That everyone who thirsteth for the truth may obtain it, these publications are, as a Christian service, provided without charge. They levy but one exaction: the soul's obligation to itself to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. The only strings attached to this free proffer are the golden strands of Eden and the crimson cords of Calvary - the ties that bind.
A GEM FOR REFLECTION AND PRAYER
I shall read from Mount of Blessing, page 171, beginning with the second paragraph. This reading is a continuation of our last Sabbath's reading, based on the Lord's prayer.
M.B., pg. 171 -- "It is not safe for us to linger to contemplate the advantages to be reaped through yielding to Satan's suggestions. Sin means dishonor and disaster to every soul that indulges in it; but it is blinding and deceiving in its nature, and it will entice us with flattering presentations. If we venture on Satan's ground, we have no assurance of protection from his power. So far as in us lies, we should close every avenue by which the tempter may find access to us.
"The prayer, 'Bring us not into temptation,' is itself a promise. If we commit ourselves to God, we have the assurance, 'He will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.'"
We shall now kneel and pray that we may realize that sin is blinding and deceiving in its nature; that it leads to dishonor and disaster; and that to be on the safe side, we must not even so much as contemplate yielding to Satan's suggestions, for once we venture onto his ground we cannot expect God's protection. Let us also thank the Lord for the comforting assurance that if we fully commit ourselves to him, He will not allow us to be tempted above that we are able.
THE END OF HUMAN IDOLS AND THEIR WORSHIPERS
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF, MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS SABBATH, DECEMBER 7, 1947 MT. CARMEL CHAPEL WACO, TEXAS
This afternoon we shall study Zechariah, chapter 13. Let us begin with the first verse.
Zech. 13:1 -- "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness."
The phrase "in that day" points back to preceding events, back to the twelfth chapter. There we find that the event is the great mourning in Jerusalem (chapter 12, verses 12- 14). So "in that day," in the day of that great mourning, this fountain is to be opened.
To find the time in which the mourning takes place, it is necessary that we go further back into the twelfth chapter. Better still, we should review the chapter from the first verse on, because there are brought to view seven groups of separate and distinct events, one following the other.
The outstanding events of each group are these: (1) Jerusalem is to be made "a cup of trembling" and the nations of the earth are to be "in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem." (2) "In that day" the nations are to gather together against them. (3) "In that day" the Lord is to "smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness," and He is also to open His "eyes upon the house of Judah." The governors of Judah are then to say in their hearts, "The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God." (4) "In that day" Jerusalem is to be inhabited
again. (5) "In that day he that is feeble among them" is to be as David; and the house of David is to be as God. (6) "In that day" the Lord is to seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. He will then pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications. (7) "In that day" there is to be a great mourning in Jerusalem.
Thus one event is contingent upon another, the last of which is the great mourning in Jerusalem. In the day of these events, therefore, the fountain for sin and for uncleanness is opened. Let us now connect Zechariah 13:1 with verse 2.
Zech. 13:1, 2 -- "In that day [in the day the great mourning takes place] there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land."
Two things stand out clearly in these verses: (1) that the house of David must come into existence before the cleansing fountain is opened; (2) that the cleansing begins with cutting off the names of the idols, and throwing out of the land the false prophets and the unclean spirits.
In our previous study of the tenth chapter of Zechariah, we learned that these idols are the kind that speak; that they are men. There is no doubt, therefore, that these are ministering brethren who the laity are idolizing. As a result, the laity are blindly following them, and whatever decisions their "idols" make concerning what is truth and what is error, what is sin and what is righteousness, those are the decisions which the laity does carry out. These "idols," therefore are creating a situation similar to that which the priests, scribes, and
Pharisees created in the days of Christ's first advent. Consequently, the idol-worshipers are not troubling themselves to personally investigate fresh messages, and they are thereby ignorantly following men rather than Christ and His advancing Truth. These, along with the prophets and the unclean spirits, shall pass out of the land.
Zech. 13:3-5 -- "And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord; and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth."
The name of the idols (the flattering titles of men) shall forever be forgotten: Men shall never again be known by such titles. Thereafter neither a false prophet nor an unclean spirit shall be tolerated in the land. In fact, not even a father or a mother will then tolerate their own son to pose as such, but they shall deliver him to the executioners. It shall come to pass that the men who even now are exalting themselves, and, worst of all, are preaching without having been "sent," shall be ashamed as they see their foolish teachings, predictions, and private interpretations of the Scriptures. No longer will they wear deceitful garments. Rather, they will say, "I am no prophet, not even a pastor, I am only a herdsman, a common farmer."
The prophet Ezekiel also was given glimpses of this situation: "Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye
have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it; albeit I have not spoken? Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord God. And Mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of My people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord God.
"Because, even because they have seduced My people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter: say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore thus saith the Lord God; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in My fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in Mine anger, and great hailstones in My fury to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. Thus will I accomplish My wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it." Ezek. 13:3-15.
What a fearful responsibility rests upon those who carelessly handle the Word of God, who pose as soul guardians over the people! Both they and their abominations will fall in the ditch. Indeed, if any reform is needed in Christendom, this one is.
Having now learned better, let us no longer make idols of men; let us no longer give place within us to unclean spirits. Let us rather give the Spirit of God a chance to lead us into His ever-advancing Truth with personal understanding.
Let us be followers of Christ, never again of Paul, of Apollos, or of Cephas.
Zech. 13:6, 7 -- "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends. Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn Mine hand upon the little ones."
I have no special comments to make on verses 6 and 7, other than what is commonly understood among Christians. It is plain to see, though, that after the Lord's shepherd is smitten, then it is that the Lord will separate His people.
Zech. 13:8 -- "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein."
In this separation, according to verse 8, the people are divided in three parts: Evidently they are the saints, the hypocrites, and the heathen. The two latter parts are to be cut off (separated from the saints), and they are to die. Concerning the future of the former third, let us read--
Zech. 13:9 -- "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God."
In this connection, the gospel prophet was instructed to write: "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
"Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger. And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword." Isa. 13:9-15.
To this warning the prophet Zephaniah adds: "And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth
greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
"That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land." Zeph. 1:12-18.
These scriptures are self-explanatory, and they make our subject as clear as crystal: As soon as the house of David is set up, as soon as the first fruits reach Mt. Zion and there stand with the Lamb, the cleansing fountain will be opened. Then it is that the great harvest will begin during which every grain of "wheat" shall be put into the "barn," but every noxious seed burned (Matt. 13:30). Then it is that every good "fish" shall be put into vessels, whereas every bad one shall be cast out (Matt. 13:48). Then it is that everyone having on the "wedding garment" shall be served the wedding supper, but everyone having not the garment on shall be cast into outer darkness (Matt. 22:11- 13).
In the terms of the parables all this can be summed as follows: Those who successfully aim to be spared as "wheat," as good "fish," and to put on the wedding garment, are those who have found the field of great treasure and the pearl of great price and have done all to purchase them.
"So shall it be at the end of the world, the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked
from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matt. 13:49, 50.
Solemn times we have come to, Brother and Sister. Now is the time to put on the white garment. Now is the time to buy the field with the great treasure, and the pearl of great price. "Shall you? Shall I?" is the great question that we must quickly settle without other people's influence or interference.
We should now be able to see how the gospel work is to be finished, and that the idea which we have had about it is merely a human fabrication. It is now clearly seen how sinners are made saints, how God's great fountain is capable of cleansing all of us, of making us as white as snow if we let Him. So it matters not what we were yesterday, the important thing is what we are to be from today on.
We should not be among that class of people who quarrel over trivial matters, but who do not care to discuss weighty subjects such as this. If we do not come to the knowledge of the Truth, if we do not let it do its intended work in us, how can we ever be fitted to live in the presence of a holy God? You see, believing or not believing in truths such as this, really means something. But to argue, as some do, over a point such as "the three days and the three nights" (Matt. 12:40) with nothing to do about it even if the argument be won, is worse than Pharisaism. The Devil would have us busy ourselves with unimportant matters and with things that we do not understand.
Well, let me tell you something: In 1931, after The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 1, came off the press, we published a two-page article in which we said that what God has led us into is either all truth or no truth. Since that time we have published another book and over twenty tracts besides the series of the "Timely Greetings,"
all containing doctrinal matter. These publications have been scattered far and wide throughout the Denomination, but to this day the Denomination has not once officially attempted to refute any subject in its entirety. They ever try to take away what we have on these scriptures, but never give us something better. All we have heard or seen is garbling, or some such procedure as followed by first-day keepers while debating with Sabbath keepers.
I know that it is not a Bulgarian from the Rhodope Mountains who has made scholarly Americans scratch their heads. It is not possible that such a one could have shaken the Denomination from center to circumference. If you do not know Who it actually is, then you had better find out without delay.
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These little Weeklies, which cost you nothing, are of priceless worth to you. Read and keep them in your library, for the time will surely come when you will be thankful that you have preserved your copies.