Five Men Slay after One Sets a Mark
The Only Peace of Mind
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Bringing New Truths
I shall read from “Christ’s Object Lessons,” page twenty, beginning with the second paragraph.
“In the earlier part of His ministry, Christ had spoken to the people in words so plain that all His hearers might have grasped truths which would make them wise unto salvation. But in many hearts the truth had taken no root, and it had been quickly caught away. ‘Therefore speak I to them in parables,’ He said; ‘because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand…. Jesus desired to awaken inquiry. He sought to arouse the careless, and impress truth upon the heart….”
In Christ’s day it was just as difficult to bring new truths to the people as it is today. Jesus used every possible means to interest the people in the present Truth of His day, but you know what little success He did have – just a few of the common people. The so-called learned men of the day bitterly opposed Him and spent their time and means to falsely accuse Him of one thing, then of another. In the kind of world we live we cannot expect the people to be different today than what they were in His day. Let us therefore pray that we ever keep awake, that we continue to be even more dissatisfied with our attainments as the days go by lest we, too, be found wanting – back into Laodiceanism. Let us pray that our hearts be ever open to His unfolding Truth, and that we never lose our hunger for “meat in due season.”
The subject of our study this afternoon is found in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel. We shall begin with–
Ezek. 9:1-6 – “He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon He was, to the threshold of the house. And He called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; and the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others He said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.”
Note that at the command of Lord, the angels in charge are to slay the sinners in Jerusalem (in the church), not in the world. Only the abomination-hating ones, those who receive the mark for sighing and crying against the wrongs are to be left.
The day Ezekiel had this vision in Babylon, Jerusalem had already been in captivity and emptied of its people for years. See Ezekiel 1:1; 8:7. No such a purification or cleansing as here described ever took place in Ezekiel’s day or in the annals of the church since his day. It is, therefore, certain that the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
Inspiration in our day, moreover, puts this foreseen cleansing still in the future and makes this explanation:
“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions his messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.’
“Here we see that the church – the Lord’s sanctuary was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people,” says the Spirit of God, “had betrayed their trust.” – “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, pg. 211.
The enemies of God, you note, have taken possession of the churches, but soon the tables will be turned, and the servants of the Devil will be no more; they will fall and not be found.
The people, you note, are deceived by the ancient men who have betrayed their trust. You well know that the prophets, the apostles, Jesus Christ, and the reformers, were all in their times railed against and taunted as “Offshoots,” but we thank God that the “offshoots” and the Truth, not the dead tops, triumphed.
“…They [the ancient men] had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pg. 211.
Is not this now the position of the ancient men? Are they not now crying peace and safety? Are they not now preaching that Ezekiel nine is not now to take place and that it is not to take place in the church, that this message is a false alarm? What does it take to awaken a dreaming sleeper? They are dreaming that–
“…Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.” “God will not slay His people,” “The church is His most precious object on earth,” they say.
Of course the church is His most precious object on earth, and that is just exactly why He is to cleanse it, that is why He is to slay the wicked in the midst of her and seal (preserve) the penitent so that He may have a church clean, “without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing.” – Eph. 5:27.
“…Thus peace and safety is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children, all perish together.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pg. 211. Continuing further, the Spirit of God asks:
“Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God, and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them, and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work, and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons. Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.” Then says the Spirit:
“But the general slaughter of all those who do not thus see the wide contrast between sin and righteousness, and do not feel as those do who stand in the counsel of God and receive the mark, is described in the order to the five men with slaughter weapons: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.’“ – “Testimonies,” Vol. 3, pg. 267.
Here are shown two classes in the church – the faithful and the unfaithful – those who view sin as sin and those who view it as fun. Also it is seen that the church has a closing work, a work that must be done especially for her, not for the world. In addition, it reveals that the closing work for the church is the sealing of the 144,000, that they, therefore, are the ones who will feel most deeply the wrongs among God’s professed people.
Verses 7-11 – “And He said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt Thou destroy all the residue of Israel in Thy pouring out of Thy fury upon Jerusalem? Then said He unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not. And as for Me also, Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head. And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as Thou hast commanded me.”
When is this separation of the wicked from among the righteous to take place? Jesus places it in the end of the world. Says He:
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.” Matt. 13:30, 47, 48.
As tares they are burned; as bad fish, they are cast out. This is the way in which the Kingdom comes, says the Lord. And what is the harvest if not the Judgment for the Living? – the work which separates the one from the other.
“The true people of God,” says Inspiration, “who have the spirit of the work of the Lord, and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the sides of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 3, pg. 266. On which side do you stand?
Now the subject of the 144,000 stands out brighter than ever before. Now you can clearly see that those who escape the slaughter foreseen in Ezekiel nine, are the 144,000 the future servants of God, the first fruits of the harvest, resulting from the cleansing of the sanctuary (church), the work of the investigative judgment of the living. This work and this Truth, therefore, are the most important for the day, and should whole-heartedly be heeded if one expects to receive the mark and the seal and escape the slaughter, survive the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Our neglect to sigh and cry for the abominations in the church would mean our eternal loss. We dare not allow anything to divert our attention from this great and glorious work for the saints, and most dreadful and inglorious for the sinners. This work must “engross the whole mind, the whole attention.” – “Early Writings,” p. 118. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with your eternal welfare. No, not for a moment, for the day is far spent! What? – friends, relatives, husbands, wives, you are to lose them with yourself if this Truth fails to convince you and them? But the promise to the faithful is: “For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.” Isa. 61:7.
Do you, Brother, Sister, actually comprehend, actually realize, the crisis as outlined here? Do you see the prediction that the sealing message is to be resisted by those who foster the abominations? Are you with them? I hope not. Is there then any question that if the brethren are left ignorant of this cleansing work that God is about to do among His people, I say, if they be left ignorant of it, will they not fall in the general destruction of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons?
Obviously all the sinners in the church will perish in this slaughter of the wicked, be they men, women, or children. Parents who continue to serve the Devil will have their little ones with them in hell; and parents who break away from abominations will have their little ones with them in the Kingdom. Where do you stand? Are you with those who have the burden of this work, or are you against them? This you see is the decisive hour for you, for me.
“…Mark this point with care,” counsels the Spirit of God. “Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 3, pg. 267.
Who are true Seventh-day Adventists at this crucial moment? – Those who resist the closing work for the church? or those who put their heart and soul into it? Let us face the situation honestly and sincerely. Let us anoint our eyes with this Heavenly eyesalve that we might see and know what Truth is. Only those who repent and promote the message of the hour rather than fight against it will stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion.
Let me read again:
“In the time when his wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul-anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls, will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled under foot, while the servants of Satan triumph….” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pp. 210, 211.
No longer serve Satan. No longer fight God’s Truth against your own interests. The Spirit of Prophecy in these lines has made it as plain as it can be made, that when the sealing message is brought to the attention of the people, the servants of the Devil will temporarily triumph, while God’s servants and His Truth for a time will be trampled under foot by those who control the churches. This evil work, you are all well aware, is already in progress: The ministering brethren are already fighting the message instead of teaching it. The pulpits are occupied by men who Sabbath after Sabbath stage tirade after tirade against this Truth, the Truth of the Judgment for the Living.
As the gospel prophet in chapter sixty-six was also given light on this subject, we shall turn to it.
Isa. 66:15-17, 19 – “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens [in places of worship] behind one tree [following a leader] in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord…. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.”
Here it is reiterated that the slaying takes place in the church among those who are well acquainted with the things of God, so much so that those who escape are sent to declare His glory, and His fame among the Gentiles. Moreover, the very fact that the Gentiles are not slain but are to be taught of God after the slaying takes place, positively shows that the slaying takes place in the church only, and before probation closes for the Gentiles. To repeat, those who escape the slaying are sent to preach salvation to the Gentiles.
Verse 20 – “And they [the escaped ones, says the scripture] shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.”
Since the 144,000 are the first fruits, and also the servants of God, and are of both the antitypical house of Judah and of Israel, they must be the escaped and sent ones. Those whom they bring to the house of the Lord out of all nations (Rev. 7:9) must, therefore, be the second fruits. The former are the fruits from the church, and the latter the fruits from the Gentiles (See Revelation 7:2-9).
In order to hush the Truth, the ancients in their wickedness and ignorance now teach the laity that the subject of the 144,000 is a moot question rather than revealed Truth! The Devil would have it thus so that the people might fall under the slaughter weapons of the angels. What folly! And, what a hold the Devil has on the men that control the churches! Are they not deceiving the very elect, the 144,000? This is truly the time for you to “come to the help of the Lord against the mighty,” if you are to receive God’s mark of approval, and if you are to escape the slaughter weapons of the angels – if you are to be “left,” if you are to be of the remnant.
There has never been made so great an effort to awaken any people in any age, as the effort of today. Hundreds and thousands, yes, millions, of booklets have been scattered throughout the Denomination. These have been going now for over a decade. Truly it can even now be said of the church:
“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the Day of Judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment, than for thee.” Matt. 11:21-24.
The Devil today, you see, has the people deeper in the pit than he had them in the days of Christ or in the days of Luther. The Lord’s victory, though, and the victory of those who escape from the pit, shall be just that much more glorious. “And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.” Isa. 62:12.
“Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” Nah. 1:15.
The wicked in the church, you note, have finally come to their end. With which company do you stand? With those who close their eyes to this Truth? or with those who endeavor to bring It to the front? You judge your own case.
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