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.
"Love must be the principle of action. Love is the underlying principle of God's government in heaven and earth, and it must be the foundation of the Christian's character. This alone can make and keep him steadfast. This alone can enable him to withstand trial and temptation.
"And love will be revealed in sacrifice. The plan of redemption was laid in sacrifice,--a sacrifice so broad and deep and high that it is immeasurable. Christ gave all for us, and those who receive Christ will be ready to sacrifice all for the sake of their Redeemer. The thought of His honor and glory will come before anything else." CS 197
To show that the principle of love has both masculine and feminine qualities, and that the feminine ones, though of equal importance to our salvation, are usually the ones least appreciated and the least put into practice.
Males beget, Females bare
Males give forth, Females receive
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE SIGNS IN THE HEAVEN
In Bible symbolism (Genesis 37:9 & 10)
The sun represents the masculine principle,
The moon represents the feminine principle.
The light of the sun is always shining somewhere.
The light of the moon is hidden from view everywhere at times.
Christ, the Sun (masculine) of righteousness (Malachi 4:2) became as the moon (feminine) when He allowed Himself to be crucified and buried (hidden from everyone's view).
THE FEMININE PRINCIPLE OF SALVATION
IN CHILD BEARING
When a women chooses to become pregnant by receiving seed from her husband, she does so with the knowledge that she will no longer be the same – that she will go through changes in her body which can never be reversed. This is an act of self-sacrifice on her part, for she must go through it in order to bring forth more life into this world and to her husband. She knows that she will go through the great pain of child-birth, and may even die in the process.
When a woman is at her most attractive, she may be likened to a full moon – radiant in her glory. As she goes through the complications of pregnancy that attractiveness wanes to a degree (this is not to say that pregnant women do not take on another kind of beauty and radiance, for they certainly do).
It was in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus began to most fully display the feminine aspect of the waning moon when He received the cup which would eventually take Him into the hands of His enemies where the glory of His person and ministry would be abused, then to the cross, and finally to the grave where He would be totally hidden from view as is the moon at the end of its monthly cycle. Even He had to die to self in order to receive the cup which would bring salvation to the world, just as a woman receives from her husband in order to bring the glory of new life to the world.
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. . . .
"He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. . . .
"And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words." Matthew 26:39, 42, 44.
". . . we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Hebrews 2:9, 10.
The sun gives forth light,
The moon reflects light
"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." John 12:46, 49, 50.
Jesus chose to become as the moon (feminine) and reflect the words of the Father, rather than speak His own words.
This feminine principle of resting from self, of the hiding of self, is epitomized in the creation of the Sabbath wherein God rested from all the work that He had done. We are admonished to enter into that same rest – that same feminine principle. The Jews say that the Sabbath is God's bride.
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." Isaiah 58:13, 14.
Thus God asks us to be selfless on His holy day that He may impart His blessing to us. A very beautiful woman has to be humble in regards to her attractiveness in order to dedicate herself to one man and their children. That is, though she may be able to have any and many men who are drawn to her attractiveness, she must die to any such highmindedness in order to be a true blessing in the earth. Though pride and ambition may tempt us to seek for fame and fortune by undertaking unceasing activity (like that of the sun), God asks us to be as the moon (feminine) at times (on His holy days) that He may fill us with blessings which we may then develop into fruits of righteousness.
Even the sun is tempered by the feminine principle in its power as it goes through its daily cycle. It starts out gently warming in the morning, as it takes over from the work of the moon and star light. Then, rather than continuing the full blaze of its midday shining which could burn up the face of the earth, it wanes through the afternoon, until the moon and stars take over declaring the Lord's glory in the heavens.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." Psalms 19:1, 2.
John the Baptist came as a voice in the wilderness, a light unto Israel preparing the way of the Lord. As his work was only to be of a limited duration, when Christ appeared on the scene he said,
"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30.
While he understood the hiding (humbling) of self, John also understood how the feminine principle of receiving is active in the plan of salvation. When asked about the circumstance of Jesus also baptizing people, and that they were going to Him instead of himself,
"John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." John 3:27.
Thus he acknowledged that he, like the moon (like a female) could only shine forth as it was given to him to reflect the light of another. That is, a woman can't really claim that her children are solely her own. She has to acknowledge that it is from the act of another (her husband) that she may shine forth through her children. Likewise, the husband also stands in a similar feminine position, a position of humility, in that he has to acknowledge that the glory he receives through his children is only so because of the great thing that his wife was able to do with the little that he gave her.
Jesus, "the Sun of righteousness," further demonstrated the value of the feminine principle when He said,
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter [the Holy Ghost] will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." John 16:7
He, "the Sun of righteousness," had to "go away" in order that the precious Comforter may come to the people. This going away was for the good of others, for He could have stayed on earth and continued His personal work. But that would not have fulfilled the real need of the people – that is, the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is written that after His resurrection Jesus appeared only to His disciples (Acts 1:2, 3), while those who were resurrected with Him were seen of many (Acts 13:30, 31). He could have showed Himself openly to those who had crucified Him. Thus even in this He was showing a hiding of self by refraining from coming face to face with His persecutors and causing them great embarrassment and fear.
Even the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, is come to demonstrate the feminine principle –
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
The Holy Ghost, who is Herself feminine (though this is not fully seen in the English translations from the Greek), spoke not of Herself, but spoke the words of Jesus, who, likewise, spoke not of Himself, but spoke the words of the Father.
Thus we see how we, male and female, alike, may fulfill the apostle Paul's desire for the Church –
"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:2.
"Only like can appreciate like. Unless you accept in your own life the principle of self-sacrificing love, which is the principle of His character, you cannot know God. . . ." Maranatha, p. 88.
To "accept in your own life the principle of self-sacrificing love" means to accept the feminine principle along with the masculine, for God created both to declare His glory, as he has the sun and the moon.
Those who choose to exalt to masculine principle above the feminine, or to its exclusion, cannot but suffer loss thereby for they put themselves in an attitude where they will not be able to receive from the word of God which begets –
"Of His own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." James 1:18
Here is where we get into the practical application of these things. For the past few decades there has been much talk about men "getting in touch with their feminine side." What this means is that men need to become more "sensitive," less macho – less aggressive and dominating. But being aggressive and dominating is not limited to men – women can be just as macho should they choose to do so. Women can be just as "insensitive" as men. The only difference is how they do it.
The world has long seen the results of the exaltation of the masculine principle – the principle that is at the heart of sun worship. Lucifer is the one who doesn't exhibit any of the true feminine characteristics, and whose character is worshiped under the guise of sun worship. That is, under said garb, wherein the principle of the moon (the principle of humbly reflecting the light of a greater one – the principle of the hiding of one's self) has no place, Lucifer's (whose name means "shining one") character is exalted. As sun worship had become well nigh universal, so the macho, ever shining, ever burning, character became the dominant principle of that world which is often spoken of as "a man's world." In that world even salvation has come to be thought of as requiring only the masculine aspects of the Gospel. Thus we see the many churches in that world (the "man's world") which are dominated by men and exclusive to most anything having to do with women.
Likewise, we also see that it is the outshining of one or more of the leaders that is given the first place in their services, rather than the workings of the Holy Spirit through whomever God may choose to impart said blessing. Even among inspired speakers there is the danger of failing to practice the moon-like hiding of self, as Paul writes –
"How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
"If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." 1 Corinthians 14:26-33.
Yet in many congregations the speaker would consider it a great insult if the Lord was to inspire someone to speak up, and would not care to "hold his peace" (hide his self) while the Lord worked through the servants of His choice.
What we are looking at here is the feminine principle of salvation. That is, that part of the plan of salvation which brings us redemption from the curse of the law. When the Lord was delivering the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, He brought many plagues upon that land and people to bring their minds, and particularly that of their leader, Pharaoh, to a position of humility so that he would let the Lord's people go. Of that occasion we read,
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: . . .
And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me." Exodus 10:1, 3.
The word translated "hardened" means to be heavy, be dull, be insensible – insensitive. It is a masculine word in Hebrew, though its connotation is not always negative, as it is in this instance. The word "humble," though, is feminine. The hardening of Pharaoh's heart was the result of the choices he had been making in rejecting the word of the Lord that was coming to him through God's servants. Pharaoh refused to be humble (feminine), and receive God's word. Many of those today who have God's people in bondage through their Pharaoh-like dominance need to take these things to heart before they themselves are so hardened that it will be impossible for them to accept the remedy.
When describing Himself as the "chief corner stone" Jesus said,
"What is this then that is written, 'The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?' Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken [humbled – become receptive of the words of salvation as a female is of her husband]; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." Luke 20:17, 18.
Before God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees almost the whole world was under the influence of sun worship – that is, the worship of the masculine principle to the exclusion of the feminine. That which was to become the guiding influence in Israel – the Holy Spirit, the holy Shekinah (both of which terms are feminine in Hebrew) – was not given the place nor the respect which God had intended for Her to have. Even Israel failed to give Her that place of prominence, as we read,
"I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, Surely they are My people, children that will not lie: so He was their Saviour.
"In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
"But they rebelled, and vexed [grieved] His holy Spirit [feminine]: therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them." Isaiah 63:7-10.
In one prophecy which depicts the church in the latter days, God reveals His hatred for the principle that underlies sun worship – the principle of self exaltation.
"And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east." Eze 8:16.
In that chapter of Ezekiel several of the abominations which are committed against the Lord are brought to light prior to the slaughter of Ezekiel chapter 9. The last, and greatest abomination is in verse 16 quoted above. It is said that they "worshipped the sun..." – meaning that they worshipped self and the masculine principle, void of, or to the diminishing of the feminine principle.
The number of men there (25) is significant because it is the number of the leading priests (the high priest and the heads of the 24 yearly courses – 1 Chronicles 24) – those representative of the whole body of the priesthood. They being the chosen guardians of the true forms of worship makes their transgression of the greatest of insults to God. Even more so due to the fact that they were doing such in the very court of the sanctuary – "at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar."
In the Bible, the church of God is depicted by a feminine motherly symbol,
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered." Rev. 12:1-2.
By these symbols we can see that God's true people are depicted as being feminine in nature (a woman receptive of God's input), while God's enemies, those that must be destroyed, are depicted as being masculine in nature (worshipping the sun – the shining forth of self).
To God's true followers, Paul wrote,
"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." 2 Corinthians. 11:2.
But to God's wayward children, those in need of overcoming the principle of sun worship in their own experience, those who are in need of opening up that they may receive the Word of life, the True Witness declares:
"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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Rev. 3:14-22
The problem of today among those who have joined the church in the time of judgment (Laodicea – meaning "a people speaking judgment") is that they are not exhibiting the feminine principle. They say that they are rich and increased with goods, and need no more – they are not open to receive from the Lord, their Husband. They are counseled to buy from the Lord, to hear God's voice, to open the door that Christ may enter their home and bring them a meal to dine with them. Instead of that, though, they want to continue to remain lukewarm, not caring about their undone condition; to remain without that which the Lord is offering for sale; to close their ears against the Lord's messages; and to eat their own food in their own houses alone, leaving the Lord outside knocking.
The description of Laodicea and its "abominations" perfectly reflects that which Ezekiel saw in Chapter 8, where the inner court of the Lord's house contained 25 men all worshipping the sun (the lone masculine principle) with their backs to the sanctuary were the Lord's sanctifying sacrifice was to take place. But those who choose to do such cannot also be depicted by true femininity – as the woman of Rev. 12 or as a chaste virgin. In order to be "as a chaste virgin" one must embody the feminine principle, the principle of receiving of heaven and of allowing God into our hearts and minds, to fulfill His good pleasure within us.
The principle of heaven is that of receiving and passing along. The testimony against Laodicea is that she won't receive, won't open the door, won't hear, and won't buy. The Father gives His commandments to the Son, and the Son to the Holy Ghost, who passes them along to the heavenly angels, who, in turn, pass them along to those on earth who have ears to hear, and who, in turn, pass along the good words from the Father to a world lying in darkness.
What does God do with the Laodiceans who are acting as sun worshippers? He offers them "the branch."
"Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose." Eze. 8:17
However, when they don't accept the final remedy ("the branch" – the last thing the Lord can offer them), indeed putting it "to their nose," they are left to bear the consequences as depicted in Ezekiel chapter 9.
This same number of men (25) is again brought to Ezekiel's view in chapter 11, where we read –
"Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD'S house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people." (verse 1)
In chapter 8 this number of men (25) were themselves engaged in an abominable form of worship in the court of the temple with their backs to the Lord's temple. In this chapter they are seen at "the east gate of the LORD'S house, which looketh eastward [towards the sun]: and ... at the door of the gate." So we see that those men are standing in the entrance to the Lord's house which faces Babylon, which is to the east of Jerusalem. Thus those who would be leaving Babylon and coming to worship the Lord in truth and righteousness would have to pass by these leading men who were standing by the "door" of this "east gate."
But it says of those 25 men,
"these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city: Which say, It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh." (verses 2-3)
Thus we see that not only were those 25 men previously engaging in the forbidden practice of sun worship (exalting the masculine principle) among themselves, but now they are subjecting the whole of the city to their beclouded thinking, as the Lord reveals to them –
"Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.
"And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them. Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron." (verses 4-7, first part)
But the Lord tells them that such is not to continue –
"...but I will bring you forth out of the midst of it. Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you. Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
"This city shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel: And ye shall know that I am the LORD: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you." (verses 7, last part - 12)
Thus, in unequivocal terms the Lord expresses His supreme loathing towards "the manners of the heathen that are round about" (which were predominately sun worshippers), and to those among the leaders of His people who follow after the same abominations. What is notable about those 25 men is that they are of the "rule or ruin" mindset – they are prepared to allow total ruin to come upon the nation rather than admit their errors and repent thereof. Therein is seen the results of engaging in the principles of sun worship – the principles of the exaltation of self – of the failing to hide self, of being spiritually macho.
An example of this "rule or ruin" mentality is seen in the actions of king Saul after God had removed him from being king because he would not humble himself to the Lord's will, and had instead anointed David to be king in his place.
"As Saul, furthermore, defied God by refusing to abdicate the throne, and by seeking the life of His anointed, king David, so now at the sounding of the trumpet today, we find the General Conference refusing to let God take the reins in His Own hands (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300), their attempting to usurp His throne by determining that they are to rule the denomination until the end of this world, and their availing themselves of every chance to cast us [Davidian reformers] out of their midst, in order to safeguard their control of it. Those who are doing this are they whom the prophet Ezekiel prophetically heard saying: "This city is the caldron, and we be the flesh." Ezek. 11:3. They are now doing everything possible to exalt and to perpetuate themselves in power, and to be rid of those who have in the name of the Lord "published peace," and brought to them the "good tidings" that "the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off." Nah. 1:15. But "this city shall not," says the Lord, "be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel." Ezek. 11:11." Mount Sion At "The Eleventh Hour," Tract 8 p. 53, 54. [brackets added]
By the foregoing we see that the Lord is to put an end to the practice and principles of sun worship among His people as illuminated herein. That is, he is to "spue" those who continue in these things out of His "mouth." (Revelation 3:16)
Why does God hate sun worship? Imagine if there were two suns in the heavens in such a position as to constantly enlighten the earth, rather than a sun and a moon. We'd all be burned to a crisp in no time. The delicate beauties and glorious wonders that God created during the week of creation would all be destroyed.
Being as the sun as Jesus showed in His going away that the Holy Spirit may come is a godly principle. But Lucifer aspired to what he thought was a better principle – that being that he would be as a sun which would not yield his glory to any other, not even his Creators. This led him to think and speak according to his own thoughts, and not according to that which is "given him from heaven" (John. 3:27). Rather than to receive and pass along the light of heaven, he desired to generate his own light to shine upon others. Of him and those who choose to follow in his ways of attempting to be an unyielding sun in the heavens in place of the divinely ordained yielding sun, it is written:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John. 8:44.
God knows how to be like the life providing, life sustaining sun, rising gently in the morning, shining strongly for a short time in the midday, cooling in the afternoon and departing for a season every night. Of man's and of Satan's attempt at being their own sun, we are reminded of the many writers who likened the atomic bomb to the sun ("Dark Sun," "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns," "The Day the Sun Rose Twice," to name a few book titles). The atom bomb explodes in a huge solar-like fireball destroying all in proximity to it through the uncontrolled fury of its light and heat. It also spreads a poisonous cloud of fallout bringing disease and a curse upon those in its wake. God's sunlight is the greatest of blessings. Man's atomic sunlight is the greatest of curses. God's light (His thoughts, commandments, and judgments) is as far superior to Satan's and man's light (lies, presumptions, commandments, and traditions of men) as the wisdom that blesses the world through the sun in the heavens is superior to the folly that curses the world through atomic explosions.
It is written –
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:3-8.
The general culture today, and the culture that permeates even the religious world, operates under the idea epitomized by the oft invoked phrase – "be a man about it" – suggesting that masculinity is the strong, smart, good and morally right way to be. However, the invitation of heaven is to behold the feminine principle of salvation, and to – "be a woman about it" (Rev. 12). As one well known woman put it, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38.
So let it be. Amen and Amen.
Doug Mitchell and Steve Penners