THE SERVANTS OF GOD IN THE GATHERING TIME
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Founded Upon A Rock
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” beginning on page 211 –
“The people had been deeply moved by the words of Christ…. His words had struck at the very root of their former ideas and opinions; to obey His teaching would require a change in all their habits of thought and action. It would bring them into collision with their religious teachers….”
Since the teachings of Christ require a change in thought and action, we should not be surprised if that is what His message of today would require of us. Let us conclude today’s reading by turning to page 216.
“…He who, like the Jews in Christ’s day, builds on the foundation of human ideas and opinions, of forms and ceremonies of man’s invention, or on any works that he can do independently of the grace of Christ, is erecting his structure of character upon the shifting sand. The fierce tempests of temptation will sweep away the sandy foundation, and leave his house a wreck on the shores of time.”
Let us pray for God to help us make sure that the foundation of our faith is built upon God’s Word, the solid Rock; that we might know that anything short of it will sooner or later fall; that we let the Lord have His way in us; that we let Him change our habits and practices from what they are to what they ought to be.
THE SERVANTS OF GOD IN THE GATHERING TIME
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, JUNE 21, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
We are to study the forty-ninth chapter of Isaiah. This chapter points out the servants of God in the gathering time, their racial lineage, and their need for territorial expansion. We shall begin the study with the first three verses.
Isa. 49:1-3 – “Listen, O isles, unto Me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name. And He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me; and said unto me, Thou art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
The Spirit of God in the person of Israel, through the prophet Isaiah declares that Israel was born for no other reason than to be God’s servant, and urges that this fact must now be made known throughout the world, even to the isles of the sea.
Since Jacob himself was dead long before Isaiah the prophet wrote, the truth clearly stands out that the Spirit of God in this scripture speaks, not personally to Jacob himself, but to his descendants, to those to whom this Truth is made known, and who now bear Γ4 the responsibility to broadcast It far and wide; plainly, then, the people in whom the Lord is to be glorified, and who again bring Jacob to Him (Isa. 49:3, 5) are themselves, too, to be made known internationally. They are those who finish the gospel work – the very last. To them the Lord gives a mouth as sharp as a sword.
These are to be His servants during the gathering of the people, the day in which the Lord is glorified. Their being hid, as it were, in His quiver, connotes that their coming into the limelight is to be a complete surprise to all: For the first time the world is to learn that these servants of God are the tail end of Jacob’s descendants, His hidden servants, those who are to gather His people even from the isles of the seas.
Again, it is written – “In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and he cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But, it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pp. 80, 81.
Verse 4 – “Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.”
At the outset of their labor the results must be such as to bring almost a complete discouragement.
They nevertheless know that they are appointed by God, and so they leave their judgment, their work and success with Him.
Verse 5 – “And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.”
For their encouragement they are told that even though Israel be not gathered (he will, however, be gathered), yet they shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and the Lord God shall be their strength. Since they are now (not at another time but in the day this prophecy is fulfilled) called to bring Jacob to the Lord again, it shows that Jacob (the people of God in their Jacobite state) must have departed from the Lord. Now they must be brought back to Him by a mighty revival and reformation.
Verse 6 – “And He said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.”
This scripture had as its type the time when the Apostles were finally instructed to preach the gospel to Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Now to raise up the tribes of Jacob, is first to raise up the first fruits, 144,000 – 12,000 out of each tribe of Israel (Rev. 7:3). Moreover, to be a light and salvation to the ends of the earth, means that these latter-day servants of God are to finish the gospel work, are to preach the gospel of the Kingdom in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and thus bring the end (Matt. 24:14).
It is our privilege, therefore, not only to bring the light of God to the Denomination where the “first-fruits” (the 144,000 – Rev. 14:4) of the great spiritual harvest are, but even to bring the same light to the second fruits, to the great multitude that are gathered out of all nations, a multitude which no man can number (Rev. 7:9).
Those who are thus privileged are, as God Himself testifies, the descendants of Jacob, “the lost tribes of Israel” who are now coming to light.
Verse 7 – “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose thee.”
The Lord is here seen to speak to a peoAple whom men despise, to them whom the nation abhors, to servants of rulers – to laymen, not to Denominationally recognized ministers. This servant of the Lord, the Scripture makes clear, is despised and abhorred as much as was the Lord Himself. The hate, then, that is heaped upon us by our Laodicean brethren, must not be a discouragement to us, but rather a great encouragement. And Why? – Because the Spirit of the Lord Himself testifies that we are the servants of God for this time, that He is to bless our work so much so that even kings shall see our rising and princes also shall come and worship.
Verse 8 – “Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for Γ7 a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.”
God has heard us in probationary time, a time in which we can be sealed and be preserved for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to inherit the desolate heritages – to restore all things.
Verse 9 – “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.”
It matters not where God’s people be, nor under what circumstances they be placed, they shall nevertheless all hear His servants proclaiming the year of final Jubilee, and all are to be let out free, all are to share this great ever-increasing spiritual feast.
Verses 10, 11 – “They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them. And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted.”
The Lord here guarantees that now in the gathering time there shall be no obstruction of any kind, that He is master of the situation.
Verse 12 – “Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.”
God’s highway shall be filled and exalted, and a multitude, gathered from the four corners of the earth, shall safely walk therein.
Verse 13 – “Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted.”
Not that the Lord will comfort His people, but that He has already comforted them, He has filled them with Truth.
Verse 14 – “But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.”
Before they are sealed, those who are to be the inhabitants of Zion (the 144,000) think God has forsaken them. God’s answer to them, though, is this:
Verse 15 – “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”
Even though some, rather than praying for the re-establishing of Zion, are actually praying against it, nevertheless they, too, will soon find out that God is entirely for it.
Verse 16 – “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.”
From all natural appearances it seems that God has forgotten Zion, the place of His earthly throne; that He has left His enemies to abuse His people and to deface Zion’s exalted hill, but the Lord Himself assures that for Zion’s sake and for her people’s freedom, was He nailed on the cross.
Verse 17 – “Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers Γ9 and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.”
Zion’s children shall be anxious to get to her, but her enemies, the sinners will be driven away from her.
Verses 18, 19 – “Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth. For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.”
The word “behold” calls attention to a goodly number of precious souls already preparing to come. In them shall God’s servants glory. Moreover, in spite of the great number of unrepentant sinners that are to be taken away, the land shall even then be too narrow because of the great incoming multitude.
Verse 20 – “The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.”
From this verse we gather that the children which Zion shall lose, are those who refuse to be converted. Her loss, though, is to be replaced with a great number from all nations and thus shall the land become too narrow. The verses that follow, reaffirm this view:
Verses 21-23 – “Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Γ10 Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up Mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up My standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.”
Though we may now be either hated or unknown, the day is coming when we shall be comforted. The great men of earth shall then, so to speak, “lick up the dust” of our feet.
Verses 24, 25 – “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.”
No power in the world shall any longer be able to hold God’s people down in the dust.
Verse 26 – “And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Our enemies shall kill one another with as great zeal as if they had filled themselves with sweet wine. Γ11 Then those that remain shall recognize that the Lord, the mighty one of Jacob, is our Saviour and Redeemer. Shall we therefore still sleep on? Or shall we arise in the righteousness of Christ and get ready to meet the Lord and to be with Him in His Kingdom? Your opportunity and the time of your decision is now come and cannot be put off. You must take a firm and active stand with this laymen’s movement, in this the work of which is first for the church, then for the world.
JACOB’S TIME OF TROUBLE; JUDAH AND ISRAEL GOING HOME
TEXT FOR PRAYER
God’s Merciful Plea
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” page 217, beginning with the first paragraph–
“But to-day mercy pleads with the sinner. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?’ The voice that speaks to the impenitent to-day is the voice of Him who in heart-anguish exclaimed as He beheld the city of His love: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate!’ In Jerusalem, Jesus beheld a symbol of the world that had rejected and despised His grace. He was weeping, O stubborn heart, for you! Even when Jesus’ tears were shed upon the mount, Jerusalem might yet have repented, and escaped her doom. For a little space the Gift of heaven still waited her acceptance. So, O heart, to you Christ is still speaking in accents of love: ‘Behold I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.’ ‘Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’”
We should pray that we gladly respond to God’s merciful plea; that we realize that His aim is to save us from eternal ruin; that we should respond now in the day of salvation; that we know He is pleading for us today as He pled for Jerusalem at the time of His first advent; that the door of our hearts be never closed to Him.
JACOB’S TIME OF TROUBLE; JUDAH AND ISRAEL GOING HOME
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, JUNE 28, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
We are now to continue the same subject which we have been studying from the book of Isaiah, but today we shall study it from the book of Jeremiah.
To begin with, we shall notice that the first chapters of the book deal with ancient Judah and Israel, with their sins and stubbornness of heart, and with their resultant dispersion throughout the Gentile nations. The thirtieth chapter, however, deals, not with the scattering of ancient Judah and Israel, but with the gathering of Judah and Israel in our day.
We shall now begin our study with the first three verses–
Jer. 30:1-3 – “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.”
Note that both Judah and Israel together have the promise of returning to their homeland. As this has Γ14 never yet been realized, the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
Verses 4-6 – “And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?”
The cause of the fear here forecast is fundamentally needless and unnecessary, declares the Lord.
Verse 7 – “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.”
The people that have come to this antitypical time of trouble are returning to the homeland, are comforted. Apparently it is bad enough to frighten all, but God’s encouraging counsel is, “Fear not.”
Plainly, the burden of this chapter is concerning the antitypical returning to the homeland. Though terrible the trouble may seem, yet the outcome of it is to be the same as in the type. Right now we may not appreciate this study as we ought to, but the time is soon coming in which we will dig as fast and as hard for it as we would to get out from under an avalanche. Those who have but little faith in the Word of God though, the study will not do them much good. Now is the time to start cultivating the faith we need to have then.
Jacob, our type, well knew that God had directed his return from Padanaram to the homeland, yet he trembled when he heard that Esau, with four hundred men were on the way to meet him. Besides, he was led to wrestle with the angel all night long. He prevailed only because he would not let the Angel go until He blest him. The final result was that on the morrow, Esau, rather than destroying the whole company, very kindly greeted Jacob with a kiss, and cordially invited him to return home! So when it all worked itself out, Jacob plainly saw that there was no need at all to have ever feared. How encouraging that “all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Cor. 10:11. That which happened to Jacob is sure to happen to us, and how comforting to know all this ahead of time. Now, if never before we should see that where there is a type there is also an antitype, and that where there is no type, there is no Truth.
Verse 8 – “For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him.”
This verse plainly says that God is to free His people from the Gentile yoke, and that strangers [unconverted] shall no more trouble them.
Verse 9 – “But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.”
No longer shall the followers of Truth serve others, but they shall serve the Lord, and a king whom God Himself shall provide.
Verse 10 – “Therefore fear thou not, O My servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.”
There is therefore no need of fear, but there is a need for faith in the promises of God.
Verse 11 – “For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”
The punishment dealt to Israel is their being scattered among the Gentiles as amplified in the verses which follow. The time of freedom has nevertheless come, and for this we should be glad and give God the glory.
Verses 12-19 – “For thus saith the Lord, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee. Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I will restore Γ17 health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.”
After having gone through their captivity, the people shall fully realize God’s mercy and His wisdom to save them. They shall be happy forevermore, for He will multiply them in the land of their fathers, and there He will make them great.
Verse 20 – “Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before Me, and I will punish all that oppress them.”
The Kingdom (the church purified and apart from the world) is to be as natural and as real as was the kingdom of ancient Israel, but there will be no sinners in It.
Verses 21-23 – “And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto Me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto Me? saith the Lord. And ye shall be My people, and I will be your God. Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.”
Their nobles shall be of themselves; that is, this Kingdom shall be self-governing under theocracy. The word “behold” calls attention to something that can be seen and therefore implies that the Lord’s whirlwind is already doing its work. No wonder, then, that we are now having disturbance of all kinds, and heavy loss of life and property throughout the earth.
Verse 24 – “The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have done it, and until He have performed the intents of His heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.”
The very fact that these truths are now revealed, and also the fact that the things foretold by the Scriptures are now taking place, plainly show that we are now living in the latter days, – the days in which we must consider the cause of the evils which envelop the whole world, and make our calling and election sure.
How thankful we ought to be that the Lord is feeding us with “meat in due season”! Though people kill one another by the millions in order to free themselves from the yoke of some other nation, Moses freed ancient Israel without a casualty. We should now know that faith removes mountains, while doubt ruins nations. We should no longer be fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have written (Lu. 24:25) “Believe” was Jesus’ motto, and it should be ours, too. No doubters will ever enter His Kingdom.
These things are written “that ye might believe….” John 20:31.
There is but one sensible conclusion that you can come to, and that is to whole-heartedly accept and to comply with all the prophets have written. Let no one divert your attention from this Truth.
GOD’S CERTIFICATION TO RESURRECT, PURIFY, AND CONSOLIDATE JUDAH AND ISRAEL
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Build On A Sure Foundation
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” page 217,beginning with the second paragraph. Incidentally, this is the last chapter in the book.
“You who are resting your hope on self, are building on the sand. But it is not yet too late to escape the impending ruin. Before the tempest breaks, flee to the sure foundation. ‘Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone of sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste.’ ‘Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.’ ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.’ ‘Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.’”
We are now to pray that we break away from self and wholly rely on God; that we build, not upon a sandy foundation, but upon the solid Rock, upon a sure foundation that will not be swept away when the storm comes.
GOD’S CERTIFICATION TO RESURRECT, PURIFY, AND CONSOLIDATE JUDAH AND ISRAEL
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, JULY 5, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
This afternoon we are to study Jeremiah 31. It contains Inspiration’s guarantee for God’s people to return to the homeland. This chapter, you will recognize, contains a prophecy for the latter days:
Jer. 31:1 – “At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”
The phrase, “at the same time,” takes our thoughts back to Jeremiah 30, verse 24, where it explains that the time is the latter days, our time. Not long hence, therefore, our God will be the God of all the families of Israel, the God of the whole church. Saint and sinner during the Judgment for the Living will no longer be commingled.
Verse 2 – “Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”
The people who survive their captivity, are to find grace in the lands of the Gentiles – in “the wilderness,” away from the vineyard. (Since the Promised Land is the vineyard – Isaiah 5 – then what would the wilderness be but the lands of the Gentiles?) God’s people Γ21 will find this grace at the time the Lord causes them to rest from their “sojourning” – after the “Judgment in the house of God” (1 Pet. 4:17) takes place.
Verse 3 – “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
At the fulfillment of this prophecy the people will realize that the Lord has really loved them, and that He draws them to Himself with loving kindness.
Verse 4 – “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.”
The Lord assures His people that though the Gentile nations have torn down their kingdom, He will restore it to them, and they shall again become a glorious and joyous nation. These promises imply that the people are not now adorned and happy. We may not fully realize this, but God knows better than we do.
Verse 5 – “Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.”
Most of the world thinks that as the ten tribes, the Kingdom of Israel, are lost among the Gentile nations, that their kingdom is forever gone, yet God Who does according to His good pleasure plainly declares that the faithful, after their separation from the unfaithful, shall be gathered out and brought back into the mountains of Samaria; and that they shall plant and eat the fruit of their planting as a common thing.
Verse 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.”
The future watchmen of Mount Ephraim, rather than separating themselves from those of Mount Zion as they did anciently, shall gladly lead the laity back to Zion. No longer shall arise the question, Why is it that “our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship”? John 4:20.
Verse 7 – “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.”
The “remnant” are those who survive the “Judgment in the house of God.” God’s people now, while dwelling among the chief of the nations, are urged to proclaim this good tiding in their midst with singing, gladness, and praise, saying, “O Lord, save Thy people.” This Truth is now the very present Truth, and It is to be proclaimed and heeded. To work and pray to this end, is the message of the hour.
Verse 8 – “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.”
We need not fear; our efforts will not be fruitless. God’s sincere people will hear and give heed to the message of this day, and the Lord will thus gather them from the four corners of the earth. Be they blind or lame, be they women or children, they shall Γ23 all return to the vineyard of the Lord.
Verse 9 – “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.”
Ephraim himself, Inspiration says, was to become a “multitude of nations.” Gen. 48:19, 20.
Verse 10 – “Hear the Word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.”
God is speaking and who dare not take His Word to heart? Who dare be indifferent and keep silent? In order for the nations to be able to say, “He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him,” they must be nations that believe, nations that understand these prophecies and promises. They are to do what we are doing. But since there is no nation doing this at the present time, and since we are the only ones that are engaged in this work, the truth becomes evident that our message is to awaken nations to the fact that we, the last descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel, are called forth to declare this Truth not only to all our brethren, but even to the nations. Then the nations are to re-broadcast It to other nations, so declares the Scriptures. They are to proclaim that God’s people are to be gathered, and kept, too.
We, therefore, must not fail in our trust. We must prove worthy of our calling.
Verse 11 – “For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and Γ24 ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.”
We are not able to redeem ourselves, nor are we able of ourselves to return to our land. God is to accomplish all this for us. We ought therefore to be thankful that our freedom and redemption do not depend upon ourselves. The responsibility is God’s. He is to redeem us from him that is stronger than we.
Verses 12-14 – “Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, saith the Lord.”
These verses, I am sure, need no interpretation or elucidation.
Verses 15, 16 – “Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.”
To understand these verses we must first look into the historical background of them. Rachel, the wife Γ25 of Jacob, had but two sons of her own, Joseph and Benjamin. They were the only sons that were born to Jacob in the Promised Land. Rachel died while giving birth to Benjamin, and so she herself could not have wept for the loss of her children. They were both with her when she died. Hence, the only conclusion one can come to, is that Rachel in this scripture is figurative.
After the death of Solomon, the kingdom was divided, the ten tribes taking the north, and the two tribes taking the south. The tribe of Joseph was in the one kingdom, and the tribe of Benjamin in the other. Rachel, therefore, must be the figurative mother of the children of both kingdoms – Judah and Israel.
The incident of Jer. 31:15 Matthew applied to Herod’s killing the children in an attempt to slay the Lord (Matt. 2:18). A study of this verse along with the entire context of the chapter, however, will disclose that it has an even more direct application to the dispersion of both kingdoms, Judah and Israel, and of their return from the lands of their enemies to the fatherland.
Verses 17, 18 – “And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God.”
Two distinct thoughts are brought to view in this verse: first, that the children of the Kingdom will come again to their own border; and second, that they will have beforehand experienced a great revival Γ26 and reformation. They will have realized that God’s chastisement was for their own good, and that the Lord is their God. This reformation, along with God’s mercies, is further seen in the following verses.
Verses 19, 20 – “Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim My dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.”
The next verses contain God’s command and counsel to His people:
Verse 21 – “Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.”
Inspiration here very definitely urges God’s faithful people to get ready for their return to the Promised Land, and continues:
Verse 22 – “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.”
As it is not possible for a woman actually to encompass a man, the woman here spoken of must therefore be symbolical of the church. And the man whom she is to encompass is, according to Inspiration, the Lord Himself. The church therefore is to be made to encompass the Lord and thus enter into her new and happy experience.
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I Γ27 come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for He is raised up out of His holy habitation.” Zech 2:10-13.
Verses 23, 24 – “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness. And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks.”
Again and again we are told that the Kingdom of the Lord, the church purified, free of tares, is not something mystical, but that It is absolutely real.
Verses 25, 26 – “For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.”
Evidently the prophet’s awakening must point to the people’s spiritual awakening. And the sweetness of his sleep must point to the people’s love to continue in their slumber and sleep, their hesitation to awake to these realities.
Verse 27 – “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of Γ28 beast.”
After this Kingdom is established in the land of promise, It shall grow with both man and beast just as the symbolism of Daniel’s chapter two explains: “The stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Dan. 2:35. “In the days of these kings,” not after their days, “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, …and…It [the Kingdom] shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms…” Dan. 2:44.
How will they multiply and fill the earth? – Let Isaiah the prophet give the answer:
“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. And many people shall go and 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. 2:2, 3.
Verse 28 – “And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord.”
From these passages of Scripture we see how the Lord will build and increase the Kingdom, and cause It to fill the earth.
Verses 29, 30 – “In those days they shall say no more, Γ29The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
The ancient kingdom was torn up because of the sins of those who led and ruled the nations; and so all, good and bad alike, suffered. One of the good persons who suffered for the sins of the bad, was Daniel. And thus has it ever been. But now we are coming to the day when everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Michael shall stand up and “everyone that shall be found written in the book” shall be delivered (Dan. 12:1).
Verses 31-33 – “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
This new covenant, you see, is to go into effect in the gathering time. Then shall all God’s people know the difference between good and evil. Thus shall they know what is the Lord’s will and way. And thus shall they be able to perform the good and to shun the evil. They shall naturally and gladly incline to do good, just as they now incline to do evil.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was a very great king. He ruled a great kingdom, and lived in a Γ30 wonderful palace. But as soon as his human heart was taken away from him and the heart of a beast put in him, just that soon his own desires and ways left him and the desires and ways of a beast entered him. (See Daniel 4:16). So with God’s people: Just as soon as He puts His law in their inward parts, and writes it in their hearts, just that soon the carnal heart’s desire and enmity against God’s law will disappear. No longer will God’s people need to say, When we “want to do good, evil is present.” “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Rom. 7:24.
Verse 34 – “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Note that the sinners and those who are ignorant of God shall no longer be among God’s people. Certainly a change is coming. The present state of affairs will not long continue, the sinners will be put away forever. And how glad we ought to be that if we now repent, our sins will be forgiven and forgotten, and that no one will ever remind us of them!
Verses 35, 36 – “Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.”
Here is God’s bonafide guarantee against doubt and unbelief. As certainly as the doubters cannot change the ordinances of the heavens, just that certainly shall God’s people once again become a Theocratic nation.
Verses 37-40 – “Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.”