The Great Paradox of the Ages
The Only Peace of Mind
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Break Up The Fallow Ground
I shall read from page 56 of “Christ’s Object Lessons”:
“Throughout the parable of the sower, Christ represents the different results of the sowing as depending upon the soil. In every case the sower and the seed are the same. Thus He teaches that if the word of God fails of accomplishing its work in our hearts and lives, the reason is to be found in ourselves. But the result is not beyond our control. True, we can not change ourselves; but the power of choice is ours, and it rests with us to determine what we will become. The wayside, the stony-ground, the thorny-ground hearers need not remain such…. The soil once overgrown by thorns can be reclaimed only by diligent labor. So the evil tendencies of the natural hear can be overcome only by earnest effort in the name and strength of Jesus. The Lord bids us by His prophet, ‘Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.’ ‘Sow to yourselves in righteousness; reap in mercy.’ This work He desires to accomplish for us, and He asks us to cooperate with Him.”
We shall now kneel and pray that we may ever be awake to the Voice of the Spirit of God; to know that although we cannot change ourselves, yet the power of choice is ours; to ever remember that God has created us free moral agents, that we ourselves are responsible for our hardness of heart; to let Him break up our fallow ground so that we may sow to ourselves righteousness; to know that through prayer and study we can keep awake our desire for spiritual things.
Zech. 6:1-8 – “And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; and in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my Lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four Spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and He said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried He upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted My Spirit in the north country.”
The paradox in this prophetic symbolism is with the fourth chariot, you see: It is hitched to two teams, the grisled and the bay, one team trying to take it in one direction (south), and the other in another direction (to and fro through the earth)! What is to become of the chariot, and which of the teams is likely to take it? That is the paradox, for they cannot both have it unless they walk together. As this is a paradoxical symbolism, it has been a mystery ever since the prophet wrote it, and as it is now disclosed for the first time, Inspiration obviously is forewarning someone of something very serious that is taking place at this particular time. What can it be?–
The prophet Zechariah was as anxious to know as we are, for he asked, “What are these, my Lord”? And to his question came the answer, “These are the four Spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of the whole earth.”
The angel’s answer is positive. The chariots, He declared, are the Spirits of the heavens, Who stand before the Lord, and Who are sent to go to and fro through the earth. Plainly, then, these four teams and chariots symbolize four messages (four Spirits) sent from God’s presence. And since all the messages from God are carried to and fro through the earth by the Ministry and the Church, the chariots and their teams, therefore, are seen to symbolize the church at work in four different periods.
The next question is, Where in the stream of time shall we look for this message-laden and trouble-burden church? in our time, in the past or what? The brass mountains give the clue, for the chariots came from between them. We should, therefore, first find out what the mountains symbolize, and where they stand in time. And as the chariots came from between the mountains, one standing to their left (in the future) and the other to their right (in the past), it is necessary to locate them first. The Biblical interpretation of a symbolical mountain is as follows: “Jerusalem shall be called a city of Truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.” Zech. 8:3. The mountains in Zechariah’s prophecy, therefore, as elsewhere in the Bible, are seen to symbolize two governments, churches, very similar in nature (both of brass) and at two different times (one to the chariot’s right and one to their left). Being of brass, a metal that has everlasting qualities, that does not deteriorate, shows that they represent something eternal. Moreover the mountains being of the same symbolical material as that which the feet of Christ (Rev. 1:15) were shown to be (brass), it locates the mountains in the Christian era.
The only such holy governments of God in the Christian era, one in the past and one in the future between which the path of the chariots lies, are the church of the Pentecost with the 120 Spirit-filled disciples, symbolized by the mountain to the chariots’ right, and the church at the second Pentecost (Joel 2:28, 29, yet future) with the 144,000 Spirit-filled disciples standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb (Rev. 14:1), symbolized by the mountain to the chariots’ left.
It is well understood that the church of today is made up of all kinds of materials, not of solid brass – not of true Christians only, but commingled with good and bad – wheat and tares. The truth is therefore obvious: There is to be another such sin-destroying and sinner-sifting Theocracy as the one in the day of Ananias and Sapphira who for sinning gave up the ghost as they fell at the apostle’s feet (Acts 5:1-11).
Plainly, the chariots symbolize the church militant at work between the two Pentecosts.
The fourth chariot being the last, it is to be found operating just before the second Pentecost.
Since the chariots are led by horses, the horses themselves must symbolize the chariot’s (church’s) leadership, and the passengers in the chariots must symbolize the laity.
The symbolism, though, is to disclose the paradoxical situation that exists with the fourth chariot, the last, and hence the Laodicean church with the Judgment message, as her name itself indicates.
The first chariot, you remember, is led by red horses; the second by black horses; the third by white; and the fourth by two kinds – grisled and bay horses. The color of each horse being a mark of species, it must be indicative of their natural and consequential circumstances. And as afore-noted, they are symbolical of the ministry in each segment of church history. The red evidently signifies martyrdom; the black signifies captivity; the white signifies freedom; grisled (an indefinite color, neither black nor white) symbolizes ministers that are neither true Christians nor true Gentiles – hypocrites. The bay, however, denote strength, as the marginal reference points out.
This symbolical prophecy is seen to corroborate history. It points out that the Christian Church at first suffered martyrdom, shown by the color, red. Then followed the Dark Ages of religion when the church was in captivity (black). Following these came the Protestant period, the period of religious freedom (white team). And at last comes the fourth chariot with its bay and grisled teams. The teams are seen to have a controversial struggle over the chariot. Grisled being an indefinite color – neither black nor white, denotes hypocrisy, the kind of which is heretofore unknown, whereas the color, bay, denotes spiritual strength (margin) the kind heretofore unknown.
Since the Church originated in Asia, Jerusalem in particular, the first chariot is seen to have remained there, for it went nowhere. The “north country,” geographically north of Palestine is where the other chariots went; that is, the countries which the Christian nations are now inhabiting. The fourth chariot, though, is supposed to go to and fro through the earth – to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people. But contrary to this, the grisled horses “go forth toward the south country” which, figuratively speaking, would be spiritual Egypt – worldliness.
God’s Spirit having been silenced in the north country, must denote that the messages of God in the north country were generally rejected, especially the one of the forth chariot, which caused the Spirit of Truth to turn away and to bring Truth no more through them – to be silent there – and that, therefore, there is not to be expected any Truth through them.
The double team of horses, and their two kinds of colors, pulling in two different directions are immediately seen to symbolize a double set of church leaders (the Seventh-day Adventist leaders and the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist leaders) unlike in character and aim. Symbolically speaking, the grisled horses, those that appeared first on the prophetic scene, are leading the chariot into Egypt – the worldliness from which they ought to come out rather than go back into. The bay horses, though, are endeavoring to pull away from it and go to and fro through the earth as commanded – to finish the gospel work in accordance with God’s plan. But this cannot take place so long as both teams are hitched to the chariot, for the chariot cannot possibly move in either direction while one team pulls in one direction and the other in another direction.
The immediate necessity, therefore, is to unhitch (discharge) the one, so that the other can be free to go to and fro through the earth as soon as they are told to “Go.” When this happens the paradox will be a paradox no longer.
What put two different kinds of leaders working at cross purposes? – I shall let the Spirit of Prophecy give the answer. Here follows the description of one set of church leaders:
“…Those who have rendered supreme homage to ‘science falsely so-called,’ will not be the leaders then. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent, will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock…” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pg. 80.
Obviously, these self-important leaders, who love to slumber in a lukewarm country, are represented by the grisled horses.
We shall now read of the leaders whom the bay horses depict, the ones that come on the scene last:
“…The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But, it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the daytime we look toward heaven, but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine lustre.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pp. 80-81.
This is exactly what is happening right now: Those who are rejecting the message that is announcing the Judgment for the Living; those who “did not keep pace with the light,” and are satisfied to stay in antitypical Egypt; the Seventh-day Adventists’ ministry are to be discharged (unhitched); and the “hidden” ones, those represented by the bay horses, the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists’ ministry, are coming to the front. They are now being “disclosed to view,” and are getting ready to take the chariot! Then as soon as they are told to “Go,” they will unhesitatingly and speedily move on “to and fro through the earth” with the message of the hour, the Judgment for the Living.
Now let the founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination concretely explain what and where the south country is:
“I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people…. The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader, and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from his world and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pg. 217. (Underscored words ours.)
What will unhitch the grisled horses from the chariot? – Isaiah the prophet has the answer:
Isa. 66:16, 19, 20 – “For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many…. 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. And they 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.”
Here is projected a slaughter, taking place among those who have been instructed to abstain from unclean meats, but among whom many are violating God’s command. The disobedient, those whose bellies are their gods, including those who sanctify and purify themselves, (the self-righteous) in the gardens behind one tree (behind their Truth-hating minister, verse 17, margin), are by the Lord Himself removed from among His Truth-seeking ones.
After the transgressors are thus removed, then those who are left, the “remnant,” the escaped ones, become the servants of God and are sent to all the nations, especially to those who have not as yet heard either of God’s fame or the good news of His Kingdom. These escaped ones are to bring to the house of the Lord all their brethren, all that will be converted to Christ – “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” They shall stand “before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” Rev. 7:9.
Thus will the Gospel be finished by those who escape from the Lord’s slaying (Isa. 66:15,16) and God’s people be quickly gathered from the four corners of the earth, happily brought as an offering to the house of the Lord (verses 19, 20).
Now is everyone’s chance to decide to be either on the one side or on the other, either to reform and be led by the faithful bay horses, or to cling to the self-important grisled horses and stay by them in the south country, there to perish. Here is indeed a momentous decision to be made by every member of the Denomination. It calls for action that will decide the future destiny of the laity as well as of the ministry.
Now is your opportunity to act, and it is my wish and prayer that you, and every member of the Denomination, chooses to be on the side which this unveiled paradox of the ages plainly and definitely instructs you to be on. Do not let the grisled horses deceive you any longer. Meet their fair speeches with “Thus saith the Lord.” You take them to task on this strictly Biblical Truth.