Build the City, Comfort Zion, Choose Jerusalem
The Only Peace of Mind
OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
I shall read from The Mount Of Blessing, page 161, beginning with the first paragraph.
M.B., pg. 161 – “The will of God is expressed in the precepts of His holy law, and the principles of this law are the principles of heaven…. But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of. In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are reechoed, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O my God; yea, Thy law is within my heart.’
“The petition, ‘Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,’ is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, that sin may be forever destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness be established. Then in earth as in heaven will be fulfilled ‘all the good pleasure of His goodness.’”
We should now pray that the law of God be written in our hearts; that we obey the law because we want to, not because we have to; that we realize that our keeping God’s commandments is for our own good. And above all, let us pray that our highest joy may be in doing His will. Thus may God’s will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
In our last Sabbath’s study we learned that the prophecy of Zechariah is applicable to two peoples at two different times: first to the Jews while they were returning from Babylon to Jerusalem, and second to those who in the time of the end are to come out of all nations. (Rev. 7:9; 18:4). We also learned that the revival and reformation which took place in Zechariah’s day, is a type of a revival and reformation that is to take place in our day, and that the people’s returning anciently from Babylon is a type of the people’s returning in the latter day Babylon (Rev. 18:4).
Let us turn to–
Zech. 1:1 – “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the Word of the Lord unto Zechariah….”
Here we are told that the prophet Zechariah was called to his prophetic office in the second year of Darius, the king. Why was he called in that particular year? – For the answer, we shall turn to Ezra. “Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” Ezra 4:24.
Obviously Zechariah was called at that particular time because the work of the temple at Jerusalem was curtailed and abandoned. The Lord, therefore, through the prophets Zechariah and Haggai sent a message of rebuke to the builders and asked them to quickly resume building.
Verses 2-6 – “The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers. Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto Me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto Me, saith the Lord. Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? But My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath He dealt with us.”
The builders were first reminded that they were in Babylon because their fathers had not obeyed the Word of the Lord that came to them through His prophets; that for their sins the temple and their kingdom were destroyed. The builders were plainly told that if their project was ever to prosper, they would have to avoid the course pursued by their fathers, and give special heed to the prophets Zechariah and Haggai. The builders promised that they would not walk in the ways of their fathers.
It was in the eighth month that Zechariah delivered to them this reformatory message. The Jews’ hearty acceptance of it prepared the way for another message and it came within the space of three months. Here it is: Verses 7, 8 – “Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the Word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.”
For the interpretation of this symbolism we shall read the prophet’s interrogation and the angel’s explanation of it in
Verses 9-11 – “Then said I, O my Lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.”
Since the horses are sent by the Lord to walk to and fro through the earth, and since they have the ability to speak, all this very obviously reveals that the horses are symbolical of the Lord’s messengers, of those whom He sends to the nations.
The red, speckled, and white – several species of horses, depict a group of servants of varied races and nationalities. The horses, therefore, cannot be taken to symbolize either the Hebrew servants of Zechariah’s day, or those of Christ’s day because the Lord’s servants in those days were all of one race – Jews, not red, speckled, and white. Having fulfilled their mission, the horses reported that they “have walked to and fro through the earth” and that in spite of it the earth is sitting still and at rest – doing nothing about it.
Since it is a known fact that in Zechariah’s day the message bearers were all Jews (a people of one race and one nation), the symbolism is positively applicable to a day in which God appoints evangelists of various races and nationalities, whom He send to and fro through the earth – to all nations.
All these positive identifications clearly point out that the horses represent the First-day Adventists who arose between the years 1833 and 1844 and who then fulfilled this symbolical prophecy by proclaiming the second advent of Christ to every Christian mission, world over, but having confused the cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:14) – the purification of the church, the work of the Judgment, harvest, by separating the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:30), the good fish from the bad (verses 47, 48), the wise virgins from the foolish (Matt. 25:1-12), the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32), the wedding garment dressed guests from those who had not the garment (Matt. 22:2-13). This Judicial work commences first among the dead (book work only, of course – Dan. 7:10), then among the living (actual bodily separation – cleansing – Ezek. 9).
As Daniel’s prophecy of chapter eight, namely the 2300 days, pointed out that the Judgment work was to commence in 1844 A.D. but as it was mistakenly understood that the world was to come to an end instead, they were greatly disappointed when the set date came and nothing happened. So it was that as the set date approached they returned from their mission fields with full confidence that they had finished their mission, – that they had “walked to and fro through the earth” – and that there was time no longer, that the world was then to end.
Concerning the scope of their work The Great Controversy, page 368, has this to say: “The writings of Miller and his associates were carried to distant lands. Wherever missionaries had penetrated in all the world, were sent the glad tidings of Christ’s speedy return. Far and wide spread the message of the everlasting gospel, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’“
Thus it was that the horses (messengers) thought their work was finished, but the angel who really knew the facts, and saw God’s people still in captivity, still away from their homeland, while the heathen were at ease, pleaded for action:
Verse 12 – “Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?”
The prophet Jeremiah’s prediction that the Jews were to spend seventy years in Babylonian captivity had ended although they were still in Babylon. But since this symbolical prophecy finds its fulfillment in our day instead of in Zechariah’s day, the angel’s plea for “mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah,” therefore, finds its direct application in this day. There is, however, this parallel: The time of the Babylonian captivity overlapped some years the time of returning to Jerusalem, in like manner John’s prediction that the church should return to the vineyard after having spent 1260 years in the wilderness (in the lands of the Gentiles) (Rev. 12:6), had ended and even overlapped since the year 1798 and there was no sign as yet for her returning. And as the Denomination was in no condition to accept additional Truth, the results are that the church is still in the wilderness concerning which Inspiration said, “If the people of God had gone to work as they should have gone to work right after the Minneapolis meeting in 1888, the world could have been warned in two years and the Lord would have come.” – General Conference Bulletin, 1892.
This message now positively declares that her wilderness sojourn is about to end and that soon will she stand on Mt. Zion with the Lamb (Rev. 14:1). From this analytical point of view is again seen that the angel’s plea for mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah is applicable directly to the people in our day, and only indirectly to the people in Zechariah’s day.
Verses 13, 14 – “And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.”
Rather than saying, “Zion…shall be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps” – Mic. 3:12, the Lord expressed His great jealousy for them, and commanded His servants to “cry yet” and say:
Verses 16, 17 – “Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.”
Since the light on these prophecies is now shining on our pathway for the first time since Zechariah wrote them, and since this message is now being broadcasted throughout Laodicea, the Truth that the Lord, at long last, has returned (visited) with mercies is very obvious.
After the disappointment in the year 1844 the messengers of Truth in Christ were told to “cry yet” (continue to preach) and say “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.”
So it was that just as soon as the set date in 1844 passed and the peoples’ hopes failed, the Lord encouraged them by giving to Sister White a vision of the ingathering of the first fruits, the 144,000, the first to get to Mount Zion and there to stand with the Lamb (Rev. 14:1), the comfort of Zion and of Jerusalem. So they started out again with a set goal to gather the 144,000 guileless servants of God, those who were to be used for the ingathering of the second fruits, the innumerable multitude out of all nations (Rev. 7:9). But as time went on rather than working with God the Denomination backslid by unbelief in the Spirit of Prophecy (Testimonies, Vol. 5, pg. 217) and thus lost sight of the Truth that was yet to be unfolded, and the which is now brought to light.
So it was that as soon as the disappointment in 1844 came, which is represented by the little book’s turning bitter after having been eaten, the angel declared: “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” Rev. 10:10, 11. The second advent movement was then reorganized and the title Seventh-day Adventists given to it. Thus the Lord charged His messengers to “cry yet,” to proclaim again, to continue preaching the additional light – the Judgment for the Dead. The cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:14), the purification of it by blotting out from the books (Dan. 7:10) the names of those who are found not eligible to come up in the first resurrection, the resurrection of the holy ones (Rev. 20:5, 6).
Here is seen that Inspiration does not at once lighten our path clear to the end, but that It does so step by step; that God’s Truth is progressive; that we can never really say we have all the Truth to carry us clear through to the Pearly Gates.
As to the means which are to make possible the return of God’s people to their own land, we shall read–
Verses 18, 19 – “Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
Anciently the kingdom of Israel occupied the northern portion of the promised land, and the kingdom of Judah occupied the southern portion of it. The former was scattered by the kings of Assyria and the latter by the king of Babylon. Those who returned to Jerusalem in the days of Zechariah were from the kingdom of Judah, the Jews, but as the kingdom of Israel was assimilated by the nations, it consequently lost its racial and national identity. The powers that scattered both Judah and Israel are, you note, symbolized by the four horns.
Verses 20, 21 – “And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”
Here the same powers which scattered Judah and Israel are again seen, not as horns, but as carpenters; not to scatter God’s people, but to build for them, and to cast out the horns (powers) of the Gentiles – those who rule the land. Plainly, then, on one hand the nations which do not rule Palestine are to arise as “horns” against those who rule it, and on the other hand they are to rise as carpenters for the people of God. Thus will “the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Lu. 21:24. So, only those who survive the Judgment for the Living, in the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17), those whose names are not blotted out from the Book (Rev. 3:5) will comprise the church, among whom are to be 144,000 sons of Jacob (Rev. 7:3-8), and when Michael stands up then those whose names are left in the Book will be delivered from the “trouble such as never was” (Daniel 12:1). They are “the remnant,” the ones who escape alive from the Judgment for the Living in the House of God. Thus the antitypical temple is to be built (Ezekiel chapters 40-43) and the cities are to be spread abroad.
Then these guileless servants of God, the first fruits, are to be sent to the nations that have not heard of God’s fame (the non-Christian), and they shall declare His glory among the Gentiles and shall bring all their brethren, the second fruits, all that are to be saved, to the house of the Lord (Isa. 66:16, 19, 20), to the purified church of God, where there shall be sin no more and no chance taking of being hit by the plagues (Rev. 18:4).
Blind to this Truth, to the Judgment for the Living, “the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” the day in which all things are to be restored, the Laodiceans are seen to be in a sad deception. Read Testimonies, Vol. 3, pg. 253 and Testimonies, Vol. 5, pg. 217. Unless they awake to their plight they will be found wanting and spued out.
The Jews became blinded because they closed their ears to the prophets and took no heed to what they said. The angel of the Laodicean church today is boastingly saying, “I have need neither of prophets nor of more Truth” – rejecting the prophecies and the messages even before they come, though he well knows that the message of the Judgment for the Dead is not the last. The Judgment for the Living is the last.
The book of Zechariah in its entirety has always been a closed book, but as its deep spiritual meaning is now unsealed and clearly brought to the attention of the church, then those who reject it and work against it are doing even worse than the Jews’ killing the prophets and the Lord.
It is now clearly seen that God’s Word lives forever. Man may slay the messengers of God, but they cannot destroy His Word. It is indeed like the mustard seed. Though It be trodden under foot so that It can no more be searched out than can a mustard seed after it is cast into the ground, yet as soon as the Scroll unrolls, It springs out anew.
When this message began to unfold, the Laodiceans tried desperately to kill it, yet it still lives on and grows the faster. They are still trying to kill it, but since they were unable to do so when it was as small and as weak as a tiny blade of a mustard seed, how can they do it now since it has grown and borne fruit?
We are therefore not to worry about a possibility of anyone’s hurting the work of God. Neither are we to worry about how we are to get to Mount Zion but are to make sure to be ready to board the chariot of God when the angels cry out, “All aboard!” Let us ever remember that those who once wrecked the ancient kingdom and cast out its people, shall now come to build it up and to cast out the horns of the Gentiles who now rule the land, so even our enemies of yesterday God puts working for us today.