OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
I shall read from The Mount of Blessing, p.155, beginning with the second paragraph.
M.B. pp.155,156—”The very first step in approaching God is to know and believe the love that He has to us; for it is through the drawing of His love that we are led to come to Him.
“The perception of God’s love works the renunciation of selfishness. In calling God our Father, we recognize all His children as our brethren. We are all a part of the great web of humanity, all members of one family. In our petitions we are to include our neighbors as well as ourselves. No one prays aright who seeks a blessing for himself alone
“‘Which art in heaven.’ He to whom Christ bids us look as ‘our Father,’ “is in the heavens; He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.’ In His care we may safely rest, saying, what time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”
What does the reading instruct us to pray for? —For an appreciation of God’s love and for better understanding of Him; for the right understanding of what it means to pray the Lord’s prayer; for wisdom to know why we address God as our Father, why we are members of one family, brethren of one household; for grace to remember to pray not for ourselves only but for our neighbors, and even for our enemies.
WHAT MAKES ONE ELIGIBLE?
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V. T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, SEPTEMBER 21, 1946
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
A number of brethren have written to me from time to time, wanting to know what makes them eligible to receive the Seal of God. Some want to know whether they will be sealed by doing this or by doing that. Others want to know whether they will be left without the seal by not doing this or not doing the other.
The questions are indeed very timely and commendable. Such vital questions deserve answers as concrete as are the questions themselves. And who can give a more concrete answer than those who have gone before us, those whose duties were similar to ours, those who were passing through a similar experience, those who traveled the same road that we are traveling, those who were preparing themselves for the Kingdom as are we.
In whom do we find such a parallel? —In no others than those who left Egypt and started for the promised land. No, in none others. They are our only type. Says Inspiration: “Now 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.) Their duties, therefore, are our duties, and their failures should be our stepping stones to success. Thus it is that the deeds of those who entered into the promised land must be our Γ4 deeds, and if we are to be sealed, then the deeds of those who failed to enter therein, we must shun as completely and as quickly as we would shun a lion’s den.
We are now to find out why some of them went into the promised land, and why others did not go in, for this is what Inspiration commands us to do. This scripture implies that if the experiences of ancient Israel had not been for ensamples, they would never have been written. How important, then, that we diligently study them. Yes, in order for us to know what we must do or must not do to receive the seal and to enter into the Promised Land, we must examine the deeds of both those who entered it and of those who were left out of it.
Let us begin our examination by starting with Moses, with the human agent, the visible leader of the movement. Reared in the courts of Pharaoh, he received the highest education the world then offered. And having understood that he was the one to free his brethren from Egyptian bondage, he felt quite capable for the job.
You remember the story of how he started out to deliver them although he was not yet told to do so. He killed an Egyptian, fell into a quarrel with one of the Hebrews, and then fled for his life. So it was that in Midian he obtained a job, became a shepherd, and married his employer’s daughter. During those forty years of shepherd’s life he forgot the Egyptian language, and with it the Egyptian learning. In its place, though, he learned to tend well to sheep. He therefore dismissed from his mind the idea of ever delivering the people of God from their Egyptian bondage. Then it was that God saw him strong and well able, and commanded him to go back to Egypt and to bring Γ5 out of it His groaning people. You recall that Moses protested against the idea and argued that he had failed at his first attempt, the time he was young and well-informed and that at that late hour of his life he was not trying again, that he could no longer even speak the language. After a prolonged conversation God removed his objections by promising to give him his brother, Aaron, to be his spokesman, and Moses finally consented to return to Egypt.
There with his shepherd’s rod he performed many signs and wonders before both the Egyptians and the Hebrews. And you remember what took place the night of the Passover, the night before they left Egypt: Moses had proclaimed throughout the land that in every dwelling where no blood was found on the doorpost, that very night the firstborn in each such dwelling would die.
Those who disobeyed the Divine injunction, were, on the day following busily moaning and burying their dead, while those who obeyed the command were joyously and orderly marching out of the cities. Yes, only those who were able to take orders were made free from slavery. It is, therefore, prerequisite that we learn to take orders if we are to receive the seal of God in our foreheads.
Let us not forget, though, that the children of Israel left Egypt with great zeal and high hopes. But when they saw the Red Sea ahead of them, and Pharaoh’s army behind them, they were filled with consternation. They saw themselves in a death trap although they were at the brink of another marvelous deliverance. Then they turned on Moses and accused him of bringing them to the sea, of making their escape from their enemies absolutely impossible.
Humanly viewing the situation, they were in a precarious predicament. In that moment they forgot their miraculous deliverance from Pharaoh’s task masters and their eyes closed to the wondrous cloud by day and pillar of fire by night that had led them all the way. As they saw it, the evidence against Moses’ ability to lead them safely was overwhelming. Insofar as they were concerned, the whole venture appeared doomed to failure. Their hopes of going ahead or of even going back left them,—and all because they thought Moses, not God, was their deliverer! How shortsighted, unstable, doubting, and forgetful human beings are! Experience in the gospel work has taught me that God’s people of today have the same tempter to contend with, and similar temptations to overcome if they are to receive the seal of God.
What a great difference would there have been had the Israelites only believed that God, not Moses, was their Leader, that that which appeared to be their death trap, was their door of hope. Let their experience teach us to remember that God is either leading us altogether or not at all, that His ways are not our ways, and that what may appear to be our greatest obstacle, may actually turn out to be our greatest blessing.
Israel’s real danger, we now see, was not in what Moses did, but in their unbelief of God’s having the reins in His hands, in not knowing that His ways are beyond finding out contrary to ours. They failed to see that God could again and again perform miracle after miracle to deliver them from their enemy’s hand, that He could dry the ocean as easily as He could flood the earth.
Having their failures before us, we should make Γ7 them our stepping stones to success. Let us therefore wholeheartedly believe that God is in charge of our salvation, of our lives and of our death, too. That He is able to take us to safety even if the earth should drop out of space, that we cannot die if He wants us alive, and that we cannot live if He wants us dead. Let us ever bear in mind that we of ourselves know nothing about God’s plans except as told through His appointed servants, the prophets, and as we witness them day by day. If we daily walk with God, if we commit all to Him, then the responsibility is all His.
God, in His wisdom, brought Israel to the Red Sea for their own good, and though they could not see it His way, He nevertheless for His Name’s sake divided the sea, took them safely across, and at the same time, by the same miracle, He destroyed their enemies!
Had Moses been as doubtful of God’s power and leadership as were the people that were with him, what effect would his rod have had as he struck the sea with it?–None whatsoever. If the Judgment of the Infinite were the same as the judgment of the finite, then Pharaoh’s army would have either killed or enslaved Israel anew.
Their mighty deliverances should, therefore, forever establish our confidence in God, and should stand as everlasting memorials that the wisdom of men is foolishness with God, and that faith in Him does actually remove mountains and seas, too.
Notwithstanding these ensamples, though, men still expect God to work in accordance with their judgment, and that is why sometimes He uses children in Γ8 His work instead of wise and prudent men.
The Hebrew host well knew that they were led to the sea by following the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Yet none of these wonders seemed to have made any lasting impression on them. There is a danger that we, too, may forget the way the Lord has led us.
After Israel crossed the sea, and after the sea closed in on their enemies, they all sang and gave God the glory, but though Pharaoh’s army and the sea were no longer objects of fear but of interest, their trials, doubts, and fears were not yet at an end: Almost immediately after they saw the sea behind and the desert ahead they began to recriminate Moses for having brought them into the desert to starve there for want of water and food. It never entered their minds that if God can dry the sea, He can certainly flood the desert and make it blossom as a rose. Notwithstanding their doubts and their moanings God again performed an even greater miracle: He caused water to gush out of the rock and He brought manna from Heaven!
Today as in Moses’ day many are duplicating the sins of that people: Some are all on fire one day, and all on ice the next. Others praise God to the top of their voices while their ship is smoothly sailing, but when the sea becomes rough and the waves start beating against them, then they see only a man at the wheel and rather than expecting God to calm the sea they begin to hunt for a jumping off place. Still others are constantly trying to promote themselves by continual fault-finding against the ones that bear the whole burden of the load. So it is that there must be among us today—antitypical doubters, complainers, Γ9 office seekers and faultfinders, admitting one great truth one day and forgetting it the next day—yet expecting to be sealed with the seal of God and to stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion!
The Lord fed His ancient people with Angel’s food, the kind their work and climate required. He delivered it fresh daily, and it did not cost them one cent. All they had to do was to bring it into their tents and to eat it. But they disliked the manna, and wished they were back in Egypt eating from its flesh pots, “the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick.” In their eyes, Moses was the greatest of sinners, and they blamed him for every trial of their faith. Had God given them something other than manna, they would have been just as dissatisfied with it because an evil spirit was in them. Let us gladly and with thanks eat and drink what the Lord gives us and when He gives it to us.
You recall that by craving flesh food they made the situation unbearable for Moses. So, to their great surprise quail filled the camp, and the multitude carried them into their tents. But at what a cost! Thousands of them died even while the flesh was yet between their teeth. Then they understood that the manna was the better food. It was a great lesson, but an expensive one. What about us Vegetarians?
Their murmuring, however, did not end even then. They found something else to murmur about. They grew jealous of Moses and of Aaron. “They are taking too much on themselves,” the office seekers complained. “We are just as much favored of God as are Moses and Aaron. God speaks with us as much as He speaks with them,” they said. And who were the chief complainers? —The princes of the nations, the Γ10 men who were the most capable, the very ones who should have known better. Those who could have been the greatest help to Moses became the biggest hindrance to him. They wanted Aaron’s office; they wanted Moses’ office. They refused to be satisfied with anything less. The Lord Himself got nowhere with them! The only thing He could do was to cause the earth to swallow them. Thus in one day thousands practically all the so-called wise fell into the bowels of the earth. Are we, too, seeking office by which to exalt self and are we, too, endeavoring to usurp the seat of the Spirit of Truth?
Finally, the emancipated children of Israel came to the borders of the promised land. And though they had witnessed great miracles right along, yet they did not believe that God could procure the land for them! They had seen that He was able to deliver them from Pharaoh’s brick yards, to take them dryshod through the sea, to destroy their enemies, to give them food and water in the desert where there was none to be had, yet they did not believe that He was able to take the land for them and that He could finish what He had started!
There are thousands today who are doing virtually the same when they say, “Isaiah, chapter 2, Micah, chapter 4, Jeremiah, chapter 31 and Ezekiel, chapters 36 and 37 will never be fulfilled.” It was those who were of age, those who should have known better, that started the ball rolling down hill to destruction. The youth, of course, must have echoed the murmurings of their elders, but the Lord did not hold it against them. And in order to salvage the youth, God had to bury all their murmuring parents except the two faithful, trusting men who protested against the evil report of the other ten spies. Mark you, every adult that Γ11 left Egypt, except Caleb and Joshua, had to be buried before the youth could cross the Jordan! Why? —Because though God did take them with ease out of Egypt, He could not get Egypt out of them. Are you still wondering why the prophet Elijah must “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers”? (Mal. 4:6)
Christians often think that the Israelites were very wicked and unruly people, but after having their experiences to profit by, think how much worse we would be if we do as they did! If we do no better than they, how can we expect to be eligible for the seal and for the Kingdom since they were not eligible?
In the very prime of life, Moses thought himself capable of delivering the children of Israel. But Providence said: “You are not fit for the work, come out and I will make you fit.” And out Moses went.
He did not need Pharaoh’s training in order to do God’s work. It was a hindrance to him! Why? Because it made him self-sufficient, independent of God. Such a person would be the right one to lead God’s people away from Him and into sin, but the wrong one to lead them to God and away from sin.
How true the statement in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80: “. . . 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.”
God can help only those who know that they are unequal to their task, those who know that they need His help. So, then, those who think that they can do won- Γ12 ders are the very ones who can do nothing but harm.
Plainly, those whom God is to use in His final work, in the time of the end, are not to be anything like the Egyptian crown prince, not anything like the learned Moses. Those who can learn to keep and feed sheep well and to readily take orders, are the ones who can be taught how to keep and feed God’s people.
Moses’ wife was the only Ethiopian in the entire company. For this reason some thought they were superior to her. They thought that Moses had committed the unpardonable sin by marrying out of his nation, as though race had anything to do with making people superior or inferior. Moses’ own sister, Miriam, was caught in that sin. There she was, trying to break up his family, yet Moses prayed for her recovery when she was stricken with leprosy.
Who went into the promised land?—All but the murmurers. Do you suppose that you can entertain the same spirit of murmuring and complaining, and in spite of it receive the seal?—How absurd the very thought! How unfair it would be for a just God to destroy the disobedient of that day, but to save the disobedient of this day.
What made one group eligible to cross the Jordan? —It was their trust in God, knowing that He was their Chief Leader. They recognized Moses and Joshua as the ones through whom God was communicating with them. They did not look upon them as being anyone other than who they actually were. They were satisfied with their lot. They took orders as the orders were given. So it was that they were the only ones who entered into the land.
Having these ensamples before us, this picture to go by, I can confidently tell whether I am headed for the Kingdom or whether I am headed for the bowels of the earth (Rev. 12:16). And I am sure that you, too, can tell which way you are headed. The Lord does not require more or less of us than He required of our types. There is therefore no mystery as to what we must do, and what we must not do to receive the seal of God.
We need not go into a land of wonderment, need not entertain the idea that we must have a mysterious feeling, exciting emotion, need not wallow in the dust or jump to the ceiling. No, we need not make fools of ourselves. All we need to do is be ourselves. Be calm, decent, respectable, heaven-like beings, endeavoring to do God’s will on earth as it is done in heaven. We need not make a display of ourselves, but we need to mind our God-given business and to keep our noses out of other people’s business.
Only when we have done all we can to comply with the requirements of the message for today, not of yesterday, shall we be sealed and stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion.
Should we not be glad that while we are being invited to the Kingdom, we are also being told how to get there? Seeing all these, we must never let our confidence in God wane. We ought to be stable, firm in everything, lacking nothing. God’s eleventh-hour servants, says Inspiration, are to be “a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it.” Joel 2:2. They know what they believe, and believe what they know. Most important of all, they know that they are led by God, not by man.
They are not like the Pharisees who were building monuments in memory of the dead prophets (Matt. 23: 29-31) and at the same time were slaying the living ones! With this light shining on our pathway, Hebrews, chapters 3,4,10 and 11 become self-interpreting.
The Sacred Page
A glory gilds the sacred Page
Majestic like the sun;
It gives a light to every age,
It gives, but borrows none.
The Spirit breathes upon the word,
And brings the truth to sight;
Precepts and promises afford
A sanctifying light.
The hand that gave it, still supplies
The gracious light and heat;
His truths upon the nations rise,
They rise, but never set.
Let everlasting thanks be thine,
For such a bright display;
It makes a world of darkness shine
With beams of heavenly day.
LAODICEAN OR DAVIDIAN—WHICH?
OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
I shall read from The Mount of Blessing, beginning with the first paragraph on page 157.
M. B., p.157—”To hallow the name of the Lord requires that the words in which we speak of the Supreme Being be uttered with reverence. ‘Holy and reverend is His name.’ We are never in any manner to treat lightly the titles or appellations of the Deity. . .
“But to hallow the name of the Lord means much more than this…. Of the church of Christ it is written, ‘This is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.’ This name is put upon every follower of Christ. It is the heritage of the child of God. The family are called after the Father. The prophet Jeremiah, in the time of Israel’s sore distress and tribulation, prayed, ‘We are called by Thy name; leave us not.’ . . .
“In every act of life you are to make manifest the name of God. This petition calls upon you to possess His character. You cannot hallow His name, you cannot represent Him to the world, unless in life and character you represent the very life and character of God. This you can do only through the acceptance of the grace and righteousness of Christ.”
Realizing that God has acknowledged us before men and angels as His children, let us pray that we “may do no dishonor to ‘the worthy name by which ye are called.'” Let us pray that we be His true representatives.
LAODICEAN OR DAVIDIAN—WHICH?
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V. T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, SEPTEMBER 29, 1946
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
This afternoon I am to answer the question: How do I know that I am not still a Laodicean, that I am now a true Davidian? In order intelligently to discuss this question, we must first have a mental picture of what Laodiceans are like, and what Davidians must be like. I shall read
Rev. 3:14-18—”And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My Mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
What is wrong with the angel of Laodicea? —He is lukewarm. He is neither cold nor hot. The Lord recommends that he be either cold or hot, —uncomfortable, in search of something better rather than Γ18 stay lukewarm, well contented with his spiritual attainments, supposedly rich and increased with goods (with Truth). Not knowing that he is spiritually poor, blind and naked, he is warned of it by the All-Knowing One and asked to repent. If the Lord’s own warning fails to change his mind, then the only thing left for the Lord to do is to spue him out of His mouth.
By the words, “I am rich, and increased with goods,” the angel of Laodicea is saying that he has good understanding of the Bible and has the “Testimonies for the Church,” and that these make him rich. And that in addition to these, he has other denominational publications, his increase. He thus deceives himself that he has the whole truth to carry him right on through the Pearly Gates, that he needs nothing more. The Lord’s counsel, however, that he buy of Him gold that is tried in the fire so that he may be rich, unveils the fact that the Laodiceans’ riches are not “pure gold,” and that their so-called increase is not an increase of Truth, but worthless, uninspired interpretations not tried in the fire.
The angel of Laodicea is naked, too. He has not the wedding garment on he has not the righteousness of Christ. And his being naked, not having on any clothes, denotes that he has no righteousness save his own— the righteousness with which he was born—his bare skin. Moreover, he is spiritually blind. And that for his ailment the Lord’s eyesalve is the only remedy. If he would but take the Lord’s counsel and apply the salve to his ailing eyes, he could then see.
What is represented by the salve? First let us see what makes a man spiritually blind. The One Who knows even the number of hairs on our heads, points out that if the “light that is in thee be darkness, Γ19 how great is that darkness!” Matt. 6:23. If negligence of making proper use of spiritual light makes the offender blind, then something having power to arouse in him zeal to discover his true condition, is his only remedy. Only such an eyesalve can possibly open his eyes. Let me concretely illustrate:
Individuals often write to the office saying: “I heard so much against ‘The Shepherd’s Rod,’ and what I heard made me unmercifully prejudiced. But I happened to get hold of one of your little tracts. . : and for courtesy’s sake, I thought I’d see what it is about. But as I read a few pages of it, and as my eyes began to open, I read the whole tract. I am now anxious to read the rest of your books. Will you please send me whatever reading matter you can?”
Another such Providential incident came to our attention from far-away China: “I picked up half of your booklet (Tract No. 13) on the street, and my wife a few days later picked up the other half beside the curb of the same drive. I pieced them together, and got your address. I am deeply interested in all it contains, and am anxiously waiting to hear from you. Could you tell me everything that will help me find my joy?”
These truth-searching brethren obviously represent those who can be pried out of their Laodiceanism. Their experiences well illustrate that the “salve” represents Inspiration’s timely Truth.
Now let me tell you of another class of individuals from whom I often hear. Listen to what they say: “Please keep your “Rod” to yourself, take my name from your mailing list. I am not in the least interested in what you were doing. Your booklets go into the Γ20 fire just as soon as they come. I never read them and I never will—no, not a line. I am satisfied [lukewarm] with my religion. I belong to the true remnant church and I expect to go with it. How dare you try to deceive me?”
Another says: “Please do not send me any more of your literature, as I am satisfied with my own views”.
This kind of talk is typically Laodicean. It perfectly expresses their lukewarmness. The Lord, though, is against their attitude. Is there anything which could more completely and more quickly sever one’s communication line with God forever than an attitude of having all the Truth and of having need of no more? If the language in the letters from which I have just read to you does not say, “I am rich, and in need of nothing more,” then what could say it?
This group of Laodiceans will never, never have their eyes opened, will never be anything but wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They can never be reached by Heaven, not even by the Lord Himself. If they thus continue, then the only thing Christ can do is to spue them out of His mouth, never again to mention their names at the Throne of Grace. Anything new from the Bible that is brought out by anyone but themselves, even though purported to be through Inspiration, they hastily brand “deception,” though they are already in a gross self-deception. They read the Bible with the hope of finding proof by which to disagree with everyone but themselves.
Let me illustrate: I may be on the way to the bank with a million dollars, and I may seriously believe that I am a millionaire. But suppose the banker tells Γ21 me, “Your money is counterfeit, “and suppose I have no other. Then how rich would I be?—I would be as rich as is the angel of Laodicea. Just such an eye-opening experience is what the Laodiceans need. Unless something like it happens to them, they will forever think that they are rich and in need of nothing more. Someday, though, not long hence, the heavenly Watcher Himself will demonstrate to them face to face that their gold is not tried in the fire. Then their eyes will be opened, but not soon enough to do them any good.
What they now see at a distance, appears to them for sure to be the “sea of glass.” But when they get to the end of the way, and take a close look, they will in indescribable grief and with quivering voice cry out “Mirage, mirage! Not the sea of glass!” Then will they be anxious to know the Truth; and will pay anything to get It, but it will be too late and they will, to change the figure, get to the door only to hear the Voice from within say, “I know you not. ” Matt. 25:12.
By a person’s facial characteristics we are able to identify his race; and similarly we can judge one’s profession by the type of clothes he wears: If a person wears fine clothes and is not decked with everything he can put on, we judge him to be a business man. If he wears lower grade clothes and has on his body every trinket he can pin on, then we judge him to be a cheap sport. If he is clothed in overalls, we judge him to be a laborer. If he is dressed otherwise, we judge him to be a white-color worker. But if he wears no clothes, then no one but God can tell what he is. Such is a Laodicean.
Now, if the white garment represents Christ’s righteousness, then if one has on no garment at all, Γ22 is naked, then whose righteousness would he have? — Self-righteousness, only the skin in which he was born. The Laodicean’s nakedness represents just that, but they know it not. In all respect, I realize this is saying much, but it is not saying too much, because it is the Lord Who says it.
He invites the Laodicean brethren to buy of Him gold, the kind that is tried in the fire (inspired Truth), so that they might be truly rich. He invites them to put on the wedding raiment, so that they be not cast into “outer darkness,” there to weep and to gnash their teeth. If they do not accept his invitation now—yes, now—their nakedness will be exposed and they thus put to shame.
If you do the opposite of what the Laodiceans do, then of course you cannot still be a Laodicean. And it is just as easy to know whether you are a Davidian or not. To find out if you are a Davidian, you must first know what a Davidian is. Well, briefly stated, a Davidian is recognized by his garment, by the source from which he gets it, and by what he gives in exchange for it. The prophet Zechariah explains:
Zech. 3:1-4—”And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, 0 Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
The first one to be given the garment is Joshua, the high priest, the highest official in the church. If he has not the garment, then no one else has it either. From this we see that the genuine revival and reformation starts at the head, not at the feet, and that before one is given the right to put the garment on, his iniquity is taken away—he repents of his sins, and the Lord blots them out. Satan, though, is right there to resist and accuse him; but, thanks be to God that the Lord is also there to rebuke the enemy. Do you catch the lesson, Brother, Sister? While you are getting the garment you will have to meet strong opposition. But what of it? Is it too much to stand firmly for Truth and righteousness when the majority forsake? And how else shall you become a hero for God? (Read Matthew 5:10-12)
The apostles and the prophets not only withstood opposition from their own brethren, but they even gladly died for their white garment. You, though, are not now asked to give up your life, but to save it. The “tables” are now reversed. The Lord will not permit you to be consumed by the flame. He is to rescue you as a “brand plucked out of the fire.”
From this we see that the Joshua of today is having his filthy garments exchanged for white robes, for the righteousness of Christ.
Verse 5—”And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.”
Not only is he clothed in a white garment, but he is also crowned with a fair mitre. And what could such a mitre denote other than the authority vested Γ24 in him as Heaven’s appointed ruler? As such he is clothed from his head to his feet,” and the angel of the Lord stood by.” What a gift! and what a bodyguard for one to have in a world such as ours! In spite of it, though, human beings are very slow and hesitant to take their stand on the Lord’s side. Most of them had rather lean on a man.
Verse 8—”Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My servant the Branch.”
Not only Joshua, but also those who sit before him (the congregation) are admonished to hear this charge. And what kind of men are they?—Men wondered at. This symbolism shows that at the fulfilment of this prophecy the angel of the church of the Laodiceans is no longer in charge of the Lord’s house, and that God’s people are to be made up wholly of men wondered at!
Obviously, then, as a result of this revival and reformation within the Laodicean church, another church emerges of which Joshua is in charge, not the angel of Laodicea. In it there are to be neither “tares” (Matt. 13:30), “bad fish” (Matt. 13:47, 48), or “goats” (Matt. 25:32). The Laodicean, the seventh, is the last that is commingled with hypocrites, saints and sinners.
Who is to bring this revival and reformation, this great change? —The BRANCH. And according to Isaiah 11:1 to 5, the Branch is the Lord, the Son of David. We shall now read
Verse 9—”For behold the stone that I have laid before Γ25 Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”
Those who sit before Joshua are “men wondered at.” As such they are depicted by the “stone” (church, or Kingdom) that is in Joshua’s sight. It has seven eye— perfect vision. When this purification of the church takes place then the sin in the land is quickly removed—”in one day.”
Here is seen genuine revival and reformation accompanied by the purification of the church. The Lord is to have a pure church and a clean people.
Verse 10–”In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.”
“In that day,” in the day this purification takes place, the gospel work is to be quickly finished by having every member of the Lord’s house call his neighbor to his own patch of land, to that which God has pre-ordained that everyone should have. Every member, therefore, is to be a missionary in one capacity or in another. This indeed is the layman’s movement that shall finish the gospel work.
The statement, “Call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree,” appears also in Micah 4. It teaches the same thing that Zechariah teaches.
This subject, however, does not stop with Zechariah three, it continues on.
Zech. 6:11—”Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;”
The angel is commanded to take silver and gold, and to make crowns–not one, but more than one. These are set upon Joshua’s head.
Verse 14—”And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.”
Verse 14 reveals that Joshua is to pass the crowns on to his helpers whom the Lord Himself names. This is to be a memorial, an everlasting reminder in the temple of the Lord.
What can all this mean?—Just this: Joshua is Heaven’s appointed judge, ruler. He himself is crowned as such. And in response to the Lord’s Own command, Joshua crowns (authorizes) his helpers whom the Lord Himself names. In other words, as members of “the house of David, “Joshua authorizes them to engage in the work. So, Joshua is responsible to the Lord, but his helpers are responsible to Joshua. Here is seen an organization having a Leader and an under leader—the Lord and Joshua. Thus it is that whatever is to be bound on earth, is also to be bound in Heaven (Matt. 16:19.)
As concretely as Heaven can make it, this symbolism depicts that God’s people in this final work are not to labor at cross purposes. All are to speak the same thing. So it is that His “Watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” Isa. 52:8. Then His people shall be Γ27 called “The Holy people, The redeemed of the Lord,” “Sought out, A city not forsaken” (Isa. 62:12). Verse 12—”And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord.”
Joshua is well instructed that the burden and the ingenuity for building this spiritual temple, belongs to Him Whose name is “the BRANCH.” He is to grow out of His place. To Him be the glory. He alone is to be exalted. He is to build the temple of the Lord.
Verses 13,15—”Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
Thus shall the prophecies of Isaiah, chapters two and four, also the fourth chapter of Micah be fulfilled.
Finally, how do we know for certain that this message was planned and recorded especially for the church of today?—We know it from the fact that the revelation of these scriptures is now, never before, unveiled and proclaimed. Now its proclamation makes known that the Lord “is taking the reins in His Own hands” (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300); that the time of the purification of the church (the Judgment of the Living in the house of God 1 Pet. 4:17) is at hand (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80); that the purified ones, the 144,000 (the wheat) —Rev. 14:1 are to be put in the barn (Matt. 13:30), no longer to be commingled with the tares; that an innumerable multitude from Γ28 all nations (Rev. 7:9), are to be brought to the house of the Lord (Isa. 66:19, 20).
You, yourself, can now answer the question as to whether you are a Davidian or still a Laodicean. If you are satisfied with yourself, with your spiritual attainments, with your man-made gospel program; if you think that the Lord is speaking to you by whatever happens to “click” in your mind; if you think you have all the Truth, and that you have need of nothing more; if you think that everyone who does not have your stamp of approval on his belief, is a false prophet; and if you are in constant fear that someone is everlastingly trying to deceive you because he teaches something new; if you never give it a thought that you may be slamming your door against a Truth-bearer who may be bringing to you the Lord’s “eyesalve,” and the “wedding garment”—if you do all these or any part of them, then you must be as good a Laodicean as you can possibly be, not a Davidian.
But if you are aware that your garments are filthy, and your iniquity not blotted out; if you realize that you are to walk in God’s ways as He directs through the Joshua of today, if you are all for God and not at all for self or for the world, then, of course, you either are, or are beginning to be, a Davidian. If you have not attained to all of these, you should see that you do; and if you already have, then keep advancing in the light, and for certain you shall finally stand on Mt. Zion with the Lamb.
Now take the counsel of the Lord, and no longer be like a piece of bark drifting in the sea with every wind of doctrine.
“. . . The people of God are represented in the mes- Γ29 sage to the Laodiceans as in a position of carnal security. They are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments. . . .
“What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right, when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and his testimony must be correct.”—Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 252, 253.
We have no right to judge a man
Until he’s fairly tried;
Should we not like his company,
We know the world is wide.
Some may have faults–and who has not?
The old as well as young;
Perhaps we may, for aught we know,
Have fifty to their one.
Trust and Obey
When we walk with the Lord
in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do. His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth ‘richly repay;
Not a grief nor a loss,
not a frown nor a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove
the delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay,
For the favor He shows,
and the joy He bestows, Are
for them who will trust and obey.
—J. H. Sammis