THE CHILDREN OF THE BARREN MORE THAN THE CHILDREN OF THE BEARING WOMAN
TEXT FOR PRAYER
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” on page 201, beginning with the first paragraph.
“‘The way of transgressors is hard,’ but wisdom’s ways ‘are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.’ Every act of obedience to Christ, every act of self-denial for His sake, every trial well endured, every victory gained over temptation, is a step in the march to the glory of final victory. If we take Christ for our guide, He will lead us safely.…
“The road may be rough, and the ascent steep; there may be pitfalls upon the right hand and upon the left; we may have to endure toil in our journey; when weary, when longing for rest, we may have to toil on; when faint, we may have to fight; when discouraged, we must still hope; but with Christ as our guide, we shall not fail of reaching the desired haven at last.…”
According to the reading we ought to pray for wisdom and for determination to walk in the ways of the Lord. Only His ways are pleasantness and peace. When we must deny ourselves of something, or when we must endure a trial to gain a victory over temptation, we are to feel that these are steps toward final victory. And should see that to live the life of sin is, as it were, to live down in the gully, down where we naturally find ourselves from birth up. To get to live on the mountain top (the Kingdom) one must, as it were, climb the steep and rough mountain road. To climb the road may seem hard, but after the last step is made and the peak of the mountain reached, there is joy and comfort, confidence and victory which no language can describe.
THE CHILDREN OF THE BARREN MORE THAN THE CHILDREN OF THE BEARING WOMAN
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, MAY 3, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
Before we begin our study verse by verse of Isaiah fifty four, we shall read verse one.
Isa. 54:1 – “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.”
Two women are here brought to view: One is barren, and the other is not. The barren woman is encouraged to break forth into singing, for she is promised to have many more children than the one who is having children. To learn who these women are, let us turn to the fourth chapter of Galatians.
“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.” Gal. 4:22-24.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that Abraham had two wives and two sons. We all know the story, that when Γ4 God called Abraham to depart from his country and to go to an unknown land, God promised to give him a son. Something like twenty-five years passed by and still the arrival of a son was not in sight. Sarah was then about ninety years old (Gen. 17:17). During those years of Abraham’s and Sarah’s waiting for a son, Hagar became Abraham’s wife and through her Ishmael was born. Sarah, therefore, is the desolate woman (put aside), and Hagar is the one who has an husband. Accordingly Isaiah 54:1 is allegorically speaking of these two women and their children. As to what the allegory is about, the Apostle explains:–
“For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” Gal. 4:25, 26.
Agar symbolizes Jerusalem, the city of the Jews, the born after the flesh, whereas Sarah symbolizes Jerusalem that is to come, the city of the “born again,” the children of the promise.
“For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” Gal. 4:27-31.
Inspiration makes clear that allegorically Hagar Γ5 and her son, Ishmael, represent the church in the Old Testament period, and that Sarah and her son, Isaac, represent the church in the New Testament period. The membership of the Old Testament church was indeed of the flesh, for it was made up of whosoever was born from the stock of Jacob; but the members of the New Testament church, especially the ones here projected, are persons who have by the Spirit of Truth been converted to Christ. And as it was impossible for Isaac to have been born by the will of the flesh, just so impossible it is for these children of the Spirit of Truth to be born by the will of men.
God’s reason for the delay in fulfilling His promise to Sarah, therefore, is very obvious: He was writing both history and prophecy by the life of Abraham’s family. He caused Ishmael’s birth by delaying the birth of Isaac. Ishmael, therefore, the type of the Hebrews, the children after the flesh, preceded Isaac, the type of the Christians, the children of the promise.
Our greatest interest, however, is to know the time in which Isaiah 54 finds its entire fulfillment and the generation to which its allegorical prophecy especially applies, to know whether it was written especially for the benefit of the early Christian church, for the church in the Middle Ages, or for the church in our time. Since none of the New Testament writers comment except on the first verse of Isaiah 54, obviously the chapter was not written especially for the people at that time. Moreover, verse fourteen further proves the time to which the prophecy applies.
“In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: Γ6 and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Isa. 54:14.
The promise to this later section of the Christian church is that she shall be far from oppression (be not ruled by another people); that terror will not come near her; and that she will have no need to fear. In view of the fact that the church heretofore has never been free from any of these, logic rules that she is yet to realize these promises. Hence, the generation to which this chapter is addressed, the church that is to receive these promises is not in the past, but in the future. And the fact that Inspiration now for the first time unseals these long concealed promises, and now brings them to attention, makes them “meat in due season,” the truth is obvious: The church, after this announcement has done its work, is soon to merge into this glorious period of time. Furthermore, verse fifteen says:
“Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” Isa. 54:15.
Here she is warned that her enemies will gather together against her, but not by the Lord. They will, therefore, not prosper, but will fall for her sake. Her enemies will never again be able to carry any of her members into captivity, not into prison, or in flames of fire, nor into dens of beasts – she is never again to see the Assyrian or the Chaldeans prosper against her; neither is she any more to suffer the persecutions by the Jews and by the Romans. All of these are now in the past and their reoccurrence will have no effect on her.
“Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an Γ7 instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.” Isa. 54:16, 17.
So far, the weapons that were formed against the church have prospered, but the church here in prophecy is to be protected. And being completely in God’s hand, everyone that rises against her in judgment she will condemn by Truth and righteousness. Our existence and success in the work of God, therefore, is no longer a mystery: Prophecy plainly points out that many are rising against us, but none have and none will ever prosper. God Who created the smith and the waster to destroy, is just as well able to create peace and security. The Spirit of Prophecy reiterates thus:
“As the saints left the cities and villages, they were pursued by the wicked, who sought to slay them. But the swords that were raised to kill God’s people broke and fell as powerless as a straw. Angels of God shielded the saints. As they cried day and night for deliverance, their cry came up before the Lord.” – “Early Writings,” pp. 284, 285.
“…But if His people remain separate and distinct from the world, as a nation that do righteousness, God will be their defense, and no weapons formed against them shall prosper.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pg. 601.
The lesson is clear: The church is emerging from one period and merging into another. She is at the dawn of a new day. Her glory is now to be manifested, Γ8 her great work finished, and all her children (a great multitude) saved. Rather than her enemies triumphing over her, she is to triumph over them.
Since the church, as a whole, is here represented by both mother and children, we should know what part of the church is represented by the mother and what part by the children.
According to verse seventeen, the chapter concludes that “the servants of the Lord,” those who bring forth converts, constitute the mother, and their converts, the laity, constitute the children.
What is meant by her travailing in birth? – For the answer let us turn to Galatians 4:19: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.…” Those for whom the Apostle Paul was laboring to bring the Lord to their knowledge, he says he was travailing in birth for them until Christ be formed in them, until they be fully converted to Him – be born again.
Now that we understand the allegory of these two women, and of their children, also the time for which Isaiah 54 was written, we shall study the chapter briefly verse by verse in all its details as far as God permits.
Isa. 54:2, 3 – “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.”
All these terms – enlarge, stretch, spare not, lengthen, and strengthen – mean to do everything possible Γ9 to amply meet the situation, to make accommodations for a larger number of converts, to do everything possible now so that when you break on the right and on the left, when the multitude of converts begin to pour in, you be not confused and unable to accommodate. Do not disappoint the people. And, moreover, assures the Lord: “Thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” The prophecy, therefore, brings us to the days of restitution of all things (Matt. 17:11).
Verse 4 – “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.”
Yes, she is reassured that she need no longer fear, need not be thrown into disorder and confusion any more, that she shall forget her reproach and widowhood (God’s departing from her).
Verse 5 – “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called.”
Our enemies may say anything they wish, but God Himself testifies that He is our God, the God that made us, the Redeemer, the God of the whole earth.
Verses 6, 7 – “For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.”
The statement, “for a small moment have I forsaken thee,” being set forth in contrast to the statement, “but with great mercies will I gather thee,” shows that God’s forsaking her is her dispersion among the Gentiles, and that her gathering is her returning to the homeland, her inhabiting the desolate cities.
Verses 8, 9 – “In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.”
That which she has gone through she will go through no more, – as sure a promise as the promise to Noah: “I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.” Gen. 9:13.
Verses 10, 11 – “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.”
What else could her “stones” stand for if not for her members (the children)? And what could her foundations depict if not her Apostles (founders), those whom the Lord uses for the work of such a revival and reformation? Such was the privilege of the twelve apostles at the beginning of the Christian church. Recognizing this glorious fact, Inspiration wrote:
“And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Rev. 21:14.
The statement, “I will lay thy foundations with sapphires,” denotes that she is now being founded, that the Lord is now building from the bottom up.
Verse 12 – “And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.”
If the literal use of windows is to give light and air, then what could this symbolism denote if not her “seers,” those who bring light and Truth to the church of God? And if literal gates are used to keep out the undesirable elements, then in the spiritual realm they must symbolize her watchmen, the ministry.
What a wonderful illustration! What a sanctified group of people it vividly projects! – Stones of fair colors, and foundations of sapphires, windows of agates, gates of carbuncles, and all her borders of pleasant stones! every soul a jewel! “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”
“For Zion’s sake” says the Lord, “will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land Γ12 any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” Isa. 62:1-4.
Now it is plainly seen that Laodiceanism shall forever pass away, that God will have a church without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing. You cannot afford to be left out of it. You must join the advocates of this Truth if you are to become a part of this glorious movement.
Verses 13-17 – “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.”
Evidently we are slow to be convinced that the Mighty God of Jacob is able to protect and to keep us from all evil else He would not be trying time and again to convince us of His ability by further explaining that as He has created the “smith” and the “waster” and has put them to work, just so He is able to make their instruments and efforts of none effect. God’s persuasion, you see, is such that a little child can understand.
All these promises are the heritage of the servants of the Lord. How can we afford to let them go? Are they not cheap enough? Since faith is all they cost, let us therefore believe and they shall be ours forevermore.
We have now learned that Abraham’s two wives and two sons are an allegorical forecast of the Old and New Testament churches; that Ishmael’s arrival prefigured fleshly Israel and that Isaac’s arrival prefigured spiritual Israel, the Christians; that Ishmael persecuting Isaac was a forecast of the Jews persecuting the Christians; that Abraham’s act of disinheriting and sending Hagar and her son away from home, foreshadowed God’s act of putting away and disinheriting fleshly Israel – that only those who are “born again,” born of the Spirit, will inherit the Kingdom; that Isaac, who came into this world only by the power of God, foreshadowed the Christian church, but especially the soon-coming Kingdom church in which there is to be no Ishmaelite – no person brought in by the will of the flesh – no “tares,” no “bad fish,” no “goats” – only saints, only “such as should be saved,” and no one can be “such as should be saved” if he does not believe what the Word says, if he does not take his stand on Truth’s side. Only they that hunger for Truth and righteousness will be filled and become His precious jewels, fit to be a part of this Lord’s Jewel building. “And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” Mal. 3:17, 18. It is a terrible thing to disbelieve the Word of God, or to be indifferent, indecisive, and inactive.
ZION IN THE HEIGHT OF HER GLORY
TEXT FOR PRAYER
A Battle And A March
We shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” page 203, beginning with the second paragraph.
“The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart.… The old nature, born of blood and of the will of the flesh, can not inherit the kingdom of God. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits must be given up.
“He who determines to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of an unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Selfishness and pride will make a stand against anything that would show them to be sinful. We can not, of ourselves, conquer the evil desires and habits that strive for the mastery. We can not overcome the mighty foe who holds us in his thrall. God alone can give us the victory. He desired us to have the mastery over ourselves, our own will and ways. But He can not work in us without our consent and cooperation. The divine Spirit works through the faculties and powers given to man. Our energies are required to cooperate with God.”
The old nature, the nature that we are born with, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. According to this reading our need is to pray for ability to surrender our hearts, our all to God. When we do this, we shall be quite different than what we are now – our old nature will vanish away.
ZION IN THE HEIGHT OF HER GLORY
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, MAY 10, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
Our study for this afternoon is from the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah. There we read: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isa. 60:1.
The first thing we need to know in this study is the person whom Inspiration asks to arise. This chapter being a continuation of the fifty-fourth chapter, we will, therefore, look there for the information. There it is shown that it is the barren woman, God’s servants in the Christian church. He is calling His church to arise and to shine because her “light is come.” As to whether He is addressing His servants at this present time, in the past, or in the future, let us read again–
“Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.” Isa. 60:21.
This verse does not say that her people are already righteous, but that they shall be righteous. It does not say that they have inherited the land, but that they shall inherit it. His church, therefore, is to be purified and made white by God’s doing away with the “tares.”
Since her people have never to this day been all righteous, it is plain to see that the fulfillment of the prophecy is yet future. And in view of the fact that our message is announcing the imminent purification of the church, the time in which the angels are to sift out the hypocrites from among the faithful, the time in which the net is drawn to shore and the bad fish cast out, the cleansing of the sanctuary – the Judgment for the Living in “the house of God” (1 Pet. 4:17) is about to begin, Inspiration, therefore, in this chapter is addressing God’s church at this particular time. Since we now see that this chapter contains important timely Truth, we shall study it verse by verse.
Isa. 60:1 – “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”
Who can truthfully say that our light is not come? that our message is not timely Truth? None who are in contact with It, I am sure. Inspiration is, therefore, inviting God’s people, the Denomination, along with us, to arise and shine. The word “shine” is what we must study next that we may know what is required of us.
A black, dirty object never reflects, it consumes all the light to itself. The moon shines because its surface is of white substance. If it were made of black substance it could not reflect any light whatever. The same is true with spiritual light: If we are eager to shine, we must now arise and clean up, put away our black, filthy garments – take an active part in this revival and reformation under the supervision of the Holy Spirit. Stupidity, fanaticism, and indifference must be abandoned and Divine thinking put in action, so commands the Lord:
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous Γ17 man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isa. 55:7-11.
We must clean up our thoughts, our ways, our bodies, our clothes, our homes inside and out. Cleanliness is Godliness; God’s government is law and order, peace and righteousness, joy and contentment. Thus we need to be polished by the Spirit of God, be altogether Christians if we are to “shine,” if we are ever to reflect the Word of God to those who sit in darkness. If you have taken care of all the things the message teaches, then as your supreme duty and Divine privilege, take what Inspiration says: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Those who are now sitting down as dark objects, consuming light to themselves, should now embrace the opportunity and welcome the privilege. Today is your opportunity.
Verse 2 – “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.”
The word “behold” connotes that if you look, you can see the signs of darkness already hovering about you. “Gross darkness” means that the people will be at a complete loss to know which way to turn, that they will be entirely confused and perplexed. Now is our opportunity to respond to the Lord’s call and to get ready to meet the situation. We should now fully realize that we are in reality called to be the light to the Denomination, and ultimately to the world. Wonderful indeed that we should be the chosen ones from among the great masses of the world! You cannot afford to miss on this privilege. Act now.
Verse 3 – “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
We are now the most obscure people in the world, but the day is already here in which we shall be best known. Here is the sure promise that if we now arise from sitting down and make the effort to reach God’s set goal for us, the result shall be that the Gentiles shall come to our light and the kings to the brightness of our rising. This is the acceptable day for you.
Verse 4 – “Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.”
Even now if we lift our spiritual eyes, says the Lord, we shall see that all things are now ready. The call, along with the signs of the times is too plain for one to suppose that the day is far off. Our sons and daughters in this message are soon to be gathered unto us from the ends of the earth.
Verse 5 – “Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and Γ19 thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”
When this comes to pass, then the remnant shall plainly see and flow together, the abundance of the wealth of the Gentiles shall be turned over to them.
Verses 6-9 – “The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on Mine altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee.”
Our sons and daughters in the faith shall come as a storm by air and by sea. They shall come because the Lord will glorify all His people. The call, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4), shall indeed along with the wealth of the Gentiles bring out “a great multitude which no man can number.” Rev. 7:9.
Verse 10 – “And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in My wrath I smote thee, but in My favour have I had mercy on thee.”
In Ezra and Nehemiah’s time the people of God, the Jews, themselves had to build against great odds, but for the church purified, the Gentiles shall gladly build. Not only the common people but even their kings are to minister to the servants of God. Kings are now the bosses, but the day is almost here in which God’s servants shall boss the kings, and the kings shall be glad to be bossed by them.
Verse 11 – “Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.”
Because of our response to God’s call and because of our rising to shine for Him, many people shall say: “…Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isa. 2:3. For this very obvious reason the gates as it were, would have to stay open day and night in order to accommodate the traffic – the incoming saints, the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings. Plainly, then, the great need is not the “Harvest Ingathering” campaign, not the multiple collections, not the book sale days – not any goal-raising campaigns – but to take this “golden oil” for our lamps and to “arise and shine” is what the church needs today.
Verses 12, 13 – “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious.”
The place where the Lord’s feet shall then stand is “the valley of the mountains” (Zech. 14:5); it is to be made most glorious.
Verses 14-16 – “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
As babies are admirably treated and nursed, so shall the Gentiles and their kings gladly wait on the saints and from their abundance shall cheerfully feed God’s servants.
Verse 17 – “For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.”
Yes, of better than the best shall the house of God be built.
Verse 18 – “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.”
Now when the world needs and longs for peace more than ever before, God, Who only is able to give it is loudly declaring that those who really want peace Γ22 can have it if they but come to Him. This hope and faith in the promises of God is even now to be our only peace of mind if we really believe.
Verses 19-22 – “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.”
When all God’s servants as one “arise and shine,” then a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. Then the Saints will be quickly gathered and wickedness brought to an end. This is God’s way for finishing the gospel work and we had better abandon our man-conceived ideas of it and wholeheartedly respond to God’s call if we expect to survive through the “great and dreadful day” of the Lord, if we expect to rejoice in the height of Zion’s glory. If we stand faithful to God’s Word, we shall finally behold all these wonders and live for evermore.
THE FRUITS OF THE ANOINTED ONE
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Willing To Be Made Willing
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” beginning on page 204, the first paragraph:
“The victory is not won without much earnest prayer, without the humbling of self at every step. Our will is not to be forced into cooperation with divine agencies, but it must be voluntarily submitted. Were it possible to force upon you with a hundred-fold greater intensity the influence of the Spirit of God, it would not make you a Christian, a fit subject for heaven.… The will must be placed on the side of God’s will. You are not able, of yourself, to bring your purposes and desires and inclinations into submission to the will of God; but if you are ‘willing to be made willing,’ God will accomplish the work for you.… But many are attracted by the beauty of Christ and the glory of heaven, who yet shrink from the conditions by which alone these can become their own.…To renounce their own will, their chosen objects of affection or pursuit, requires a sacrifice at which they hesitate, and falter, and turn back. Many ‘will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’”
What are we to pray for this evening? – Let us remember that self is the only barrier between us and God, and that God will never force us to come to Him. Let us ask Him for power to use the grace He so freely provides. He would not have made us free moral agents if He did not expect us to use our wills. We should ask Him to help us to be “willing to be made willing,” and then join our wills to His, and so “work out our own salvation.” We need the strength of God to resist all evil, to overcome the world as Jesus overcame.
THE FRUITS OF THE ANOINTED ONE
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, MAY 17, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
We shall study the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, beginning with the first verse:
Isa. 61:1, 2 – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.”
These are the two verses which Jesus read as He stood in the synagogue of the city of Nazareth, the place where He was brought up. He read these verses and then sat down without making any comments. As His listeners were still in a stupor as to why He had read and then had sat down without adding a word, Jesus arose again and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
The reason given for the Spirit’s power upon Him is that the Lord God had anointed Him to preach good tidings unto the meek, implying that if the Lord had not anointed Him to preach, the Spirit of the Lord would not have been on Him. Moreover, He was anointed to preach to the meek, to those who are not Γ25 self-sufficient, not high-minded, but humble and teachable; the other class could not be taught. He was to comfort all that mourn, to bind the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives (not to free them immediately). “The acceptable year of the Lord” is, of course, the time in which the scripture is fulfilled, the time it is unsealed and proclaimed. Those who give no heed to it are to be swept away in the “day of vengeance.” These were the good tidings for which Jesus was anointed. Unbelief and indifference in revealed Truth is an insult to God and a sin against the Holy Ghost Who leads into all Truth.
Simply because the Saviour preached these two verses, however, we must not conclude that the whole chapter was then fulfilled or that the fulfillment of these two verses could not again be fulfilled at the time the rest of the chapter is fulfilled. As the same Spirit was also upon the Apostles – upon those who furthered the Lord’s message in that day, so also it must be in this day, in the day the whole chapter is fulfilled.
The duty of those who proclaim this chapter’s message is:
Verse 3 – “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”
The burden of the Spirit is to improve the spiritual conditions of those who mourn in Zion, the church: to give them beauty for ashes (for repentance and humbleness), oil of joy for mourning (Present Truth that hopefully lightens the rest of the way) and garments (character) Γ26 of praise so that they be as living ornaments of righteousness, a new creation of God, that He be glorified.
Here is seen that the original creation of God which has been lost through sin, is to be restored. Now is the acceptable day to open your heart, to take in present Truth, to recreate and restore that which was lost through sin.
Verse 4 – “And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.”
Those who are made glad and beautiful, who are clothed with praise and who become trees of righteousness – the planting of the Lord. His triumphant servants, the guileless Ezras and Nehemiahs of today, are to restore all things.
Verse 5 – “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.”
The strangers and aliens here mentioned, are of course not strangers and aliens to the Kingdom of God, but to the nation not a blood relation to Judah and Israel, not of the stock of Jacob, not of the 144,000 who first stand on Mount Zion, but with them.
Verse 6 – “But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.”
In the forthcoming antitypical Kingdom of Judah, therefore, there shall be two groups of people – ministers and laity.
From these scriptures we see that the Kingdom of God, the church purified, free from “tares” is a real thing. It is not something imaginary, not something foamy floating and lost in space, but right here on earth.
Verse 7 – “For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.”
These ministers of God are to have double because of the shame which they have endured, all such rejoice in their portion. Are you disposed to suffer for Christ’s sake? Are you like or unlike those who seek joy and friendship from the world and who sooner or later are to find themselves in great disappointment? Believe! that is all.
Verse 8 – “For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in Truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.”
Judgment and justice is God’s motto for all His creatures. The statement, “I hate robbery for burnt offering,” implies that such unbecoming things are now practiced among His people. In this connection, some years ago I heard a certain member of the church say that in some kind of gambling he had won a little money and as his conscience hurt him to keep it, he gave it as an offering to His church! Also, I have heard several say that they work on the Sabbath, but Γ28 that they turn the Sabbath’s earnings over to the church! These incidents may serve as samples of how foolish, how uneducated in the things of God are the people of God. By bringing such offerings to Him they are making God a gambler and a Sabbath-breaker, and at the same time they imagine that they are doing Him a great favor!
God’s promise to His people is: “I will direct their work in Truth.” Are we then to question His ability to perform and at the same time expect Him to give us a home in His Kingdom?
Verse 9 – “And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.”
What a blessed hope! What a power to save both the young and the old and to make their names known world-wide! For such a fame as this, people would go through almost any torture known to mankind. God, though, is only asking you to believe and to comply with His Word, – yes, that is all.
Christianity is to become a real thing, so real that the Gentiles will acknowledge that such Christians can only be the planting of the Lord, and that only the power of God can bring such a change in the human heart, and cause His saints to say:
Verse 10 – “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”
This chapter of Isaiah the prophet is indeed to bring “revival and reformation” such as has never taken place since the beginning of sin. God forbid that any one of us should miss the experience and the blessings that come through this revival and reformation.
Verse 11 – “For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.”
Through the seed of Truth in the heart this experience will come to God’s people as naturally as does the earth cause the seed sown in it to bud and bring forth fruit. This is indeed the “righteousness of Christ,” not the might of men.
Summing up this study, we learn that the fruits of the anointed One are these:
That Jesus was anointed to preach the good news, news that He was to open the prison door of sin, to bind up the wounds of God’s people, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to comfort those who mourn, and to give all an opportunity to escape “the day of vengeance”; that because He was thus anointed He was fitted to comfort them that mourn in Zion, to bring beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the gift of praise in place of heaviness, that they might be called “trees of righteousness,” and that God might thereby be glorified; that through the gift of the Spirit His people shall be enabled to build up the desolated places of many generations; that those who are called now are to be ministers of God “and they shall eat the riches of the Gentiles,” and glory in them, and “strangers and aliens” shall be their shepherds and Γ30 “vinedressers”; that then their shame and confusion will be changed into everlasting joy; that as God hates robbery, He will direct the work in Truth and make an everlasting covenant with them that know Him; that then their seed shall be known to the Gentiles and among the people and they will acknowledge that God has blessed His people; that because the anointed One clothes His people with the garment of salvation, and the robe of righteousness, the testimony of His children will be, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord”; and as a bride adorns herself with jewels so the spiritual adornments, given through these gifts will bring on the “revival and reformation”; and that, as nature brings to fruition the seed sown in the ground, so the anointed One will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations.
“Ample provisions have been made for all who sincerely, earnestly, and thoughtfully set about the work of perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Strength, grace, and glory have been provided through Christ, to be brought by ministering angels to the heirs of salvation. None are so low, so corrupt and vile, that they cannot find in Jesus, who died for them, strength, purity, and righteousness, if they will put away their sins, cease their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God. He is waiting to strip them of their garments, stained and polluted by sin, and to put upon them the white, bright robes of righteousness; and he bids them live and not die. In him they may flourish. Their branches will not wither nor be fruitless. If they abide in him, they can draw sap and nourishment from him, be imbued with his Spirit, walk even as he walked, overcome as he overcame, and be exalted to his own right hand.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 2, pg. 453.
THERE’S A WIDENESS IN GOD’S MERCY
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Saviour
There is healing in His blood.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind
And the heart of the eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His Word;
And our lives should be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.
–Frederick W. Faber.