that Ezek. 10 which comes after chapter 9 clearly shows us the scattering of God’s Spirit “coals of fire” upon the “city” the smaller purified church, to prepare it for the second harvest of the world (See Joel  2:1-11 and Isaiah 66:15-21)

Importantly Houteff points out that while we are to keep the Sabbath, our present truth today is what gets us sealed. That is to “sigh and cry” for all the abominations done in the church per Ezek. 9 instructions. Amazingly Batchelor, as far as we know, has never expanded upon this sighing and crying to be done today in the church. Houteff leaves no stone unturned in going into what sighing and crying is  and what are some of the abominations done in the church today (See SRod , volume 1, p. 29-35)

In conclusion, the teachings are a sharp contrast and each must seek the Lord in prayer to know the Truth. Once we “study to show yourselves approved”, we should have little problem knowing what is God’s word on the 144,000 and seal and what is learned men’s ideas.

Batchelor vs. Houteff on the 144,000 (Part 1 of 2)

May 19, 2018

 

Image result for picture doug batchelor  Image result for picture victor houteff

 

In today’s S.D.A church world there is very well-known pastor who is considered one of the leaders of our church movement. As many of you know we have spoken about Mr. Batchelor  several times on this blog. We agree that few contain as much knowledge of Scripture and SOP as Doug. His position as one of the prominent leaders of the S.D.A church today is undeniable. His organization “Amazing Facts” is vastly expanding yearly. With this in mind it would be illuminating and a chance to present the difference between “learned men” and what some consider– Inspiration.

As we near the end of our S.D.a probation, we thought it would be good to discuss one of the main doctrinal teachings of the Elijah message–the 144,000. This and the church reformation is what our Lord told us would be the primary focus for His people in the last days.

We know that the Spirit of Prophecy writings began with a vision of the 144,000, then decades later in 1930 we know that the Lord gave us our first instructions of His written Rod (Micah 6:9) —

“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.” (SRod, vol. 1, preface)

So no one should doubt today that this subject of the 144,000 is paramount to us as Adventists. Ok let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the two teachings, then you’ll decide which is Truth in the closet of prayer. Please pray BEFORE examining this study.

We will use Doug’s two-part YouTube series called “144,000 and the Seal of God” for his positions and we’ll use the Shepherd’s Rod writings for Victor Houteff’s position.

Let us first start with the Revelation Scripture that begins discussion on our subject —

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Rev. 7:1-4)

Question 1-   In this context, what does the four winds represent?

D.B —  Means “winds of strife” that will eventually blow upon the earth. The strife is “kind of summarized in the seven last plagues”.  This issue of what exactly the four winds represent in this Revelation context is largely not  discussed nor examined by DB. We wish we had more to give but that is basically all DB mentions about the winds.

VTH — Uses the following SOP reference for specific clarification.

“The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast. We came near having this realized in California a short time since; but this was only the threatening of the blowing of the four winds. As yet they are held by the four angels. We are not just ready. There is a work yet to be done, and then the angels will be bidden to let go, that the four winds may blow upon the earth. That will be a decisive time for God’s children, a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. Now is our opportunity to work.” (Testimonies, vol. 5, p.152)

VTH comments  —

“the winds” held by the four angels of Revelation 7:1, represent the angel’s holding back “the anger of the nations,”–the image of the beast,–also that the angels will not let “the winds” blow into being the image of the beast before the 144,000 are sealed. (“Early Writings,” p. 38.) (SC, vol.5, no.6-12, p.8)

 

 “Here are brought to view two hurtings about to take place: one by the winds, the other by the angels; and two commands to the angels: one that they restrain the winds, that the winds blow not “on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree” (Rev. 7:1); the other that the angels restrain themselves from hurting “the earth,… sea,” and “the trees,” till the servants of God are sealed. Rev. 7:2, 3). 

Since, therefore, as soon as the  servants of God are sealed both the winds and the angels will begin to hurt the question arises as to what the work of the winds and the work of the angels  represent — political strife or something else?  As the nations have always been at war, this two-fold work of hurting could not represent political strife. And as Jesus says that at the time of the end “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matt. 24:7), it is clear that the hurting by the winds, also the hurting by the angels both of which are kept back until the 144,000 are sealed, must be figurative of holding back the “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” Dan. 12:1. 

Accordingly, God’s restraining of the four winds is His holding back the image of the beast’s activity (Rev. 13:15-17) against the saints, while His restraining the four angels that they hurt not is His holding back the executing of His vengeance (Isa. 63:1-4; Jer. 51:18) upon the sinners who trouble the church, until after the sealing of the 144,000 is completed. Being coupled, these two hurtings bring the time of trouble such as never was.

   Revelation 7:1-3, therefore, reveals a two-fold conflict: wicked men against God (the blowing of the winds) and God against them (the angels hurting them).  But though the blowing of the winds and the hurting of the angels after the servants of God are sealed, will bring the “time of trouble,” yet “every one that shall be found written  in the book” “shall be delivered.” Dan. 12:1.

   From these facts we see that this time of trouble is held back in order to safeguard the sealing of the 144,000 servants, lest they, “the very elect,” be brought down to worship the image of the beast, or be killed for refusing.” (Tract 8, p.22-23)

Question 2 — Are the 144,000 spiritual descendants or literal descendants of the twelve tribes?

DB — Makes a special point of saying that the list of the twelve are not the same as frequently listed in the OT Bible. For instance here is a handy list of the progressive names/changes of the 12. This is done to set up one of his pillars for establishing that the 144,000 are spiritual descendants not literal.

12 Tribes of Israel

He says, “The idea that getting an even number from each of the tribes, that would be interesting, but I believe that they are actually talking about spiritual Jews. That could include literal Jews and it could include people who have been adopted into the seed of Abraham by accepting Christ. Let me tell you why.

You read in the Bible in the old Testament, you read in 2 Kings 17:6 , ten of the tribes were conquered by the Assyrians way back hundreds of years before Jesus was born.”

He goes on to point out that the two tribes of Judah did come back to Israel but the ten tribes were dispersed, intermarried and disappeared as a distinct people.

“So when Revelation says 12,000  from the tribe of Manasseh, could you please show me someone from the tribe of Manasseh or Isaachar or Zebulun? When you talk about Jews you are typically talking about people from Levi, Judah or Benjamin… You are not going to find people who are pure bred people from Zebulun, Manasseh, Issachar and so forth. So what does it mean?”

He then quotes Gal. 3:29 —
If you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and heir according to the promise.”

Romans 2:28, 29 —
“For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly: neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a jew which is one inwardly: and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit.”

“So the idea that to be one of the 144,000 you must have a DNA test is not taught in the Bible. God does not discriminate that way, if you are Abraham seed you are heirs according to the promise.”

Clearly DB does not believe in the literal application. Ok, fair enough ,let’s look at what the other view says.

VTH — has a specific report on this subject as follows —

“Whosoever has been converted to Christianity, accepting Christ as his personal Saviour, has had an experience which has completely overthrown and revolutionized his former plans and hopes, his entire way of life.  He has renounced the world and all its “pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25), and has become a new creature in Christ, born again, heir of the kingdom according to the promise!  This is what Jesus meant when He declared to Nicodemus: “Ye must be born again.” And Paul, having this experience in mind, says: “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal. 3:29.

   Regardless, therefore, whether one be Jew or Gentile, he can have no part in the kingdom of Christ, save through the second birth, by which he becomes one of the seed of Abraham.  This spiritual transformation, nevertheless, does not fix anyone’s racial identity and tribal  lineage.  It can not, in other words, make one Judaite if he is not descended of Judah, or make him Ephraimite, if he is not descended of Ephraim.  Consequently, the 144,000, being of the sons of Jacob, cannot be of the Gentile nations.  They therefore, first of all, are lineal descendants of Jacob, though

Not Necessarily of the Present Identifiable Jewish Stock

   The ten tribes (the kingdom of Israel) were  carried away, scattered throughout the cities of the Medes (2 Kings 17:6), and so completely submerged in the sea of life of the surrounding nations, and assimilated, that they were utterly lost sight of, racially, to human reckoning.

Similarly, as the two tribes (the kingdom of  Judah) were carried away into Babylon, with only a few returning to Jerusalem after the seventy years of their captivity was accomplished, a multitude also of them lost their identity.

   Then, too, the early Christian church was made up of Jews only: the apostles, the 120 in the upper room (Acts 1:15), and the 3,000 who were converted on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41) were all Jews, as were, indeed, virtually all those who “were added daily” for the first three and a half years after the crucifixion (Dan. 9:26, 27; Acts 2:47).  And even after this period was over, and the apostles were commissioned to take the gospel  to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46), many more Jews became Christians, and subsequently, as Christians rather than as Jews, were scattered among the nations.

   Clearly, therefore, in each instance most of the sons of Jacob lost their racial distinctiveness.  As the Lord, however, has ever kept the genealogies  of all nations, especially of the sons of Jacob, He will, as He has promised, “make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.  And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.  The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.” Ps. 87:4-6.

   Thus just as obvious as strange is the fact that no one today but the recognized Jew can vouch for his ancestry, with the result that the 144,000 can be gathered from almost every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and yet be of the sons of Jacob!

   “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Word of prophecy in this connection, “that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.  And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.” Isa. 11:11, 12; 27:12.

Since, therefore, history, logic, and scripture combine their evidences to prove unconditionally that God has preserved the genealogy of the chosen branch of the human race forward from Adam to Noah (Matt. 1:1-17), and backward from Jesus to Adam (Luke 3:23-38), He must, then, for a consistent reason, also have preserved  the identity of the elect today.  And this we see, is precisely what He has done in His designating the lineage of the 144,000, as “of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” Rev. 7:4. 

And though we know not what we are, and cannot ever of ourselves tell, the One Who knows all about us, even to the last hair of each head, knows our precise ancestry, although those of us who are to be gathered from the seed of Jacob are, says the prophet, as the sand of the sea,” whereas, comparatively speaking, the identifiable Jewish race of today, is but a handful to the nations, and therefore cannot today be the ones to whom apply.” (Tract 8, p.7-11)

So the two are presenting opposite views. DB saying it’s symbolic and not literal descendants and VTH believes they are a people with the bloodline “seed” passed on down through the ages. VTH establishes the point that the 144,000 are literal descendants of which God alone has kept tract of the bloodline. Let’s keep in mind that the tribes intermarried both in the OT and NT and thus the original Israelites and the Israelite Christians (early Christian followers) took Black, Brown, Asian, and other nationalities as wives. Thus today we cannot tell who is who–but God can and does!

NOTE: This is a in-depth issue connecting the 144,000 to the SDA church. The SOP tells us that the “Israel of today” is the S.D.A Church (see Testimonies, vol. 9, p.164) .See the following post for more clarification —

http://shepherds-rod.org/TGvol1/1tg37.htm

Question 3 — Are the 144,000 the only ones to be saved in the last days?

DB– Addresses this only from whether it applies from the world, does not mention or discuss whether it applies to the S.D.A church, The latter is a non-issue with him.

“If you do the math that would be pretty sad because there are about seven billion people in the world, and if only 144,000 are going to be saved, that means your chances are about 1 out of 50,000. It’s still better than the lottery in Florida, did you know that? No they are not the only ones saved. They are a special group of leaders.

Let me make the 144,000 really easy for you. In the same way that Jesus had twelve apostles that followed Him wherever He went, that had a special relationship with Him, that sang.. the Bible says that the only time Jesus sang, He sang with the twelve… Just like the twelve got the people ready for the first coming, there is going to be an army of apostles getting the world ready for the second coming.”

DB rightly says that the 144,000 are not all that are saved in the world, yet as mentioned he does not place any significance in the 144,000 and Ezekiel 9, which SOP does clearly in the following reference–

“This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision. John also had been a witness of this most startling revelation.” (Testimonies to Ministers, p.445)

So we must deal with this prophetic connection –Rev. 7 sealings and Ezekiel 9 sealings (markings) are the same event. The church purification and the birth of the 144,000. DB does not touch on this at all.

VTH — Addresses this from a S.D.A aspect. During his lifetime (died in 1955) some of the S.D.A leaders proclaimed that the 144,000 were the only ones to be saved. VTH addressed that with the following —

“The 144,000, let us note, are not from the Gentile nations, but strictly from the church, from the twelve tribes of Israel — from the descendants of Jacob (Rev. 7:3-8).  Then, to conclude that there will be no more than 144,000 living saints when Jesus comes the second time, is to say that not a soul from the Gentile nations is to be saved, which, of course, is contrary to the teachings of the Bible, not according to Jeremiah 8:20, not in harmony with the testimony of the prophets, though in harmony with the law.

   Moreover, the 144,000 are only the first fruits (Rev. 14:4) and where there is first there must be second fruits also else there cannot be first. Because there is a first resurrection we know that there is a second one.  Those that were seen after the sealing of the 144,000, the great multitude from all nations (Rev. 7:9) are, therefore, the second fruits.

   Besides their racial lineage of identification there are the words “first,” “fruits,” “servants of God,” “sealed” and “standing on Mount Zion” by which to identify who the 144,000 are and what they are.  Obviously they are called fruits because they are the result of the “harvest,” the work which separates the tares from the wheat.  The word “first” connotes that they are the first crop (group) to be harvested — separated from the “tares,” for Jesus explains that the harvest is the time in which to separate the tares from the wheat (Matt. 13:30).

   The harvest is variously termed: (1) the purification of the church (“Testimonies,” Vol. 5, p. 80); (2) the closing work for the church (“Testimonies,” Vol. 3, p. 266); (3) the time in which the bad fish are cast out, and the good put into vessels (Matt. 13:47, 48); (4) the cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:14); (5) purifying the temple (Mal. 3:1-3); (6) Judgment In the House of God (1 Pet. 4.17; Dan. 7:10).  This is Truth positive, you know, and every Seventh-day Adventist knows it, too.” (Jezreel Letter, No. 6  p.1-2)

However unlike DB, Houteff deals with this issue in a  specific way in regards to the S.D.A Church. The following references solemnly describe the 144,000 S.D.A issue.

“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.” (Sym. Code, vol.1, no.15, p.9)

So in regards to our church, VTH has a direct application of Rev. 7 sealings of the 144,000 applying to our SDA church. Thus the two men, are at opposite beliefs on this aspect of the 144,000 saved.  DB does not give any credence to it affecting our S.D.A church directly whereas VTH counters it has a profound direct relationship to us as Adventists.

This concludes our part 1 of this subject, next week we’ll finish with part 2. We’ll present a final summary as well.

 


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