IS RELIGION SOMETHING LIVING AND GROWING? OR IS IT SOMETHING DEAD AND WANING?
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Take No Thought For The Morrow
I shall read from “Christ’s Object Lessons,” beginning on page 18.
“Christ sought to remove that which obscured the truth…. His words placed the teachings of nature as well as of the Bible in a new aspect, and made them a new revelation…. He gave the lesson, ‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow [in the simplicity of natural beauty]; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’ Then followed the sweet assurance and the important lesson, ‘Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?’ In the sermon on the mount these words…were spoken to the multitude, among whom were men and women full of worries and perplexities, and sore with disappointment and sorrow. Jesus continued: ‘Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek;) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.’…”
We are now to pray that as Christ’s servants, we do all we can to remove that which obscures the Truth of today; that we find light through nature and the Bible; that we realize that the Lord cares for us more than He cares for the lilies; that we learn to trust in Him and to do His bidding, and be no longer like the Gentiles who worry about the things of this world; that we know He will see that we have all our needs if our chief business is to advance His Kingdom.
IS RELIGION SOMETHING LIVING AND GROWING? OR IS IT SOMETHING DEAD AND WANING?
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, JULY 26, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
Is religion something that grows and expands, or is it something that stands still? Just the other day we heard on the radio a certain minister boast that his denomination has not added or discarded a doctrine ever since it was organized. Is this something to brag about? or is it something to bemoan? This is a question to which we now wish to find the answer.
If the world does not stand still, if it makes the progress it does, then why should the church stand still? Why should the church not know more of God and more of the Bible today than she did yesterday? Why should Christianity be proud of not adding Bible doctrines? What a world this would be if everything was not moving ahead as it is!
If we were to compare the world’s increased knowledge and accomplishments in the last 50 or 100 years with the Church’s increased knowledge and accomplishments in the same period of time, we may see that there is no comparison whatsoever.
Look at the progress the world has made, and look at the stupidity which the Church is cultivating. Yes, I say cultivating, because it seems that rather than bemoaning Γ4 the fact of not having added or discarded a doctrine, and rather than encouraging the people to be on the watch for God’s visitations, they are making it their business to keep the laity from coming in contact with God’s messengers and His progressive Truth, with “meat in due season,” with God’s messages for today. Anything that does not originate in their own conventions, the laity are told to have nothing to do with it. This they do simply because they themselves do not accept the Truths God sends; and because if any of their congregation came in contact with and accept It, they naturally will have to join Truth wherever Truth is. So it is their chief business to keep the laity in darkness and in fear that someone is to deceive them if they expose themselves to anything that their ministers do not approve.
Such a course may hold back progress for years, but it can never succeed, – no, not any more than did the opponents of Galileo make the earth flat by compelling him to recant his position that the earth is round, and no more than Rome succeeded against the Protestant Reformation or the priests and rabbis against Christianity. It is, therefore, high time to realize that people who must be held in ignorance of something in order to be kept loyal to the Church, are certainly not worth having; and that the only way to have them really loyal, and firmly established in the Truth, and saved in the Kingdom, is to teach the Truth and then give them freedom to choose so that they themselves might personally know what is Truth and what is error. To keep them in darkness of what the deceivers teach (if they be deceivers), is to keep them ignorant of what is in the air. It is to forever close Heaven’s communication line, and to make of the people spiritual invalids and automatons. The people must for themselves know what the Truth is, and for themselves must decide what to do with It if they are ever to be granted Γ5 admission to the Kingdom. Both those who must be fenced in, or led with a rope or driven with a club as it were into the Kingdom, and those who build the fence, pull the rope, or hold the club will find the door closed, and will hear the Master say, “Depart from Me; I never knew you.” Ministers are not called to be taskmasters, nor conscience for others. They are called to be teachers of the Truth.
If the Church is not making progress with Truth, if she is not periodically adding unquestionable knowledge to knowledge, then, I am sure, she has nothing to boast about. She is inactive, her communication line with Heaven broken, is God forsaken, dead. She can never serve her members with “meat in due season” from the throne of God.
Let us for example take religion as it is in the Bible today. It did not come all at once. Rather, it took something like four thousand years to accumulate, and about two thousand more years to comprehend as much as the Church has comprehended by now.
If we should compare Abel’s knowledge of religion with the Christian’s knowledge of it, we should no doubt discover that there is no comparison, that Abel knew comparatively only the very first principle of the Christian’s faith. If religion, therefore, is not something living, growing, and progressing, then what is it?
Abel’s religion of six thousand years ago has advanced and expanded to meet the people’s necessities of today. This was done only by Inspiration’s adding to it, and Itself unfolding it. If the Church is not commensurably growing and expanding, then how can she be a living Church? and how can she keep up Γ6 with the signs of the times, and with the progress in the sanctuary above?
Let us read:
Eph. 4:11-14 – “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
Inspiration makes it plain that God’s plan is that the Church should ever be growing both in knowledge and perfection till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
Since the Church has not yet attained the standard set forth in this verse of Scripture, it is obvious that she needs to have greater knowledge of Bible religion than she has at the present time.
Being far from having reached such unity of faith, of knowledge, and perfection, we see the need as clear as crystal: We as Christians need to start growing, otherwise the season of such growth will pass and we shall be left but dwarfs, not having advanced far Γ7 enough to be eligible for a home in the Kingdom. Then shall it come to pass that all such unmatured Christians shall bitterly cry out, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jer. 8:20.
Bible knowledge you see, is Heaven’s way to salvation and eternity, but the modern minister’s way is to keep men ignorant of what is taught outside their own circles, so they may have men under their control.
That Truth is growing, and that we should keep pace with It, we shall now read:
Rev. 14:6-10 – “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”
Here are represented three messages, one following the other. Unless we keep pace with each of them progressively, we shall find ourselves trailing behind the time, as are the Jews to this day.
Those who fail to keep pace with the Truth as Inspiration unfolds It, can never, of course, come to “the unity of the faith,” and to a full “knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Such will forever be “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men,…” Eph. 4:13, 14.
Plainly, then, religion itself is something living and unfolding, but the tragedy is that not all are keeping pace with it.
Let us look into this vital subject even more concretely. Truth, you know, kept unfolding and growing even after Moses’ death. The Jews, though, killed the prophets and did not advance any further than where Moses left them. In fact, they ever retrogressed. And so they are where they are today because they failed to change their course even though prophet after prophet was sent to keep them from the pit into which they were fast falling. Even Christ Himself failed to awaken them to the dreadfulness of their situation. Only a comparatively few saw the red light, the danger, and returned to the Lord.
This halting and backsliding never did stop. It has continued on and on to this very day. Even the early Christian church herself eventually went to sleep, and brought on the Dark Ages of religion. Moreover, though Inspiration placed the bright light of Truth in the hand of the Reformation during the darkest hour of that day, yet the Church as a whole failed to see the light, failed to see the need of reformation. Rather than coming to the light, the church did all she could to put it out. The elect, nevertheless, walked out of the darkness and into the Γ9 light. Thus it was that another sect, the Lutheran denomination, was organized.
But this was only the beginning of the Reformation. As one Truth after another began to unfold, and each forced the inception of a new denomination because each of the older daughters (sects), following in the footsteps of the mother, herself, refused to keep pace with the messages. Indeed, the Lutheran denomination itself, like all others before or after, was satisfied to remain where Luther left it. And so of necessity another, the Presbyterian denomination, came into being. Thus down the stream of time one denomination after another has done likewise.
This is how it has been all through the centuries. This is why not one of the churches has climbed any higher than the founders left them. And this is why Christians, rather than growing into the unity of the faith, are with each passing day, becoming more and more disunited in faith and hostile to each other’s faith.
To boast, therefore, that one’s denomination has never added a doctrine or laid off one, is to admit that his church is at a standstill, virtually saying, “We are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” when in fact they are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked,” but know it not.
Very obviously, religion is something which grows and unfolds, but its people as an organization have never kept pace with it.
The most astonishing part of it is that those who have led the denominations after the death of their founders, rather than teach the laity to watch and Γ10 wait for more revealed Truth, instead are teaching that their church has all Truth and that there is need of no more.
Here we see that the “church militant” is in reality the church which is militant against advancing Truth, and that “the church triumphant” is the church which marches on with the progress of Truth.
This fact was seen at the very first step toward progress in religion: Both Cain and Abel were endeavoring to walk in the highway of progress by each offering a sacrifice. Abel worshiped according to the wisdom of God, whereas Cain worshiped according to the wisdom of man. Cain’s sacrifice was merely the counterfeit of Abel’s. Here we see that where Truth is, there is also a counterfeit. While there are denominations which were established on Truth, there are also counterfeits, and that is what accounts for the great multiplicity of denominations and sects.
Cain’s slaying Abel for doing what the Lord would have him do, is a type of false worship, of opposition and of persecution. Thus has it been in the past, and still is: Those who are in error are ever found hostile against Truth and persecuting those who practice the Truth.
Now suppose that Abel had lived until our day and had followed the progress of Truth through each generation, what would have been his experience in religion? – He would necessarily have joined with Enoch’s movement; with Noah’s; with Abraham’s; with Jacob’s; with Moses’; with all the prophets’; with John the Baptist’s; with the Apostles’; then with the Lutherans’; with the Presbyterians’; with the Methodists’; with the First-day Adventists’; with the Seventh-day Γ11 Adventists’; and at last he would have joined the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists. In order for him to keep up with advancing Truth, Abel would have had to leave one movement and join another at each new unfoldment of Truth, otherwise he would have remained as ignorant in the progress of religion as have the Jews.
We now see as plainly as Truth can make it, that throughout the ages, the Church triumphant was and still is made up of the Church’s members who unceasingly kept climbing the ladder of Truth all along to this day.
Ezek. 36:23, 24 – “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.”
Here the truth is again reiterated: Those who are determined to stay down on the first rung of the ladder of Truth, will be left there to stay forever. But those who keep pace with Truth shall be brought into their own land, no longer having to sit in the pews with the Laodiceans and no longer having to tread the lands of the Gentiles.
Verse 25 – “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.”
This thorough and final cleansing, you see, is obtained only after the Church triumphant moves into Γ12 the Promised Land. Those who fail to keep pace with the Truth and who choose to stay with their idols, will be unable to carry out their personal desires anyway, for “they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isa. 2:19.
Verse 26 – “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.”
When this cleansing takes place, then it is that a new heart and a new spirit will be given to all who are now striving to grow in the knowledge of God, and who are then found in the Kingdom. After this heart operation takes place, to do the will of God will be but a natural thing: There will no longer be a struggle against the carnal heart.
Verses 27-29 – “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. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.”
Dan. 12:1 – “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Lo, the world is already headed for the time of trouble. And when it is reached, refuge will be found only in an up-to-date Truth, Truth that puts one’s name in Michael’s book of Heaven.
Verse 10 – “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”
Who are the wise: – They must be those who are ever searching for “golden oil,” those who have their vessels full (Matt. 25:1-13). Those who are let in through the door are those who have obtained and followed an up-to-date map of Truth.
Religion, Brother, Sister, is not something dead and waning. It is something living and growing, and God’s people grow with it.
And now in closing I wish to leave this question for you to ponder and to answer to yourself: Is this experience – the experience of progressing with Truth – your experience? If it is not, then why not? yes, why? Is it not worth everything – money, houses, lands, friends, mothers, fathers, husbands or wives? Is it not worth all these in order to double them? (See Isaiah 61:6, 7; Mark 10:28-31.)
FIVE MEN SLAY AFTER ONE SETS A MARK
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Bringing New Truths
I shall read from “Christ’s Object Lessons,” page twenty, beginning with the second paragraph.
“In the earlier part of His ministry, Christ had spoken to the people in words so plain that all His hearers might have grasped truths which would make them wise unto salvation. But in many hearts the truth had taken no root, and it had been quickly caught away. ‘Therefore speak I to them in parables,’ He said; ‘because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand…. Jesus desired to awaken inquiry. He sought to arouse the careless, and impress truth upon the heart….”
In Christ’s day it was just as difficult to bring new truths to the people as it is today. Jesus used every possible means to interest the people in the present Truth of His day, but you know what little success He did have – just a few of the common people. The so-called learned men of the day bitterly opposed Him and spent their time and means to falsely accuse Him of one thing, then of another. In the kind of world we live we cannot expect the people to be different today than what they were in His day. Let us therefore pray that we ever keep awake, that we continue to be even more dissatisfied with our attainments as the days go by lest we, too, be found wanting – back into Laodiceanism. Let us pray that our hearts be ever open to His unfolding Truth, and that we never lose our hunger for “meat in due season.”
FIVE MEN SLAY AFTER ONE SETS A MARK
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, AUGUST 2, 1947
MT. CARMEL CENTER
The subject of our study this afternoon is found in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel. We shall begin with–
Ezek. 9:1-6 – “He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon He was, to the threshold of the house. And He called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; and the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others He said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which Γ16 were before the house.”
Note that at the command of Lord, the angels in charge are to slay the sinners in Jerusalem (in the church), not in the world. Only the abomination-hating ones, those who receive the mark for sighing and crying against the wrongs are to be left.
The day Ezekiel had this vision in Babylon, Jerusalem had already been in captivity and emptied of its people for years. See Ezekiel 1:1; 8:7. No such a purification or cleansing as here described ever took place in Ezekiel’s day or in the annals of the church since his day. It is, therefore, certain that the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
Inspiration in our day, moreover, puts this foreseen cleansing still in the future and makes this explanation:
“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions his messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.’
“Here we see that the church – the Lord’s sanctuary was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people,” says the Spirit of God, “had Γ17 betrayed their trust.” – “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, pg. 211.
The enemies of God, you note, have taken possession of the churches, but soon the tables will be turned, and the servants of the Devil will be no more; they will fall and not be found.
The people, you note, are deceived by the ancient men who have betrayed their trust. You well know that the prophets, the apostles, Jesus Christ, and the reformers, were all in their times railed against and taunted as “Offshoots,” but we thank God that the “offshoots” and the Truth, not the dead tops, triumphed.
“…They [the ancient men] had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pg. 211.
Is not this now the position of the ancient men? Are they not now crying peace and safety? Are they not now preaching that Ezekiel nine is not now to take place and that it is not to take place in the church, that this message is a false alarm? What does it take to awaken a dreaming sleeper? They are dreaming that–
“…Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.” “God will not slay His people,” “The church is His most precious object on earth,” they say.
Of course the church is His most precious object on earth, and that is just exactly why He is to cleanse it, that is why He is to slay the wicked in the midst of her Γ18 and seal (preserve) the penitent so that He may have a church clean, “without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing.” – Eph. 5:27.
“…Thus peace and safety is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children, all perish together.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pg. 211. Continuing further, the Spirit of God asks:
“Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God, and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them, and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work, and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons. Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.” Then says the Spirit:
“But the general slaughter of all those who do not Γ19 thus see the wide contrast between sin and righteousness, and do not feel as those do who stand in the counsel of God and receive the mark, is described in the order to the five men with slaughter weapons: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.’“ – “Testimonies,” Vol. 3, pg. 267.
Here are shown two classes in the church – the faithful and the unfaithful – those who view sin as sin and those who view it as fun. Also it is seen that the church has a closing work, a work that must be done especially for her, not for the world. In addition, it reveals that the closing work for the church is the sealing of the 144,000, that they, therefore, are the ones who will feel most deeply the wrongs among God’s professed people.
Verses 7-11 – “And He said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt Thou destroy all the residue of Israel in Thy pouring out of Thy fury upon Jerusalem? Then said He unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not. And as for Me also, Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head. And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as Thou hast commanded me.”
When is this separation of the wicked from among the righteous to take place? Jesus places it in the end of the world. Says He:
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.” Matt. 13:30, 47, 48.
As tares they are burned; as bad fish, they are cast out. This is the way in which the Kingdom comes, says the Lord. And what is the harvest if not the Judgment for the Living? – the work which separates the one from the other.
“The true people of God,” says Inspiration, “who have the spirit of the work of the Lord, and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the sides of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 3, pg. 266. On which side do you stand?
Now the subject of the 144,000 stands out brighter than ever before. Now you can clearly see that those Γ21 who escape the slaughter foreseen in Ezekiel nine, are the 144,000 the future servants of God, the first fruits of the harvest, resulting from the cleansing of the sanctuary (church), the work of the investigative judgment of the living. This work and this Truth, therefore, are the most important for the day, and should whole-heartedly be heeded if one expects to receive the mark and the seal and escape the slaughter, survive the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Our neglect to sigh and cry for the abominations in the church would mean our eternal loss. We dare not allow anything to divert our attention from this great and glorious work for the saints, and most dreadful and inglorious for the sinners. This work must “engross the whole mind, the whole attention.” – “Early Writings,” p. 118. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with your eternal welfare. No, not for a moment, for the day is far spent! What? – friends, relatives, husbands, wives, you are to lose them with yourself if this Truth fails to convince you and them? But the promise to the faithful is: “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.” Isa. 61:7.
Do you, Brother, Sister, actually comprehend, actually realize, the crisis as outlined here? Do you see the prediction that the sealing message is to be resisted by those who foster the abominations? Are you with them? I hope not. Is there then any question that if the brethren are left ignorant of this cleansing work that God is about to do among His people, I say, if they be left ignorant of it, will they not fall in the general destruction of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons?
Obviously all the sinners in the church will perish Γ22 in this slaughter of the wicked, be they men, women, or children. Parents who continue to serve the Devil will have their little ones with them in hell; and parents who break away from abominations will have their little ones with them in the Kingdom. Where do you stand? Are you with those who have the burden of this work, or are you against them? This you see is the decisive hour for you, for me.
“…Mark this point with care,” counsels the Spirit of God. “Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 3, pg. 267.
Who are true Seventh-day Adventists at this crucial moment? – Those who resist the closing work for the church? or those who put their heart and soul into it? Let us face the situation honestly and sincerely. Let us anoint our eyes with this Heavenly eyesalve that we might see and know what Truth is. Only those who repent and promote the message of the hour rather than fight against it will stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion.
Let me read again:
“In the time when his wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul-anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and Γ23 weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls, will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled under foot, while the servants of Satan triumph….” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pp. 210, 211.
No longer serve Satan. No longer fight God’s Truth against your own interests. The Spirit of Prophecy in these lines has made it as plain as it can be made, that when the sealing message is brought to the attention of the people, the servants of the Devil will temporarily triumph, while God’s servants and His Truth for a time will be trampled under foot by those who control the churches. This evil work, you are all well aware, is already in progress: The ministering brethren are already fighting the message instead of teaching it. The pulpits are occupied by men who Sabbath after Sabbath stage tirade after tirade against this Truth, the Truth of the Judgment for the Living.
As the gospel prophet in chapter sixty-six was also given light on this subject, we shall turn to it.
Isa. 66:15-17, 19 – “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of Γ24 fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens [in places of worship] behind one tree [following a leader] in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord…. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.”
Here it is reiterated that the slaying takes place in the church among those who are well acquainted with the things of God, so much so that those who escape are sent to declare His glory, and His fame among the Gentiles. Moreover, the very fact that the Gentiles are not slain but are to be taught of God after the slaying takes place, positively shows that the slaying takes place in the church only, and before probation closes for the Gentiles. To repeat, those who escape the slaying are sent to preach salvation to the Gentiles.
Verse 20 – “And they [the escaped ones, says the scripture] shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.”
Since the 144,000 are the first fruits, and also the servants of God, and are of both the antitypical house of Judah and of Israel, they must be the escaped and Γ25 sent ones. Those whom they bring to the house of the Lord out of all nations (Rev. 7:9) must, therefore, be the second fruits. The former are the fruits from the church, and the latter the fruits from the Gentiles (See Revelation 7:2-9).
In order to hush the Truth, the ancients in their wickedness and ignorance now teach the laity that the subject of the 144,000 is a moot question rather than revealed Truth! The Devil would have it thus so that the people might fall under the slaughter weapons of the angels. What folly! And, what a hold the Devil has on the men that control the churches! Are they not deceiving the very elect, the 144,000? This is truly the time for you to “come to the help of the Lord against the mighty,” if you are to receive God’s mark of approval, and if you are to escape the slaughter weapons of the angels – if you are to be “left,” if you are to be of the remnant.
There has never been made so great an effort to awaken any people in any age, as the effort of today. Hundreds and thousands, yes, millions, of booklets have been scattered throughout the Denomination. These have been going now for over a decade. Truly it can even now be said of the church:
“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the Day of Judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto Γ26 you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment, than for thee.” Matt. 11:21-24.
The Devil today, you see, has the people deeper in the pit than he had them in the days of Christ or in the days of Luther. The Lord’s victory, though, and the victory of those who escape from the pit, shall be just that much more glorious. “And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.” Isa. 62:12.
“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.” Nah. 1:15.
The wicked in the church, you note, have finally come to their end. With which company do you stand? With those who close their eyes to this Truth? or with those who endeavor to bring It to the front? You judge your own case.