Why Not Making Better Progress?
Why Not Making Better Progress?
Many ask, if the Shepherd's Rod is a message from God, why is it not making better progress?It is true that the Rod's movement has been dogged by disappointments, fanaticism, schisms, and betrayals. Speaking specifically to Rod believers, Victor Houteff put it this way:
“Today as in Moses’ day many are duplicating the sins of that people. . . .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, 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!”
“Though at times we are greatly disappointed as we see among us the unfaithful, doubting, fault-finding, self-exalting multitude, including those who have forsaken the Lord; and those who when put on trial for their faith even curse and swear that they are not followers of the message of The Shepherd’s Rod: along with those who apparently believe and who declare that they stand strongly for the message, but who are throwing rocks at us and at our work;----though we certainly are not grateful for the element, yet we are not at all discouraged but rather made glad to stand alone for truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us.”
There are, and have been, many sincere, earnest and balanced Rod believers who could be considered exemplary Christians. Nonetheless, the problems described above are most unfortunate and certainly does not speak well of a message proclaiming additional light and higher standards. However, the fact that there is division within the ranks of the movement, does not nullify the veracity of the message or its eventual success. This very fact has been illustrated consistently throughout the pages of history. Let us consider, for example, that Noah preached for a hundred and twenty years before the flood came. The Exodus movement and its many years of failings—wondering forty years in the wilderness when it could have taken just weeks to enter the promised land. Then we have Israel’s hundreds of years of sinning and repenting and killing hundreds of God’s faithful prophets.. David and his band hiding from Saul seemed doomed during the years of struggle to reach the throne of the kingdom. The same can be said of our Lord and His disciples. There were twelve core disciples from the lower ranks of society. They constantly fought among themselves for the greatest position. One eventually betrayed their teacher into the hands of his bitterest enemies. Then when the master was arrested, they all forsook him and one cursed and swore that he didn’t know him.
These and other examples, clearly show that most of God’s ordained movements faced setbacks, disappointments and failures. Of course, these movements ultimately prevailed. They had to. The truth was on their side. Therefore, truth is the only sure prognosticator of a movement’s eventual success or failure. The fact that the Rod’s efforts appear, small, insignificant, ineffective, and impossible to carry forward, is not evidence that its message is false and its efforts doomed to failure. Neither is it unique. After all, even our own denomination, which we all hold as God-ordained, has had divisions. The Seventh-day Adventists Church has hundreds of factions. It may be less obvious because the Denomination is larger and more centralized. Christianity as a whole, with its more than three hundred different denominations, has numerous struggles, challenges, divisions, and has failed miserably to live up to its calling. Should a non-believer reject the gospel because of Christianity’s failings? Truth is the truth, and that is the surety of success.
It Was Predicted
The fact that the Rod’s message has had opposition and internal struggles, is not altogether a bad sign. Consider this, the fact that the Enemy of souls would put forth so much effort to destroy what is an apparently insignificant movement, would seem to speak loudly that there must be something to it. This in and of itself is not the only evidence, but surely Satan would not be putting forth so much effort to crush something that is not threatening to his cause!
It also appears that God foresaw the external and internal struggles the movement would encounter. Years before his death, Houteff warned of the pitfalls ahead for Rod believers.
“Everything that can be done against God’s message of today will be done,” he wrote in one of his last tracts, “with even greater vengeance than was manifest against Heaven’s message in the days of Christ’s first advent, for the Devil’s knows that if he loses now, he loses forever—that he is to have no other chance. Unparalleled, therefore, is the urgency that every eleventh-hour [Rod believer] church member now quickly and solidily brace himself against the Enemy’s effort to deliver a knockout blow. We must be alert, too, to realize that the blow is to come from surprisingly unsuspected foes—from professed friends of the gospel [Rod believers], who are no less pious than were priests in Christ’s day. . . The Enemy will try everything conceivable to confuse, becloud, and cover up the Truth, especially on the subject of the 144,000.” [Brackets added]
Even as early as 1946 he spoke of troubles to come.
“You will find that the Devil will fight for life and violently contest this judgement message, and will try to convince all that these prophecies will not be fulfilled. God’s true people, though, will see the importance of their fulfillment at this special time, and will gladly take what God’s Word says.”
In the last volume of The Timely Greetings series, he penned these chilling closing remarks:
“Miracle-mongers and Miracle-hunters, fanatics all, bear in mind, may become dangerously perversive, ready to sabotage everything that is not in accordance with their thinking. Loose and rattling tongues will shake the faith of us all. . . .It will be discovered that there will be thousands of voices, some from professed believers, and some from those who fight against the faith of the saints, one voice condemning one thing, and another condemning another thing, and what one condemns, another approve. But when held close to the light of God’s word, all their discordant philosophizings and murmurings, their man-made plans and carnal ideas, will be seen to be but a tumult of envy, jealousy, pride, self-opinionation, hatred, malice, politics, greed, prejudice, and every other selfishness. These unfortunate, self-sent ones, being yet in spiritual darkness, doubtless imagine themselves to be working for God with zeal and energy. But one day they will horrifyingly discover that they have been working against the Lord, as Saul of Tarsus discovered about himself. May the prayers of the saints awaken them, and put them working for the Lord, as the prayers of Stephen caused Saul to become the great Apostle Paul for both Jew and Gentile. And may he that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit saith, and hold fast that which he hath lest the enemy deceitfully take it from his grasp.
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