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TEXT FOR PRAYER A Battle And A March
We shall read from "The Mount of Blessing," page 203, beginning with the second paragraph.
"The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart.... The old nature, born of blood and of the will of the flesh, can not inherit the kingdom of God. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits must be given up.
"He who determines to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of an unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Selfishness and pride will make a stand against anything that would show them to be sinful. We can not, of ourselves, conquer the evil desires and habits that strive for the mastery. We can not overcome the mighty foe who holds us in his thrall. God alone can give us the victory. He desired us to have the mastery over ourselves, our own will and ways. But He can not work in us without our consent and cooperation. The divine Spirit works through the faculties and powers given to man. Our energies are required to cooperate with God."
The old nature, the nature that we are born with, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. According to this reading our need is to pray for ability to surrender our hearts, our all to God. When we do this, we shall be quite different than what we are now -- our old nature will vanish away.
ZION IN THE HEIGHT OF HER GLORY
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF, MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS SABBATH, MAY 10, 1947 MT. CARMEL CHAPEL WACO, TEXAS
Our study for this afternoon is from the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah. There we read: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isa. 60:1.
The first thing we need to know in this study is the person whom Inspiration asks to arise. This chapter being a continuation of the fifty-fourth chapter, we will, therefore, look there for the information. There it is shown that it is the barren woman, God's servants in the Christian church. He is calling His church to arise and to shine because her "light is come." As to whether He is addressing His servants at this present time, in the past, or in the future, let us read again--
"Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified." Isa. 60:21.
This verse does not say that her people are already righteous, but that they shall be righteous. It does not say that they have inherited the land, but that they shall inherit it. His church, therefore, is to be purified and made white by God's doing away with the "tares."
Since her people have never to this day been all righteous, it is plain to see that the fulfillment of the prophecy is yet future. And in view of the fact that our message is announcing the imminent purification of the church, the time in which the angels are to sift out the hypocrites from among the faithful, the time in which the net is drawn to shore and the bad fish cast out, the cleansing of the sanctuary -- the Judgment for the Living in "the house of God" (1 Pet. 4:17) is about to begin, Inspiration, therefore, in this chapter is addressing God's church at this particular time. Since we now see that this chapter contains important timely Truth, we shall study it verse by verse.
Isa. 60:1 -- "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
Who can truthfully say that our light is not come? that our message is not timely Truth? None who are in contact with It, I am sure. Inspiration is, therefore, inviting God's people, the Denomination, along with us, to arise and shine. The word "shine" is what we must study next that we may know what is required of us.
A black, dirty object never reflects, it consumes all the light to itself. The moon shines because its surface is of white substance. If it were made of black substance it could not reflect any light whatever. The same is true with spiritual light: If we are eager to shine, we must now arise and clean up, put away our black, filthy garments -- take an active part in this revival and reformation under the supervision of the Holy Spirit. Stupidity, fanaticism, and indifference must be abandoned and Divine thinking put in action, so commands the Lord:
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous
man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isa. 55:7-11.
We must clean up our thoughts, our ways, our bodies, our clothes, our homes inside and out. Cleanliness is Godliness; God's government is law and order, peace and righteousness, joy and contentment. Thus we need to be polished by the Spirit of God, be altogether Christians if we are to "shine," if we are ever to reflect the Word of God to those who sit in darkness. If you have taken care of all the things the message teaches, then as your supreme duty and Divine privilege, take what Inspiration says: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Those who are now sitting down as dark objects, consuming light to themselves, should now embrace the opportunity and welcome the privilege. Today is your opportunity.
Isa. 60:2 -- "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee."
The word "behold" connotes that if you look, you can see the signs of darkness already hovering about you. "Gross darkness" means that the people will be at a complete loss to know which way to turn, that they will be entirely confused and perplexed. Now is our opportunity to respond to the Lord's call and to get ready to meet the situation. We should now fully realize that we are in reality called to be the light to the Denomination, and ultimately to the world. Wonderful indeed that we should be the chosen ones from among the great masses of the world! You cannot afford to miss on this privilege. Act now.
Isa. 60:3 -- "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising."
We are now the most obscure people in the world, but the day is already here in which we shall be best known. Here is the sure promise that if we now arise from sitting down and make the effort to reach God's set goal for us, the result shall be that the Gentiles shall come to our light and the kings to the brightness of our rising. This is the acceptable day for you.
Isa. 60:4 -- "Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side."
Even now if we lift our spiritual eyes, says the Lord, we shall see that all things are now ready. The call, along with the signs of the times is too plain for one to suppose that the day is far off. Our sons and daughters in this message are soon to be gathered unto us from the ends of the earth.
Isa. 60:5 -- "Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and
thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee."
When this comes to pass, then the remnant shall plainly see and flow together, the abundance of the wealth of the Gentiles shall be turned over to them.
Isa. 60:6-9 -- "The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on Mine altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee."
Our sons and daughters in the faith shall come as a storm by air and by sea. They shall come because the Lord will glorify all His people. The call, "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:4), shall indeed along with the wealth of the Gentiles bring out "a great multitude which no man can number." Rev. 7:9.
Isa. 60:10 -- "And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in My wrath I smote thee, but in My favour have I had mercy on thee."
In Ezra and Nehemiah's time the people of God, the Jews, themselves had to build against great odds, but for the church purified, the Gentiles shall gladly build. Not only the common people but even their kings are to minister to the servants of God. Kings are now the bosses, but the day is almost here in which God's servants shall boss the kings, and the kings shall be glad to be bossed by them.
Isa. 60:11 -- "Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought."
Because of our response to God's call and because of our rising to shine for Him, many people shall say: "...Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Isa. 2:3. For this very obvious reason the gates as it were, would have to stay open day and night in order to accommodate the traffic -- the incoming saints, the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings. Plainly, then, the great need is not the "Harvest Ingathering" campaign, not the multiple collections, not the book sale days -- not any goal-raising campaigns -- but to take this "golden oil" for our lamps and to "arise and shine" is what the church needs today.
Isa. 60:12, 13 -- "For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious."
The place where the Lord's feet shall then stand is "the valley of the mountains" (Zech. 14:5); it is to be made most glorious.
Isa. 60:14-16 -- "The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
As babies are admirably treated and nursed, so shall the Gentiles and their kings gladly wait on the saints and from their abundance shall cheerfully feed God's servants.
Isa. 60:17 -- "For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness."
Yes, of better than the best shall the house of God be built.
Isa. 60:18 -- "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise."
Now when the world needs and longs for peace more than ever before, God, Who only is able to give it is loudly declaring that those who really want peace
can have it if they but come to Him. This hope and faith in the promises of God is even now to be our only peace of mind if we really believe.
Isa. 60:19-22 -- "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time."
When all God's servants as one "arise and shine," then a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. Then the Saints will be quickly gathered and wickedness brought to an end. This is God's way for finishing the gospel work and we had better abandon our man-conceived ideas of it and wholeheartedly respond to God's call if we expect to survive through the "great and dreadful day" of the Lord, if we expect to rejoice in the height of Zion's glory. If we stand faithful to God's Word, we shall finally behold all these wonders and live for evermore.