(Waco TX) Do You Know?
Published July-December 1941
Vol. 7 Symbolic Code No. 7 - 12 (Texas--1941)
Vol. 7 No. 7 - 12
July - December, 1941
MT. CARMEL CENTER
Lake Waco Texas
Lightening The Earth
DO YOU KNOW?
Dear brethren in Laodicea, do you know that prophecy positively declares that the people of God in the Laodicean church are in a critically dangerous condition and know it not? Well, brethren, whether or not you realize it, whether or not you believe it, that precisely is the case. And if you hope to enter into eternal life, you must believe it, and that without delay. Whatever else you may believe or disbelieve, this one thing you must, "for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct."--Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 253.
And remember that above all people, the Laodiceans should not only be the last but the least inclined to criticize, for they themselves, says the True Witness, are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked," without so much as suspecting it, but are indeed even imagining that they are "rich, and increased with goods, and" in "need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17). How, then, can they be in a position truly to know anything about others!
Think, brethren, and rouse to life! This cannot possibly be the voice of an enemy.
And remember that the Lord "surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits,--because it is truth."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 106.
"No matter by whom light is sent, we should open our hearts to receive it with the meekness of Christ....We should all know what is being taught among us; for if it is truth, we need it."--Gospel Workers, p. 301.
"But beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men, and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men, and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them."--Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 106, 107.
"He will use men for the accomplishment of His purpose whom some of the brethren would reject as unfit to engage in the work."--Review and Herald, Feb. 9, 1895.
Now, in the light of the foregoing statements, will you not, Brother, Sister, take time carefully and prayerfully to ascertain whether or not God is leading in this reformatory work? He has promised to all who will do this, that He will not leave them in darkness but will guide them into all Truth! So will you not take Him at His Word, and try Him?
We plead with you to, for already "the agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world," says Inspiration, "and the final movements will be rapid ones....The time is coming when in their fraud and insolence men will reach a point that the Lord will not permit them to pass, and they will learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of Jehovah....Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis....Soon everything that can be shaken will be shaken, that those things that can not be shaken may remain....
"It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended. They will walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth."--Testimonies, Vol. 9, pp. 11, 13, 15, 16.
In view of these solemn realities even now looming before our eyes, no longer, Brother, Sister, hide yourself in the darkness. Stand in the light, lest you stumble and fall and not be found. Come, take time, and--LET US REASON TOGETHER.
The Laodicean church, the last of the seven churches (Rev. 2, 3), being figurative of the Christian church in her last period, our time, the message on record to her is therefore the last message to the church. So, plainly, if there is any Bible subject essential for the church to study, the message to the Laodiceans certainly is.
Although satisfied with their attainments, the Laodiceans who believe and take God at His Word will not question Him concerning their condition but will, whether they see it or not, acknowledge that they are in a "sad deception..... wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Rev. 3:17. Having honestly made this acknowledgment, they will, in consequent obedience to the True Witness's counsel to buy of Him eyesalve which He alone can supply, be enabled to anoint their eyes with it.
Those, though, who recline in the false security of self-complacence, will pay no attention to the warning counsel, and will as a result lose everything--be spued out (verse 16)! Yet how few does this dread threat alarm! How few does it impel to find out where the trouble lies and how they stand! How few, indeed, does it even trouble! And O how few incline to inquire into it for fear that it may rebuke their evil course and deprive them of some sinful pleasure which they dearly cherish! Surprisingly, yet all too truly, hundreds!
Then, too, there being instilled in them a great fear of false prophets, and not at all awakened in them the expectation of true ones (although there can be no false where there are no true), they are now therefore almost beyond reach.
Behind their careless attitude is seen the truth that "the pains of duty and the pleasures of sin are the cords with which Satan binds men in his snares" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 53), while behind the deeply instilled fear of false prophets, is seen the false watchman's carefulness to keep them from coming in contact with the messengers whom God has sent to them.
This friendly visitor is endeavoring, therefore, to awaken an interest in you, dear Laodicean, to go to the bottom of the matter, to make sure of your salvation. So will you not be courteous enough to sit down with it in humble, impartial, prayerful study which must repay you many, many, times more than what you put into it?
"As many as I love," says the Lord, "I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Rev. 3:19-22.
There is a divine law that converts every honest effort into joy, a personal experience with God, and eternal life. So awake, my friend, and take note, not of what you think you are or will be, but of what the Lord says you are and must be. Begin your investigation with the ensuing--SEVEN QUESTIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION.
1. Who is Laodicea?
2. Whom does the angel represent?
3. What is meant by being wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked?
4. What is it to be "lukewarm"?
5. Why does God prefer one either cold or hot rather than lukewarm?
6. What is the eyesalve
7. Should Laodicea fail to repent, how would her shame be uncovered?--IN NEED OF NOTHING?
The right answers to these seven important questions to every truth-seeking Christian today will, if understood and heeded, rescue each from the shameful and dangerous Laodicean condition, and safeguard his salvation. This it will do ever so soon as he takes to heart--THE FACTS ON THESE SEVEN QUESTIONS.
The Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, describes the condition of each of the seven churches, the last of which is the Laodicean. These churches, admittedly, portray the Christian church in seven different periods; the seventh, Laodicea, depicting her in the period just before the "harvest," the last in which the "wheat and tares" are commingled, and the one in which she is to experience the separation of the bad from among the good (Matt. 13:30, 47 through 49).
Since in her every section, the church must be true to her name (it alone being her identification), we shall therefore consider--THE NAME, LAODICEA.
Being compounded of the Greek words "lao" and "deci," the one meaning "people," also "speak," the other meaning "judgment," the two together meaning people proclaiming judgment, the name Laodicea, therefore, identifies a church proclaiming the judgment hour (Dan. 7:9, 10; Rev. 14:6, 7).
As the S.D.A. church is the only one to proclaim judgment, and as each of the seven messages is addressed to the angel of the respective churches, the message to Laodicea is accordingly--ADDRESSED TO THE S.D.A. ANGEL.
In The Revelation, chapter 1, the churches are symbolized by seven candlesticks, and the angels of the churches, by the seven stars (Rev. 1:20).
Being the attendants of the candlesticks (churches), the angels are thus seen to be the ministry, whose responsibility is to have the lamps trimmed, filled with oil, and burning brightly, so that the church may give light to all about her.
Hence as the Laodicean angel, him to whom the condemnatory message is sent, is symbolical of the ministry in Laodicea, he should consequently be the more anxious to discover where the trouble lies, for he is, says the Lord,--WRETCHED, MISERABLE, POOR, BLIND, AND NAKED.
With a ministry wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, what church (candlestick) could possibly stay lighted? And with her light thus gone out or but flickering dimly, how could she lighten the world as God has set her to do? Through the eyes of the True Witness, therefore, the tragedy of Laodicea is starkly seen--"sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people" (Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 337), while a sin-benighted world plunges on hell-bent in its darkness! O what a piteous plight! And yet it is so utterly overlooked!
With both ministry and laity in such a pitiful state of darkness, it is clear to be seen that though the Laodicean church is the last in the order of the seven, God cannot lighten the world and prepare His people for the Kingdom with her when she is in darkness and unprepared herself. Hence the necessity of a new order, a new ministry, as predicted in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80, and in Zephaniah 3:11, 12.
Then it will come to pass that "only those who have withstood and overcome temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming this message when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry."--Review and Herald, Nov. 19, 1908.
In the light of these facts, the prophetic message to the angel of the Laodiceans must obviously be brought and proclaimed by someone other than the angel himself. But this, of course, is the very thing that neither the ministry nor the laity expect or wish to happen. For the sake of the faithful, nevertheless, it is happening.
So since God's Word says that the ministry of the Laodicean church is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, and that neither they nor the laity are aware of the fact, it lends heavy underscoring to the statements: "Sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people!" (Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 337); and "the message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception."--Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 253.
Although they are in this horrible predicament, one which should make them tremble and fear, and give anything to get out of, yet they continue--LUKEWARM--NEITHER COLD NOR HOT.
Deceived and about to lose their lives, though as ignorant of their peril as a mouse before the trap snaps shut, they are satisfied (lukewarm) in the devil's trap, as they make toward its delectable bait--a false hope of enjoying the feast in Paradise!
When one finds himself in a climate which is neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, a temperature desired and sought by all, there he basks as a pauper become a prince! So it is with the Laodiceans, as represented in prophecy, though their supposed palace is nothing but a death trap!
To rescue one from such a "terrible deception" is a task which calls for the utmost wisdom not only because the victim is blindly inured to the perilous condition he is in, while his rescuers are endeavoring to save him from perishing, but also because he considers them as his enemies, false prophets, instead of as his friends and deliverers, messengers from God!
From the life line, the saving message, which they pleadingly hold forth to him, he recoils. And consequently by his attitude against them, he shouts: Away, away, I am rich and increased with goods: I have need of nothing; I have all the truth. "I am satisfied with my position. I have set my stakes, and I will not be moved away from my position, whatever may come."--Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 65.
In protesting that they are not wretched (not unhappy), not miserable (not troubled), not poor (not in need of truth), not blind (not benighted or illiterate), not naked (not without the righteousness of Christ), the Laodiceans are contradicting the True Witness, rejecting His counsel, and discrediting His remedy--THE EYESALVE.
As only the "salve" (truth) will heal them from their deadly Laodicean malady, hence if they fail to avail themselves of the cure (to search for truth as for hidden treasure) and to apply it (to repent), they will be spued out. O, Brother, Sister, will you not call for the "salve"? or will you continue in your wretchedness, miserableness, poverty, blindness, and nakedness, and thus compel Him to spue you out and to--UNCOVER YOUR SHAME?
So far, my brethren, that your shame might not appear, God has not exposed the sins which you have cherished and kept under cover. No longer, though, will He bear with you. So for your soul's sake, cease adding sin to sin; repent, and return to the Lord; argue no longer that you have all the Truth, but come have a good feast of It. God will just as gladly accept you and make a feast for you as did the father of the prodigal accept his son and make a feast for him.
Be not like the Jew. But open your heart; cast out its pride, its prejudice, and its self-conceit; let them not deprive you of eternal life at such a late hour as this. If you repeat the mistake of the Jews, your shame and your loss will be much greater than theirs--as much greater as are your light and your opportunities and privileges. Yea, beyond comparison!
So will you not, then, we plead with you, end your long Laodicean sickness and poverty, and no longer imagine that you are--RICH, INCREASED WITH GOODS.
Never do you even so much as intimate that you have all the buildings, all the institutions, all the money, all the workers, all the converts you need! Your only boast is of having no need of truth! This attitude, therefore, God says, is the way in which you are saying, "I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." It is the source of your trouble, and the thing which the Lord expects you to confess and to repent of.
The angel's (the ministry's) false claim of being rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing, does not make him a liar, but rather shows him to be a victim of ignorance and delusion. But his thinking that he has and knows all the truth, makes his condition even more perilous than a liar's, for a liar knows that he is lying. O awake, Brother, Sister, awake! awake!--DO AS DID NATHANIEL.
Come and see!--See what? Others also as yourself, rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing? with the excuse that the need to take care of the material things of life (Luke 14:15-19) forbids their accepting the invitation?
Indeed not!--See the Laodiceans from the streets and lanes--"the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind" (Luke 14:21), gladly availing themselves of the remedy!
But, alas, not all who come, remain, for "when any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side." And others, "when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word," are offended. These are they "that received the seed into stony places." "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty." Matt. 13:19 through 23.
Though the "bad" along with the "good" are still coming (for we are yet in the period in which the wheat and the tares are commingled, the good and the bad fish are together in the net), you need not be of the tares or of the "bad fish." Be of the wheat, do as the "good": lay aside your own thoughts and ways, then take the Lord's, for He says: "...My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isa. 55:8, 9.
And finally, never be like a Pharisee who can see the mote in his brother's eye, but cannot see the beam in his own (Matt. 7:3). For after all, "Who art thou?" asks the Lord. Art thou thyself not a Laodicean? How "judgest" thou "another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." Rom. 14:4.
Never mind the other fellow, my lukewarm brethren: you have barely enough time to look after yourself. And moreover, do not measure the truth with the rod of man, but with the rod of God: "Hear ye the rod, and [Him] Who hath appointed it" (Mic. 6:9) urges the Lord.
Will you not take His counsel? If you will, then without further delay, send your name and address for Present Truth literature--the feast which, though worth everything, will cost you nothing. And besides being the only cure for your blindness, it will thrill and satisfy your hungry soul with something truely rich and extraordinary!
Then all of us together "shall have spiritual eyesight to discern the inner courts of the celestial temple. We shall catch the themes of song and thanksgiving of the heavenly choir round about the throne. When Zion shall arise and shine, her light will be most penetrating, and precious songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard in the assemblies of the saints....As we apply the golden eye-salve, we shall see the glories beyond. Faith will cut through the heavy shadow of Satan, and we shall see our Advocate offering up the incense of His own merits in our behalf. When we see this as it is, as the Lord desires us to see it, we shall be filled with a sense of the immensity and di-versity of the love of God."--Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 368. And then we shall no longer ask--WHOSE ADVICE IS TO BE FOLLOWED?
Now we want you to know that we truly appreciate your concern for our spiritual welfare, as expressed in many of your criticisms, and we assure you that we fully realize that, be we wrong, your advice is surely as valuable to us as, be we right, our advice is to you. So we are confident that you will be agreed with us that we must settle the question,--WHO IS WHO?
To begin our investigation, it is, necessary, in fairness to both sides, to take into account the experiential knowledge of each.
In view of our long experience with the Third Angel's Message in both its first part and its present addition (Early Writings, p. 277), as brought in The Shepherd's Rod, and yours in the first part only, we are constrained to believe that the possibility of your being wrongly led by the angel of the Laodiceans, is greater than the possibility of our being wrongly led by the Rod.
Were you in a position, such as we are in, to be fully informed in both messages,--in the one of 1844 and in the one of today,--then the possibility of your being right and of our being wrong, as against the possibility of your being wrong and of our being right, would be about equally balanced. Inasmuch, though, as you are conversant with the former only, it is more probable that our position carries a greater percentage of possibility of being correct than does yours.
Moreover, whether the Rod is right or wrong, "the angel of the church of the Laodiceans" is, as the Lord Himself has made acutely clear, in a "sad....fearful," and "terrible" deception" (Testimonies, Vol. 3, pp. 253, 254, 260), and about to be spued out.
In view, therefore, of the consequent greater responsibility resting upon us, we could not be less interested in you than you are in us. And you could not afford to be less mindful of our advice to you than we could of yours to us.
And finally, believing that you are as honest as we are, we are confident that you will candidly consider the following paragraphs.
Our being, as you know, unswerving adherents of the Bible and of Sister White's writings, full-fledged S.D.A.'s, we are sure that both the Bible and Sister White's writings support the Rod one hundred per cent. All three, therefore, we see in perfect harmony with one another, with the Rod giving "power and force" to the message as given since 1844. (See Early Writings, p. 277.)
In view of our sustaining this solid conviction, you can readily understand that your rejecting the Rod on the ground of its being out of harmony with Sister White's writings, is not at all to us the actuality it seems to you.
Then, too, having every reason to believe that our minds are fully rational, we accordingly have every reason to believe that we are no less able than others intelligently to study both the Bible and Sister White's writings. So let us, as Christians who really want to know the truth, together begin--EXAMINING BOTH YOUR POSITION AND OURS.
To begin with, is it not correct that the Christian's text-book is the Bible? If your answer to this fundamental question is in the affirmative, then it compels us to study Sister White's writings in the light of the Bible, not the Bible in the light of her writings. This, in fact, she herself plainly says:
"Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony [not by hers], these will detect the deceiver in his disguise....Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible, and the Bible only?"--The Great Controversy, p. 625.
Clearly, therefore, her work must never be interpreted in such a way as to contradict the Bible, but always to clear it. If you undeviatingly follow this absolute rule of interpretation, you can never possibly have any trouble with the Rod or with any message the Lord may ever send.
Your interpretations of many of Sister White's writings, most notably, perhaps, those concerning the Kingdom, being manifestly contradictory to the prophecies of the Bible, cause the one who accepts her writings, to doubt the Bible, and the one who holds to the Bible, to be set against her writings, thus bringing in dispute and schism among the brethren. Such interpretations, one-sided and division-making, are therefore grievously unfair not only to the Bible and to Sister White's writings but also to yourself, and consequently to the cause of Truth.
So you will, we trust, see that while you are intentionally endeavoring only to prove the Rod wrong, you are unwittingly endeavoring in reality to prove Sister White at odds with the Bible--a work which is scattering from Christ rather than gathering to Him.
As both your and our doctrinal positions must be in perfect harmony with the Bible, we are therefore asking you to harmonize your position on the Kingdom with Daniel 2:44; Jeremiah 51:20; Hosea 3:4, 5; Isaiah 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-6; Isaiah 11:12-16; Jeremiah 30:18, 21; 31:2-13; 32:37; Ezekiel 37:15-28.
We hold it to be a simple, self-evident truth that as the stone (Dan. 2:34) is symbolical of the Kingdom, and that as it smites the toes of the image, it necessarily must be set up before it smites them, just as Daniel said: "In the days of these kings [toe-kings: the kings of today] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom." "In the days of these kings," cannot mean after their days. And unless the Kingdom is set up (brought into being), it cannot smite the nations.
If, moreover, Judah and Israel (both kingdoms) are not gathered together into one kingdom, as the prophecies say they will be (Ezek. 37:15 through 28), then
how can they be His "battle-ax" (Jer. 51:20)? And how can the prophecies be fulfilled?
It is equally as self-evident that the "many days" (Hos. 3:4, 5) are the long years from the time the kingdom went down until it is set up again. Wherefore the word "return" cannot mean anything other than that those dispersed "many days" are to go back to the land whence they were taken captive.
This, furthermore, is the only position, consistent with all relevant Bible doctrines, that gives assurance of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 2 and that of Micah 4.
Again: from Isaiah 11 we see that the Lord is to 'set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people" (verse 11), and that when He does so, He will prepare a way for them "like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt."Verse 16.
And Jeremiah testifies that the Lord "will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap...and their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them." Jer. 30:18, 21.
To Ezekiel, moreover, "thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land." Ezek. 37:21.
The Bible is either right or wrong. If you believe it is right, take It to heart, and take your stand upon It, at least upon such open passages as the ones herein quoted, scriptures which need no interpretation.
And certain it is that no one will succeed in excusing himself in trying to side-step them, so plain and positive as they are. Neither will he succeed in excusing himself in trying to get away from God's judgments, by endeavoring on the one hand to dodge through what he thinks to be loopholes in the Rod, and by endeavoring on the other hand to set up in Sister White's writings stones to take cover behind.
Such vain attempts will leave him today no more excusable (in fact, less so) than the efforts of the Jews yesterday left them in their attempt to discover loopholes in Christ's work by the use of Moses' writings.
If one's excuse be that the Rod's teachings are not sanctioned by Sister White's writings, no more will he be excused for rejecting its voice on such grounds than are the Jews for fighting and rejecting the New Testament Scriptures on the grounds that they are not found in the writings of the prophets.
If you are really a sincere and faithful believer in both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, you will obey this counsel: "If a message comes that you do not understand, take pains that you may hear the reasons the messenger may give."--Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 65.
Your integrity in renouncing the sealing message, on the ground that it contradicts Sister White's writings, will be tested by your response to her urging you to reason with the messenger rather than to reason with his enemies.
What to some of you seems to set the Rod squarely in contradiction to Sister White's writings, is not half so plausible as is that which to all appearances sets the Lord's statement in Matthew 10:23 solidly in contradiction to His promises. "Ye shall not," says the Scripture, "have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." But the apostles did go preaching the gospel not only to the cities of Israel but also to "every creature which is under heaven" (Col. 1:23), and as yet the Son of man is not "come," though 1900 years have passed since that time. Christ must have spoken the truth, but it is not understood, just as many points in connection with Present Truth are not understood, and hence in most cases are misconstrued.
When Moses wrote the first part of the Bible, he was not given the privilege to write the whole truth which God intended to reveal to His people. Later in the Old Testament period came Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, et al. Then in the New Testament period came John the Baptist, Christ, the apostles, the reformers, Miller, and Sister White, each one in turn teaching truths which could not, however, be maintained by Moses' writings. This is the divine rule of unfolding truth. And only to one's own loss will he refuse to acknowledge that it is operative the same today as ever, even though the message today is derived entirely from the inspired writers before it.
Though there is much more to be said on these matters, suffice these lines for the present, for unless for your life's sake you respond to them, more would be only a weariness to you and a loss of time to us.
Our sincere prayer and earnest hope, therefore, is that the valuable and irrevocable time expended in this effort of good will and deep concern for your souls, will be the means of bringing you to rejoice in the glorious hope which the Rod sets before you. May your heart yet be responsive to the "Lord's voice" which still "crieth unto the city,...hear ye the rod, and Who hath appointed it." Mic. 6:9.
If you wish to comply with this injunction, and with one in Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 65, to take pains to hear the reason for things, and thus to ask questions, whether on the Bible or on Sister White's writings, you may write us, and we shall gladly do our honest best to clear whatever is involved.
And now as it is clearly seen that the Laodiceans are in dire need of truth, let us go on from knowledge to knowledge by studying--A STEPHEN-SERMON TO THE CHURCH TODAY.
"Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, and said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee." Acts 7:2, 3. "So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him" (Gen. 12:4), and went at His lead into Canaan, wherein he dwelt though the Lord "gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet He promised that He would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child." Acts 7:5.
Then in time, the Lord purposed to lead Jacob and his household out of the land of Canaan, down into Egypt. Knowing, though, that the sons of Jacob would not go as did Abraham, by His simply telling them to, He therefore in His providence put into the heart of Jacob a greater love for Joseph than for his other children. This begot in them envy and jealousy, which in turn begot hatred and greed, manifesting itself in their cruel treatment and sale of Joseph, which resulted in his being carried away a slave into Egypt.
Recognizing Providence in the whole matter, Joseph said unto his brothers as he "made himself known" unto them: "Be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life...and...to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." Gen. 45:1, 5, 7.
Thus the Lord providentially exalted Joseph to share the throne of Egypt in order to predispose Pharaoh to grant Israel permission to enter into the land.
Next, to draw them there, He brought thereabouts the seven years of plenty, followed by the seven years of famine. Whereupon He sent word to Jacob that Joseph was yet alive. At the joyous news, there sprang up in the father an irresistible desire to see his son. This and the life-taking hunger upon Joseph's brethren, compelled them to remove into Pharaoh's land of plenty, where they lived like kings.
Not purposing, however, to leave them there forever, the Lord did not let their living continue as pleasant as at the first, lest they refuse to take heed to Moses when he should come with the word that the time had arrived for them to go back home. But He brought about another saving providence, this time permitting unbearable hardship to befall them, so that when called, they would respond gladly. So slaves they had to become; and still worse, they had to be bereaved of their male children, then mercilessly driven with cruel lashes upon their backs, to produce ever more bricks.
Thus the power of the Spirit combined with the horrible suffering from their hard Egyptian servitude, was an over-powering force compelling them to forsake the heathen land and to return to their own.
Then, on their way back they met with another Providence--their long wilderness sojourn, forty years in all--which God permitted for the express purpose of separating from them the unbelieving, unfaithful multitude who accompanied the movement out of Egypt. These destroyed after the nation was freed from slavery, the survivors miraculously crossed the Jordan (Josh. 3:14 thgrough 17), just as they had forty years before crossed the Red Sea (Ex. 14:19 through 31). Their removing from their midst the one sinner, Achan (Josh. 7:25), who then sprang up among them, they entered into the promised land and became the most glorious kingdom in their day (I Kings 10). Slaves become kings--what a miracle indeed!
Naturally one would think that a people whom God had so miraculously freed from slavery, and of whom He had subsequently just as miraculously made a kingdom, would never fall now that they were strong. But losing sight of their Strength, they again fell away into captivity! In weakness as slaves to Pharaoh, God had brought them to strength over their Egyptian masters; now in their strength as masters, themselves, over the nations about them, He brought them down to servitude to those over whom they had formerly held sway!
Twice a miracle, here is proof positive that the Lord built them up, and also tore them down (2 Chron. 36:13 through 23), "that they," says the Lord, might "know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else." Isa. 45:6.
In the course of time, with the fulfillment of the seventy years of which Jeremiah prophesied (Jer. 29:10), God once more brought Israel into their own land. But as the years wore on, replacing the old generations with new ones, Israel again lost sight of their Strength, this time so completely that when the long-looked for Messiah finally came, they rejected and crucified and spat on Him!
In divine retribution, God turned away His face in anger, and delivered them into the hand of the oppressor, who destroyed their temple and their city, drove them from their own land, and left them forsaken, an outcast race without God, without coin, without country, a people execrated by all nations from that day till this!
Not all, however, were thus cast away. A multitude of them had their eyes opened to the fact that their great men were falsely accusing the Lord, misapplying the prophecies concerning Him, and deceiving the people. Through those who remained faithful, He preserved the seed of Israel. Accepting Christ and becoming Christians, these faithful sons of Jacob had their name changed from Jews to Christians, as was foreshadowed in God's changing their father's name from Jacob to Israel, and their grandfather's, from Abram to Abraham.
Starting out with 120 Spirit-filled disciples, this Jewish-Christian church converted 3,000 souls on the day of Pentecost by the preaching of one simple, Spirit-indited sermon, and then "added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:47.
This great ingathering of souls so angered Satan that he avengingly "persecuted the woman [the Jewish-Christian church] which brought forth the man child" (Rev. 12:13), so as to prevent her from making converts, and to prevent those whom she succeeded in making, from fellowshiping with her.
(The bed rock facts that the woman's child, Christ, Who was "caught up unto God" (verse 5), was born to the Jewish church, and that the Christian church emerged from the Jewish, solidly establish the woman as a figure of the faithful servants of God in both the Old and the New Testament churches.)
As a result of persecuting the woman, Satan was, ironically, only helping rather than hindering the divine purpose. Indeed, the church's field (Matt. 13:38) grew only pure "wheat," the "net" (verse 47) caught only good "fish," because against such a persecution, only the faithful dared take their stand for Truth and to become members of the hated sect. So, seeing the results of his oppression, he quickly changed his tactics.
"By the edicts of toleration," says Gibbon, "he [Constantine] removed the temporal disadvantages which had hitherto retarded the progress of Christianity; and its active and numerous ministers received a free permission, a liberal encouragement, to recommend the salutary truths of revelation by every argument which could affect the reason or piety of mankind. The exact balance of the two religions [Christian and Pagan] continued but a moment.... The cities which signalized a forward zeal by the voluntary destruction of their temples [the Pagan's], were distinguished by municipal privileges, and rewarded with popular donatives....The salvation of the common people was purchased at an easy rate, if it be true that, in one year, twelve thousand men were baptized at Rome, besides a proportionable number of women and children, and that a white garment, with twenty pieces of gold, had been promised by the emperor to every convert." This was "a law of Constantine, which gave freedom to all the slaves who should embrace Christianity." Gibbon's Rome, Vol. 2, pp. 273, 274 (Milman Edition).
Just as soon as Satan caused his agents to cease oppressing the Christians, and to start fellowshipping with them, he beguiled them into thinking him their friend. Thus being eased of his persecution, they spiritually fell asleep; and while they slept, he sowed the tares.
Yea, he made a complete turn-about and even compelled the heathen to join the church, thereby casting out of his "mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood." Rev. 12:15. From persecuting those who would unite with the church, he turned to persecuting those who would not, so that she might be flooded with unconverted heathen and there-by "carried away of the flood." Rev. 12:15.
In the days of the reformers, in order to keep the multitude in darkness he put his clamps on them, then opened wide his extinguisher against the burning light, and when it failed him, he set "sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people.' Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 337.
This highly successful course he has unremittingly pursued ever since, until as a result the church today is almost choked with tares. It is, as it were, infiltrated with a fifth-column.
"That night I dreamed," says the servant of the Lord in a remarkable view of this very condition. "that I was in Battle Creek looking out from the side glass at the door, and saw a company marching up to the house, two and two. They looked stern and determined. I knew them well, and turned to open the parlor door to receive them, but thought I would look again. The scene was changed. The company now presented the appearance of a Catholic procession. One bore in his hand a cross, another a reed. And as they approached, the one carrying a reed made a circle around the house, saying three times, 'This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order.' Terror seized me, and I ran through the house, out of the north door, and found myself in the midst of a company, some of whom I knew, but I dared not speak a word to them for fear of being betrayed. I tried to seek a retired spot where I might weep and pray without meeting eager, inquisitive eyes wherever I turned. I repeated frequently, 'If I could only understand this! If they will tell me what I have said, or what I have done!'
"I wept and prayed much as I saw our goods confiscated. I tried to read sympathy or pity for me in the looks of those around me, and marked the countenances of several whom I thought would speak to me and comfort me if they did not fear that they would be observed by others. I made one attempt to escape from the crowd, but seeing that I was watched, I concealed my intentions. I commenced weeping aloud, and saying, 'If they would only tell me what I have done, or what I have said!' My husband, who was sleeping in a bed in the same room, heard me weeping aloud, and awoke me. My pillow was wet with tears, and a sad depression of spirits was upon me."--Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 578.
The promise, however, is that the flood of tares will remain therein only until the harvest, the natural time for their separation--the end of the world.
So long as Satan can successfully carry on this subversive work of flooding the church, he will never move a finger to persecute any for joining her, lest thereby he thwart his own evil design to honeycomb her ranks with his agents--the flood, the tares. To insure the success of this insidious work, he casts out those who dare live a consistent Christian life there among the tares, while he is going about with his extinguisher turned on, trying, to put out every life-spark of light.
Finally, though, as prophecy discloses, the tables are turned, and the long controversy ends by the Lord's casting out and destroying (Rev. 12:16) Satan's agents, the "flood" (the tares, the bad fish), and then lighting the earth with the glory of His angel (Rev. 18:1)!
Here we see that the coming work of making rid of the flood, thereby freeing the church from the unconverted, is the work of "the harvest" in "the end of the world." Matt. 13:39. Next we must ascertain whether the "end of the world" brings the millennial age of peace or the great time of trouble such as never was. To determine this, we must consult subsequent events.
Since it is after the earth swallows the flood, that the dragon is to be wroth with the woman and to go "to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:16, 17), there is no escaping the conclusion that the harvest, in taking away Satan's flood, his multiplied tares, does not bring the millennium of peace. Indeed not, but rather it brings his wrath--the time of trouble such as never was: the time in which God's people in Babylon are called to "come out of her" and into His purified church--the Kingdom.
The harvest, therefore, is a short period of time just before, rather than the moment at, the appearing of Christ in the clouds. It is the very last days of probation for earth's kingdoms,--the days and work which bring the end of the world.
The fact that there is a remnant (that which is left) of the seed of the woman, shows that her seed is divided into two parts, and that consequently the symbolism represents three groups of people: (1) the woman; (2) the first part of her seed--those who in this instance are not the remnant; (3) the second part of her seed--those who are the remnant.
In the light of this symbolical representation, the woman, herself, is seen to symbolize the mother-part of the church--God's appointed and Spirit-filled ministers who bring in the born-again (John 3:3) converts. The first part of her seed must, accordingly, be the first fruits, the 144,000, who, separated from the sinners that were among them, are taken to Mount Sion, there to stand with the Lamb (Rev. 14:1). Hence, "the remnant of her seed" are in this instance those who are yet in the world when Babylon rides the beast (Rev. 17). Thus they are the second and last fruits which are to be taken to the purified church, the kingdom, where there is neither sin nor fear of the plagues falling (Rev. 18:4).
And now, since in her progression of time, the woman represents each successive ministry, therefore at the time that the dragon is wroth with her, she necessarily must represent the last ordained ministry, the 144,000, those who bring all their brethren from all nations to God's "holy mountain Jerusalem." Isa. 66:20.
With this light shining on the subject, the truth is clearly seen that after the earth swallows the flood, after the angels separate the wicked ("the tares," the "bad"--"fish") from the righteous (the "wheat," the "good"--"fish") in the church, and take the righteous to Mount Sion ("the barn," "the vessels"--Matt. 13:30, 48), the dragon will then be angry with the woman (the servants of God), and as a result will war against the remnant (the second fruits, those who are then to be called out of Babylon--Rev. 18:4).
"In the last days," says Micah in his forecast of the time in which the first fruits stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion, and in which the second fruits leave Babylon to go to Mount Zion, "it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
"And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
"And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it." Mic. 4:1 through 4.
The kingdom-church conclusively, therefore, must be "set up" before the Devil turns upon the remnant, those who are left behind and who are then being gathered, and against whom he comes to war because they refuse to worship him in the person of the beast and his image (Rev. 13:15).
In this cumulative light, one sees never so clearly that though the Lord is to allow persecution to come anew upon His people in Babylon, He will do so only to serve His Own end to cause them to get out of her dominion (as He caused His ancient people to get out of Egypt), and to go into the kingdom-church--the only place on earth where there shall be no sin and upon which the plagues shall not fall. (See Rev. 18:4.)
"Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee," O Lord, and "the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain." Ps. 76:10.
The separation of the wicked from among the righteous while sojourning in the wilderness in Moses' time, before entering the land of promise, was effected not only for the benefit of the church then (typical Israel) but also for an ensample to the church today (antitypical Israel), typically pointing to the forthcoming separation of the bad from among the good (Matt. 13:48), before the good are taken into the Kingdom, their own land, "the barn." Matt. 13:30. "All these things," therefore says Paul, "happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." I Cor. 10:11.
Through the forewarning, herein, of this imminent providence, the Lord is again pleading with each Present Truth believer:
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 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. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
"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. 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.
"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. And the song 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.
"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. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted." Isa. 60:1 through 12.
So, dear brethren of Laodicea, plain it is that "while the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people upon earth."--The Great Controversy, p. 425.
Then, "clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. 'Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,' she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer."--Prophets and Kings, p. 725. At that time "only those who have withstood and overcome temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming this message when it shall have swelled into the loud cry."--Review and Herald, Nov. 19, 1908.
As a flaming torch in the blackness of night, stands forth the truth that the time of trouble such as never was, finds the church free from the flood of tares, free from the "bad fish," and consequently able not only to withstand the Devil but also to go forth conquering and to conquer in the mighty power of Michael, Whose standing up delivers "every one that shall be found written in the book." Dan. 12:1.
From this rehearsal of the long history of God's people, we see that Abraham is the only one with whom God was not compelled, in order to get the desired results, to resort to means other than the simple command: "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee."
Abraham's unquestioning and unfailing faith and his unhesitating obedience to the Lord's naked command in every instance, made him a "friend of God," the "father of the faithful," and a great pillar of living truth, with a name to be remembered and venerated throughout time and eternity.
Jacob's faith in the promises of God, and his overmastering desire to work himself into the Lord's plans and to carry them out, resulted in his becoming the progenitor of the first fruits or ministry of the kingdom-church--those who stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion (Rev. 14:1).
Joseph's uncompromising fidelity to principle brought him into highest estate, in which he became the world's greatest provisioner, as a type of Christ, the Great Spiritual Provisioner.
Moses, in his meekness (humbleness) and in his determination "rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Heb. 11:25), rose to be the greatest general, leader, and deliverer of all times, and even to stand on the mount of transfiguration.
The apostles' sacrifice of life for the sake of Christ and His Truth, won them the exalted honor of having their names placed in the foundations of the Holy City (Rev. 21:14).
Luther's fearless and persevering efforts to lift up the down-trodden Truth (Dan. 8:11, 12; 11:31), fathered forth Protestantism. Yet, my Laodicean brethren, none of these singularly glorious estates are greater than is yours to stand with the Lamb on Mount Sion.
O "arise, shine," my lukewarm brethren, "for thy light is come"! Isa. 60:1.
Now that on the one hand the Lord is pleading that you take hold of His mighty light of Truth and thereby be separated from sin, that you may escape His vengeance, be delivered from the coming trouble, and have a part in proclaiming the Loud Cry of the Three Angels' Messages; and that on the other hand Satan is pleading that you take hold of his all-exhausted extinguisher; you are brought to the valley of decision. Now has come the zero hour to decide whether or not you will, if the Lord be God, follow His mighty Truth, but if Baal be god, then follow his mighty men (I Kings 18:21).
"Behold," says the Saviour, "I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." Rev. 3:20.
Will you not, then, do as did these faithful men of old, and be God's great men today! O let nothing, Brother, Sister, longer compromise and neutralize your efforts to obtain the promise now--the unmatched privilege of being Zion's priests and kings!
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith." Rev. 3:22.
ROD SWEETENS BITTERNESS.--I am sending you these few lines to thank you for the tracts which you sent me. They have been the means of sweetening the bitter feelings I had in my heart toward our conference men. I believe that these publications are Heaven-sent, for no carnal mind could in such a way interpret God's Word. I feel sure that the Scriptures have been made clear through the Holy Spirit. I have read every tract with great care, and have passed copies on to others.--E.Q. Los Angeles, California.
WARNING AGAINST MESSAGE ENTICES HIM TO INVESTIGATE.--A short time ago, Elder G. gave a sermon here, warning the church against The Shepherd's Rod literature. Becoming curious to see what was so bad about it, I began reading. And I found not only that it contains truth but also that the conference had misused Scriptures to oppose it.
I appreciate the literature very much, and wish to receive it all. Pray for me that I may be sealed with the 144,000.--S.N.,Erie,--Pennsylvania.
LEARNS OF ROD THROUGH DENOMINATIONAL PUBLICATION.--We have noticed the warning against you in the Northern Union Outlook, and should like to hear from you. As no one here wants to give us your name, I am sending this to your Postmaster at Waco. He may know you.
We certainly think it is time for all Laodiceans to wake up and watch, not thinking of money only. Surely we cannot have much time left. We hope that we may hear from you.--E.S.--Grandy, Minn.
The envelope was addressed as follows--"Postmaster at Waco, Texas. Please hand this letter to 'The Publishers of Present Truth Series in the Interest of the S.D.A. Denomination."'
SLOW TO TAKE HOLD, BUT NOW HOLDS FAST.--In 1939 a certain sister came to see me, and gave me some of your literature. I gave it to another sister. Later I received a tract from you through the mail. Laying it on the table, I went on with my work. But as my conscience urged me to look into it, I began to study. As I read, tears came, for I quickly saw that its revelations are supported entirely by the Bible and the Testimonies. Pray that we may all walk in the light as He is in the light.--R.B.W.--Miami, Florida.
RESCUED FROM THE DITCH.--When I received the first Shepherd's Rod tract, I was a backslidden S.D.A. There was very little in the denomination's magazines that interested me, and I had become very worried about my spiritual condition. But I found your tracts so interesting and filled with spiritual food that I read and reread them (literally wore them out), and thanked God there were more to be had and that my condition was not altogether hopeless. Your tracts and Volumes I and 2 are simply the best I ever read. They are without a doubt the living Word, for just like the Bible, they reveal more light every time they are read.
I am asking The Shepherd's Rod people to please pray for me that I will come out of my Laodicean condition altogether, and receive my first love for the Lord, that I may be able to serve Him acceptably.
I would hate to lose out now in the unfolding of prophecy, so please send me every tract you publish. I hand them to others to read, for such precious light must not be put under a bushel, but on a candlestick.--A.P.--Poplar, Montana.
HAS FOUND THE HIDDEN TREASURE.--I have searched the Scriptures night and day, and want to tell my Brothers and Sisters everywhere of the sealing message (3 T 266, 267), the renewal of the straight testimony, the latter rain (5 T 214), the great multitude (Rev. 7:9), and the setting up of the Kingdom (Isa. 2; Mic. 4; Hos. 3).
The Symbolic Code is very interesting. I see that those who really study the Rod, rejoice in its message.
Humbly I bow before my Saviour and say, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.--A.E.M. Lone Rock, Wisconsin.
THANKFUL FOR PRESENT TRUTH.--Last Sabbath, the Spirit worked on my heart, and now God seems very near to me. How much we have to be thankful for! And I praise His name for His goodness to me in sending the message of Present Truth to me and to my family.
Yours to be among the 144,000 and to help spread this message,--E.O., age 13--College Park, Georgia
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
IS PATRIOTISM CHRISTIANITY?
Question No. 223--Shall we in this war take the stand of conscientious objectors or that of patriots?
Answer--Anyone taking any other stand than that of a patriot cannot be a true citizen of his country. A Christian, though, must ever remember that he is under two governments,--one a spiritual and one a temporal,--and that he is therefore obliged to serve both, with the result that there may be times when circumstances may be such as to prevent his giving to both the fullest support. But always will he do his best. Such is the Christian's lot according to God's Book of laws.
The Bible plainly teaches that one's disregard of God's statutes is disastrous both to himself and to his nation, and time has again and again too tragically borne out its truthfulness. As witness to it, stands the sad history not only of God's chosen people, the Jews, but also of the Gentile nations.
Thus as one's disobedience to God's commands may work harm upon his nation as well as upon himself, a Christian therefore bears the double responsibility of doing all in his power to safeguard the welfare and to promote the success of both the spiritual and the temporal kingdoms. And to insure his fully acquitting himself of this weighty twofold responsibility, he will implicitly obey the Lord's command: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17. "And I," says the Lord in
promise to the obedient, "will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Gen. 12:3.
Ancient Israel as a nation and a government were obliged to protect their own property, people, and families--even by the sword. But they were not to war against their own brethren. When the ten-tribe kingdom, Israel, confederated with Syria to war against the two-tribe kingdom, Judah, God's curse rested upon both Syria and Israel, and each was consequently broken by the king of Assyria. (See Isaiah 7:1 through 8; 8:4.)
But when persecuted for the gospel's sake, the Christians were instructed as ministers of the gospel never to retaliate: "I say unto you," says the Lord, "That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matt. 5:39 through 45.
The light that is shining from both the, Old and New Testaments, shows that a Christian, as a loyal citizen of his country, will in time of war serve to protect it, but if the war involve Christians on both protect sides, as the wars do today, he, as a citizen of Christ's kingdom, cannot possibly in conscience engage in shooting his fellow citizens of Christ's kingdom, for "if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Mark 3:24, 25.
So though in such a war Christians must not bear arms to kill one another, they are morally bound to do the humanitarian work performed by the good Samaritan. (See our declaration of principles, The Symbolic Code, July-December, 1940, pp. 11, 12.)
IS VOTING BECOMING TO A CHRISTIAN?
Question No. 224--Is it right to vote?
Answer--As the franchise to vote is one of the inalienable rights of a free people, there cannot be any wrong in exercising it if thereby either the law or offices of the land can be better served. To cast a vote, though, which will further such an end, requires conscientious study; failing that, one's vote can only be biased and unintelligent, and thus adverse rather than conducive to the end of good government.
Those, therefore, who are in no position to devote the time and study necessary to informing themselves on political issues sufficiently to qualify their voting intelligently on them, cannot conscientiously cast a vote, for to do so would be to cast a blind vote, a foolish and a dangerous vote.
Being ministers of the gospel, with our time completely preoccupied with the spiritual interests of the people, we ourselves are not able to give attention to their political interests also, just as the people's political representatives are not able to give attention to their spiritual needs also. And therefore rarely, if ever, do we see our way clear to vote.
SHOULD A CHRISTIAN PROTECT HIMSELF AND FAMILY IF ATTACKED?
Question No. 225--What shall a conscientious objector answer when asked by the conscription board: "Would you fight to protect your wife and children if brutally attacked?"
Answer-He will obviously answer that no true Christian would think of attacking or harming anyone, much less his brother in the faith. So the minute anyone commits an open act of hostility against the life of another, then regardless what his profession may be, that one has revealed himself as a mortal enemy, and should therefore receive the treatment that such an enemy deserves, not the treatment that a brother Christian deserves.
WHAT ABOUT DEFENSE BONDS?
Question No. 226--Are either Mt. Carmel's workers or the institution itself buying United States Defense Savings Bonds?
Answer--As workers in a religious-charitable institution, working in common for a bare subsistence wage of fifteen cents an hour, the residents here, from the lowest to the highest, are consequently without margin of buying power for any but the veriest necessities of life. No one, therefore, has earning capacity sufficient to enable him to make any kind of monetary investment.
The institution itself, being strictly a charitable organization in its entirety, is in similar circumstance. Being a non-profit-making medium through which its members do their appointed work by contributing to it from their income, that it may feed, house, and clothe its workers, print religious literature, and disseminate it free of charge throughout the world, it consequently does not have any funds of its own. So it cannot morally, even if it could financially, make any investment not put to this constituted purpose, however commendable that investment in itself might be.
Nevertheless, besides bonds and stamps bought by its members abroad, the institution in carrying on its regular work for the good of others, not to its own profit, is purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of postage stamps each month. Thus, though it is not in a position to help directly (through United States Defense Savings Bonds) in the defense program, it is doing its part indirectly (through United States postage stamps), its money simply going into another compartment of the same national till, from which it does not, of course, receive either interest or principal.
WHAT ABOUT DEFENSE SAVINGS STAMPS?
Question No. 227--Is it right to buy savings stamps for national defense?
Answer--If one is to make investments, he might better do so in national defense stamps than in something less important and less substantial. In fact, money invested in defense stamps is as safe as money deposited in the bank, even more so, the only difference being that one cannot draw on stamp savings at will as he can on bank savings.
SHOULD A CHRISTIAN JOIN LABOR UNIONS?
Question No. 228--What is The Shepherd's Rod position on Labor Unions?
Answer--As the light which the Testimonies shed on the issue of Labor Unions is all the illumination there is on the subject, our position must be governed thereby.
Though in their formative years the Unions neither had the power nor exercised the pressure which they do now, yet even then men were arduously at work to make them what they now are. So to safeguard the true believer from becoming compromised by their dictates and thus involved in their strikes (not to restrain him from paying to them a part of his wages if they compel him to), the Testimonies forbid his taking part in furthering their unchristian purpose. (See Testimonies, Vol. 7, p. 84.)
In persecuting Jesus and His followers, the Roman and the Jewish governments were doing a thing as unrighteous as the Unions are doing to day in coercing labor into their ranks, yet Jesus directed His followers then to pay tax to Caesar. So we must conclude that if one is required to pay a fee while working at a trade which permits no "open shop," he therefore has no alternative to meeting this necessity as one of the shop's requirements, regardless whether the Union be a good or a bad organization. Thus, though in order to hold his job in support of himself and his family, he may pay the fee which the Unions exact for the opportunity to labor, he will not participate in any of their activities and functions, political, social, or otherwise. In short, he will not have any fraternal connection whatsoever with them.
Under such circumstances, there is no difference in paying Union dues, state tax, or some other necessary expense fee or cost in order to keep at work. In view of this, those who follow in the light will pay only as they have to, and will discontinue paying as soon as possible.
WHAT "INSURANCE" SHOULD CHRISTIANS CARRY?
Question No. 229--Does burial insurance come under the heading of life insurance?
Answer--The only right answer to this question must be evolved, not from any opinion on the subject, but solely from principle. Should a loyal and true citizen of Christ's kingdom seek help or protection from a citizen of some other kingdom? Has the Lord appointed the world or the church to care for His people? Does He ask His children to sever all relations with the world when they are well, only to turn them back to it when they are in distress or in need, in sickness or in death, to have it take care of them? Is the Christian, in other words, while well to trust in Christ, but when sick or dying, to trust in the Devil? Has not the Lord privileged the church to receive a blessing even for giving a drink of water to one of His little ones (Matt. 10:42)?
Self-evident are the answers to these and to similar pertinent questions. Totalled, they give the over-all answer: Never should her members have to depend upon the world. They should be able to depend upon her. Milking and shearing her sheep to the fullest while they are well and have milk and wool to give, the church is morally bound to care for them when they become sick or lame and have no more milk or wool to give, and then to bury them when they die. Thus, for a Christian to carry any kind of worldly insurance policy, is a disgrace to Christianity and thus a dishonor to Christ.
The church, therefore, is under heavy moral obligation not only to carry the insurance for all her true and faithful followers, but also to look after all their needs should they themselves at any time become helpless. This duty divinely imposed upon the church, and the shep-herd's utter disregard of it, also the final outcome, are clearly set forth by the pen of Ezekiel:
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
"Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not My flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require My flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
"I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
"And as for you, O My flock, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? And as for My flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.
"Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; therefore will I save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.
"And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.
"And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.
"And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. This shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord God. And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God." Ezek. 34.
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
"And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." Isa. 58:6-11.
CAN ONE PROPHET'S WRITINGS CONTAIN ALL THE TRUTH?
Question No. 230--In a subject involving the Kingdom, Sister White wrote: "'Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.' Man in his present state is mortal, corruptible; but the kingdom of God will be incorruptible, enduring forever. Therefore man in his present state cannot enter into the kingdom of God. But when Jesus comes, He confers immortality upon His people; and then He calls them to inherit the kingdom of which they have hitherto been only heirs.
"These and other scriptures clearly proved to Miller's mind that the events which were generally expected to take place before the coming of Christ, such as the universal reign of peace and the setting up of the kingdom of God upon the earth, were to be subsequent to the second advent."--The Great Controversy, p. 323.
These statements do not even intimate a beginning of the Kingdom "subsequent to the second advent," but the Rod so teaches. Does it not, therefore, contradict The Great Controversy?
Answer--If we are to understand from The Great Controversy statement, used by the questioner, that the Kingdom incorruptible has no beginning, but comes into being complete in a moment at Christ's appearing, then we would be setting The Great Controversy at odds with the Bible, which plainly says that the Kingdom in its "stone" stage smote the earth's kingdoms and then emerged into its "great mountain" stage and "filled the whole earth." Dan. 2:35.
If the continuity of events recorded in Early Writings, pp. 15, 17, must be taken as absolute, and no other event or events can be sandwiched in, then the questioner is getting himself into deep trouble, for the chapter in question does not include in its record of events either the seven last plagues or the millennium. Giving the appearance that the saints ascend to heaven, then very shortly return to earth, it excludes the plagues, the millennium, and the judgment during it.
The Bible contains many prophecies which the writings of Sister White do not even mention, let alone treat of, and if the Lord does not now reveal them to meet the church's need today, she will not be prepared for their fulfillment, but will be left to perish in her undone, Laodicean condition. And if these prophecies were not to be revealed, then for what purpose were they written?
No prophet of God has ever fashioned a complete, prophetic chain with no links missing. The mind, therefore, which takes the position that Sister White has done what no prophet either in or out of the Bible has ever done, does so at the utter disregard not only of the Bible rule but also of revealed truth.
She herself says that "no man, however honored of Heaven, has ever attained to a full understanding of the great plan of redemption, or even to a perfect appreciation of the divine purpose in the work for his own time. Men do not fully understand what God would accomplish by the work which He gives them to do; they do not comprehend, in all its bearings, the message which they utter in His name."--The Great Controversy, p. 343.
Some persons, being of the parrot kind, utter parrot-like statements, never stopping to think what they say, and seemingly caring not whether their statements stand or fall. Such are they who say that no other event or events can come before, between, or after those set forth in Sister White's writings.
The Jews rejected the prophets because what the prophets taught and wrote was not all found in the teachings of Moses. "We know," they said, "that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence He is." John 9:29.
As no prophet's writings ever predicted the entire truth needed by the church to carry her clear through to the Kingdom, and as other prophets followed, either enlarging upon or adding to the prophecies already recorded in the Scriptures, then for anyone to turn down present Bible truth on the grounds that it goes beyond Sister White's writings, is for him to take the same inexcusable and fatal stand as did the Jews. It is to say, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17), and as a result, to be spued out of the Lord's mouth.
IS IT SAFE TO CHALLENGE?
Question No. 231--If we are to "prove all things," and to "hold fast that which is good," and to be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is in us, then ought we not challenge those who are enemies of the Rod to prove it in error?
Answer--Present Truth believers who are fully established in the Truth, who have no doubts as to its Inspiration, who are settled once for all that The Shepherd's Rod message is heaven-sent, but who are incapable of defending it in all its aspects, are in no wise justified in exposing their precious jewel of Truth to the enemy whose only aim is to take it away from them. Especially when he is not coming with a promise to give them something in addition to what they already have, but to take it away, they cannot afford to challenge themselves to give him a chance to prove as to whether or not he can cheat them of their treasure. When it is gone, the proof will be sad consolation!
So placing themselves on Satan's vantage ground will make them guilty of the folly not only of presumptuousness but of waste of time and of energy as well, and, last but not least, of a fearful chance-taking with this most precious gift. It will be but inviting the Devil to rob them of eternity. We must guard our heavenly treasure with the utmost care, and preserve our faith in it by studying to give an answer to every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is in us, but not by inviting the enemy's deceitful questions.
If, though, for any compelling reason you, dear reader, must assume the risk of meeting the enemy in this great spiritual warfare, you hold him to answer to the whole Truth; do not let him make you to answer for a certain point of truth which, perhaps, no one at the moment could clear. Do not permit yourself to be pushed up on the line of defense, but rather keep yourself on the offensive.
And do not forget that the enemy who seeks your crown is mightier than you, and that therefore if you are not absolutely settled on the message, then by all means rather than study with its enemies, you had better first study with its friends. Not until you have thus done all to prove it right, and cannot, can you rightly study with the opposition if you want to do all to make sure of not being cheated of a message from the Lord.
For remember that if there is someone ready to refute one truth, there is another one ready to refute another truth, and so on and on. In fact, the enemy is ready to refute every truth in existence, even the Bible Itself, if you but let him. Certain it is, though, that Satan does not have so good an argument against the Rod's truths as Sunday keepers have against the Sabbath truth.
Hence for one who is settled in the Truth and is searching for more, voluntarily to interview a known enemy, is but to put one's sword in the enemy's hand and to challenge him to cut off one's head.
Ever bear in mind, though, that "the efforts made to retard the progress of truth will serve to extend it" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 454), and that your loss is but your own.
"Our convictions need daily to be re-enforeed by humble, sincere prayer and reading of the word. While we have an individuality, while we each should hold our convictions firmly, we must hold them as God's truth and in the strength which God imparts. If we do not, they will be wrung from our grasp."--Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 401.
WORK WITHIN OR WITHOUT?
Question No. 232--On one hand I find your literature teaching its believers not to leave the ranks of the mother church, while on the other hand I find you causing no end of trouble to the church. How do you reconcile your precept with your example? Why not devote your time to evangelistic efforts to bring erring souls to the knowledge of the Truth, and let the church alone?
ANSWER--Assuredly, we believe that this is no time to be pulling apart, but indeed to be pressing together. And the message which we are bearing to the church, not only does not contain any doctrine or teaching which would warrant our leaving her ranks to become a separate cult, but does contain both which absolutely forbid our doing so. For these reasons we have from the beginning steadfastly refused, even in the face of abusive treatment, to leave the mother church.
So far as we are concerned, therefore, the responsibility for existing controversy and schism is all the denomination's, and none of ours, for we are only obeying the Lord's command forbidding one's compromising the Truth. And they themselves admit that we must obey God rather than men. Upon the denomination, therefore, rests the heavy guilt of rejecting the message of the hour and of casting out those who accept it, thus repeating the tragic folly of the Jews in Christ's time.
As to devoting our time in an effort to evangelize the world to the neglect of the church, such would be a criminal act, one of highest treason both to God and to His people: for the church must first be saved from her Laodicean condition of being "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." She, not the world, is just about to be spued out. And she "is the only object on earth on which 'He bestows His supreme regard."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 15.
But in her present deplorable state of blindness and destitution as exposed by the True Witness (Rev. 3:14-18), she is utterly unfit for the task assigned her, and must be rescued from her sad deception, before she can be a safe refuge and a saving influence to those who would join her ranks. If God leaves her in the Laodicean condition in which she now languishes, not only will she herself be lost but, in consequence, so also will the whole world along with her. He must therefore lift her up or else raise up another to do the work which remains to be done.
Think, though, what an eternal joy it would be for Him to fit her up and use her to His glory, rather than have to forsake her! So before raising up another as a last resort, He is trying to save her, and He will save her, as He promises:
"Satan will work his miracles to deceive, he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out. The chaff is separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouth. The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy....
"The great issue so near at hand will weed out those whom God has not appointed, and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain."--B:55-1886.
Were the Lord--Who Himself when upon earth spent all His time in the exclusive endeavor to save His lost church then--to send us to the world rather than to His lost church today, He not only would be bringing in the innocent to perish with the guilty but also would be violating His Own practice and countermanding His Own orders to His apostles that they preach present truth first to the church (Matt. 10:5, 6).
In mercy and in consistency with afore-established procedure, therefore, He purposed that "while the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among [His] people upon earth....Then the church which...at His coming [He] is to receive to Himself will be 'a glorious church, not having , spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.'"--The Great Controversy, p. 425.
This is her special work.
"The Lord does not," furthermore says the Spirit of Truth, "now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church-members who have never been converted, and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?"--Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 371.
But when the backslidden and the unconverted, the tares, are taken away, "then she will look forth 'as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.'"--The Great Controversy, p. 425.
Yes, the honest heathen must and will be evangelized, but "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:6) must be sought first. And for this how thankful they ought to be and will be when they discover that rather than being rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing, they are actually wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked'--in need of everything; and that the Lord is waiting to make them what they ought to be.
For these reasons, God says now to work within rather than without. And what He says, that He means, and we dare not disobey.
SHALL WE PICK THE UNRIPE SECOND FRUITS AND LEAVE THE FIRST TO SPOIL?
Question No. 233--Shall we, in the Name-ingathering Campaign, send in names and addresses of those without as well as within the S.D.A. denomination?
Answer--As publishers of the Present Truth series of books and tracts in the interest of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, our duty now is to work only within the church. Then when we have accomplished this work (when the "firstfruits" therein have been sealed), Michael will stand up to deliver every one whose name is found written in the book (Dan. 12:1)--every one who has the seal: for they are then entering into the time of trouble such as never was. And while standing, He shall send "this pure, true, sanctified ministry" (B:55-1886), 144,000 in number, "unto the nations" to declare His glory among the Gentiles" (Isa. 66:19), and to deliver the rest of His people.
Thus while Babylon the Great rules the world (represented by her riding the beast--Rev. 17), these escaped ones "shall bring all [their] brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations [her vast dominion]...to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord." Isa. 66:20. In other words, they shall bring out all their brethren whom Michael shall deliver from the great tribulation then in the world,--"a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues." Rev. 7:9.
This glorious ingathering we shall see in just a little while if we but now follow the Lord step by step as He leads ahead. But if we attempt to "run ahead," we will either bring upon ourselves the time of trouble before we are ready to stand, or waste our time and means, only in the end to find that we have prematurely picked, and hence ruined, some of the precious second fruits in Babylon, the Gentile field, while leaving some of our church brethren, the first ripe fruits, to perish in their Laodicean condition.
Present Truth believers taking part in the Name-ingathering Campaign are therefore requested to confine their efforts strictly to within the S.D.A. denomination, and to renew their zeal in this great and important work.
Do this, Brother, Sister, and hasten our going home!
HOW MAY UNITY BE MAINTAINED?
Question No. 234--As Present Truth teachers and believers, what can we do to avoid bringing in among ourselves dissension, discord, strife, and division, all of which result in the disruption rather than the building up and forwarding of the work in unity?
Answer--As only where there is union there is strength and true Christianity, the question is certainly worthy of the most earnest consideration.
If Christians never accuse one another, never communicate other's mistakes, shortcomings, failures, and troubles, they will find themselves so united that nothing can dissipate or destroy the love of Christ among them. But such a spirit of oneness can be maintained only by a people who see eye to eye, and who speak the same thing. And the only way that this can be accomplished is that each forsake his own ways and thoughts, and in exchange avail himself of the Lord's.
It is imperative, therefore, that every Present Truth believer teach and practice only Present Truth; that is, teach nothing more or less than what is published, and do nothing more or less than what the message calls for.
Thus putting aside your own thoughts and your own ways, and availing yourselves of the Lord's (Isa. 55:8, 9), in exclusive devotion to the Spirit of, Truth, you will see eye to eye, and speak the same thing. Then only will you be able to dispel the spirit of confusion and to retain the Spirit of love and unity.
IF TWO DO NOT AGREE, HOW CAN THEY WALK TOGETHER?
Question No. 235--Why do not The Shepherd's Rod believers and the Reformed S.D.A.'s unite in one?
Answer--The Rod adherents and the Reformed S.D.A.'s do not unite because, unfortunately, they do not agree. Being in wide variance on some doctrinal issues, union under the circumstances is impossible.
One such doctrinal difference, for instance, is that the Reformed S.D.A.'s teach that the sins in the mother S.D.A. church make her a part of Babylon, whereas the Rod teaches that though she is in a bad condition, yet she is not Babylon: for the sins do not make the name any more than the name makes the sins. Babylon is not so named because of its sins, nor condemned because of being named Babylon, but is denounced because of having fallen and because of having "become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird Rev. 18:2.
The S.D.A. church may be in even a worse condition,--so bad a condition, in fact, that she does not even know that she is "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Rev. 3:17),--yet in spite of it all, she is called "Laodicea," not Babylon. And her members stand, not to be called out as do those in Babylon, but rather to be spued out. The Rod is laboring to save them from being spued out, whereas the Reform movement is calling them to come out.
So their believing as they do, and consequently rejecting the Rod's message, make mutually impossible our uniting with them and their uniting with us.
As the Lord, moreover, has revealed advanced truth through the Rod, but none through the Reformed S.D.A.'s, obviously, then, were there to be any such union, they must necessarily correct their views and then join with us in accepting the message of the Rod, rather than our throwing overboard its jewels of truth and then joining with them.
"If unity," says the Spirit of Prophecy, in expressing the attitude of the early Christian church, "could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference and even war."--The Great Controversy, p. 45.
"We are to unify, but not on a platform of error."--Mrs. E.G. White, Series B:2, p. 47.
Thus one may easily see that, though our fervent desire is to fulfil Christ's prayer for unity, we dare not attempt to do so by sacrificing truth, for then we would not be one with Christ, even were we one with all others.
"There is danger of out being so overzealous to keep out of Babylon," says the founder of the S.D.A. church, "that we shall commit her most noted blunder--that of sticking a stake and refusing to pull it up and advance. When we cease to unlearn errors, we shall fall like those who have gone before us. We have learned much, and no doubt there is much more for us to learn. ...It is the 'follow on' and the 'go through' spirit that will finally land the remnant 'without fault' on the heavenly Mount Zion. My conclusion is that we should give up no Scripture truth, but that our false applications and interpretations of Scripture, and consequent false ideas of order and propriety, should be given up as fast as possible."--The Review and Herald, May 29, 1860.
WHAT IS THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD?
Question No. 236--Is the great and dreadful day of the Lord the same event as the second coming of Christ?
Answer--As seen from Malachi 4:5, the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes as the result of the proclamation of the message of Elijah the prophet. Thus rather than being Christ's second appearing, it is obviously on the one hand His setting His seal upon the forehead of the righteous (Rev. 14:1; 7:9) and bringing His judgments, "the wrath of the Lamb," upon the wicked (Rev. 6:15-17); and on the other hand Satan's warring against the remnant (Rev. 12:17).
This conflict between God and Satan brings in the time of trouble such as never was, at the beginning of which Michael stands to deliver "every one that shall be found written in the book." Dan. 12:1. It is "the great and dreadful day of the Lord"--"great" for the righteous, "dreadful" for the wicked. Once it begins, it continues, as the Spirit of Prophecy says, without respite to the end--Christ's second appearing. (see Testimonies to Ministers, p. 182.)
FORTY YEARS WITHOUT NEW LIGHT?
Question No. 237--How can you say that during the forty-year period from 1890 to 1930 there was no new light given to the S.D.A. church, when so many of Sister White's writings were published from 1890 to 1915?
Answer--Though many of Sister White's writings were published during the aforestated period of time, a careful check will reveal that if any new revelation of Bible truth (doctrine) was published therein, it was revealed to her before.
The Testimonies, moreover, rather than being given expressly to reveal Present Truth, "meat in due season," were given primarily to furnish counsel, admonition, reproof, and instruction in righteousness in an endeavor to save the Laodiceans from being spued out. Any other of her writings remained in their prophetic aspects a mystery until the forty years expired with the arrival of The Shepherd's Rod.
WHY ONLY THREE SEALS AS AGAINST FIVE TRUMPETS?
Question No. 238--If the seals and the trumpets run in a single progression, each seal preceding its corresponding trumpet, thus bringing a sealing message, then a destruction, how do you account for only three seals and five trumpets before the cross?
Answer--The seemingly serious discrepancy in the difference between the number of seals and the number of trumpets before the cross is in actuality no discrepancy at all, but rather a deliberate and purposive irregularity due to the fact that the truths revealed in the third and fifth trumpets are of eternal duration, whereas the truths revealed in the other five trumpets are of temporal duration: the star which fell at the sounding of the third trumpet is symbolical of the Bible, God in the Word, and that which fell at the sounding of the fifth trumpet is symbolical of Christ, God in the flesh, in both instances the Fountain of Truth, from which all truth flows, even the truths of the rest of the trumpets, and also of the seals.
Thus this irregularity, a mark of divine design rather than the result of human shortsightedness, shows that the Bible and the Lord, the written and the living Word, are the very source of, every message,--the storehouse of the whole Truth,--and that therefore rather than being a part of another message, every other message is a part of It.
Thus though on the surface this irregularity appears to be a damaging error, it underneath proves to be a great bulwarking truth.
ALL OR A REMNANT--WHICH?
Question No. 239--Romans 9:27 says that a remnant of Israel will be saved, but Romans 11:26 says that all Israel will be saved. I do not understand this. Can you help me?
Answer--Romans 9:27 is speaking of Israel as a nation, of which only a remnant will be saved; whereas Romans 11:26 is referring to the elect of Israel as individuals, all of whom will be saved.
ARE VOLUNTEERS, THOUGH GOOD, REJECTED?
Question No. 240--Can anyone get into the "net" (Matt. 13:47) after it is drawn to shore?
Answer--As the net is figurative of the gospel in the church, then if there is nothing to keep one from accepting the message, he can get into the "net" and become a part of the church any time before the close of probation. Surely if a good fish should manage to get into the net while it is being hauled ashore, it will not be thrown out with the bad simply because it did not get in sooner, but rather will be accounted even more precious because of its own effort expended in getting in, without the help of the net.
IS THE LAW MADE VOID?
Question No. 241--Paul writes: "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let very man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." Rom. 14:5, 6.
In the light of these two scriptures, is it not true that one is saved by faith no matter what his doctrinal belief may be in the Sabbath and in the law?
Answer--Giving rise to the foregoing question, Paul's writings in this instance also give answer to it:
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Rom. 3:31. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." I John 5:3. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Rev. 22:14.
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?...Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone....Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?...For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2:14, 17, 19, 20, 26.
The doctrine of faith divorced from works is the very thing that has driven the world mad today,--has made men lawless and ushered in a reign of godlessness, of immorality, crime, and terror unequalled in human annals.
Any justification for breaking the Sabbath, one part of the law, must necessarily result in equal justification for breaking the other parts of the same law,--for worshiping false gods and idols, for killing, stealing, committing adultery, and coveting,--for if one part of the law is not binding, then how can the whole be binding? Indeed, the Scriptures plainly state that the violation of one part is a violation of the whole.
If one finds pleasure in treading down a part of the law, he will naturally find more pleasure in treading down all of it.
No rational person who believes Paul's writings as a part of Holy Writ can honestly convince himself that Paul would at one moment uplift the law and at the next moment tread it down. Decidedly, therefore, one's interpretation of his writings must be such as to make them consistent.
In Romans 14:5, 6, Paul is endeavoring to correct unfair criticism by admonishing the believers that everyone must be persuaded in his own conscience, and that the duty of a Christian is to keep, speak, and teach the Truth, not to demand obedience to it; not to despise those who eat or those who do not, or those who esteem one day above another, but to let all be fully persuaded in their own minds. Their duty is to be altogether-Christians, having minds of their own, but ever being ready to forgo them for the Lord's.
And having written, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8), Paul could not possibly have turned around and advocated that a man can be saved by a gospel of his own, by what he himself thinks.
That the Sabbath and consequently the law are perpetual, to be kept even hereafter, anyone can easily see from the statement: "It shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord." Isa. 66:23. And looking forward to the time of "the great and dreadful day of the Lord," Malachi admonishes the people living at that time: "Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments." Mal. 4:4.
As therefore not only the Sabbath but also the whole law is to be kept both now and forever, faith does not do away with the law of God, but rather establishes it forever.
WHICH IS THE SABBATH CALENDAR?
Question No. 242--In keeping the Sabbath, are we to go by the present calendar?
Answer--As the Sabbath is a weekly, not a monthly, holy day, and as only the seven-day cycle remains intact from creation, it is the only time cycle in modern use that can be followed in the observance of the Sabbath or of any other of the Bible weekly holy days.
ARE WE NOT DELIVERED FROM KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS?
Question No. 243--To what law does Galatians 3:13 refer? Does deliverance from the curse of the law of sin mean deliverance from keeping the ten commandments?
Answer--The law spoken of in Galatians 3:13 is the ten-commandment law (Ex. 20). But deliverance from the curse of the law, does not mean deliverance from keeping the law. The Bible teaches that obedience to it brings the manifold blessings of maintaining one's fidelity to God and of safeguarding his religion (verses 3-7) if it be the true one; of ever reminding him that God created the heaven and the earth in six working days (verses 8-10); of securing for him the joyous privilege to worship God by resting on His holy day--the seventh (verse 11); of teaching the children to honor their parents (verse 12); of preventing one from murdering (verse 13); of preserving one's chastity (verse 14); of instilling in one honesty (verse 15); of keeping him from falsehood (verse 16); and of saving him from covetousness (verse 17).
A doctrine, therefore, which countermands strict obedience to the law of God, the only words written by His Own fingers (Ex. 31:18), is in consequence permitting worship of other gods, and thereby in effect teaching Christians to dishonor the God of all creation. It is disregarding and losing sight of the two doctrines, the six-day creation and the seventh-day rest (God's holy day), and encouraging dishonor to parents, murder, immorality, dishonesty, lying, and covetousness,--a tenfold disobedience which brings curses commensurate with the tenfold blessings for obedience. Thus, if violated, the law brings a curse; if kept inviolate, it brings a blessing.
WHAT IS THE SEAL?
Question No. 244--What is "the seal of God" upon the foreheads of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:3) ? Is it the Sabbath seal or some other?
Answer--Being sealed in Christ "with that Holy Spirit of promise," after having "heard the word of truth" (Eph. 1:13; 4:30), the Christian, consequently, is sealed by Present Truth.
Hence the Sabbath, the seal of the ten-commandment law, plus the judgment of the dead, plus all kindred truths since 1844, along with all previously revealed truth, in addition now to the message of the hour, Present Truth,--all together the whole Truth,--are the seal today.
"The seal of the living God," however, by which the 144,000 are sealed (Rev. 7:2), is a special seal, being the same as "the mark" of Ezekiel 9. (See Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445; Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 267; Id., Vol. 5, p. 211.) Demanding one's sighing and crying over the abominations not only in himself but also in the church (Ezek. 9:4), it is placed upon him just before the Lord slays the wicked in the church, so that the angels may pass over them. It is the antitypical Passover seal--the blood on the door post today. "The angel is to place a mark upon the forehead of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel will follow, to slay utterly both old and young."--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 505.
WHAT ABOUT TITHING GIFTS?
Question No. 245--Since the Bible teaches that one should tithe all his increase, should not one therefore pay tithe on gifts?
Answer--As the word "increase," as used in the Scriptures, means "that which is added to the original stock; profits," the return from one's labor, we do not know that it can be construed to enjoin paying tithe on gifts, and therefore the decision must rest entirely with the individual.
WILL OLD JERUSALEM BE BUILT UP?
Question No. 246--Will you please help harmonize the Bible and The Shepherd's Rod with Sister White's writings in regard to the setting up of the Kingdom? The Scriptures consistently teach, as the Rod over and over shows, that the Kingdom is to be set up before the second advent. But Early Writings, pp. 75, 76, teaches that "Jerusalem never would be built up." And The Great Controversy, pp. 322, 323, teaches that "not until the personal advent of Christ can His people receive the kingdom....But when Jesus comes, He confers immortality upon His people; and then He calls them to inherit the kingdom of which they have hitherto been only heirs."
Answer--Though under the lens of Sister White's writings, the doctrine of the Kingdom may not appear the same as under the lens of the Rod, one dare not thus superficially reject either, but must studiously compare both views of the doctrine under the super lens of the Bible. We are not, accordingly, given license to harmonize the Bible with any other writings, but are charged to measure all others with It.
First of all, in order to do justice to the Scriptures, to Sister White's writings, and to the Rod, each must be viewed in the light of the circumstances calling them forth. Taking first the statement in Early Writings, the context reveals that the author's intent is to show that the Zionist Movement would never take the unconverted Jews to Jerusalem and rebuild the city in fulfillment of the Scriptures used, or in any connection with the coming Kingdom. Never, therefore, will old Jerusalem be rebuilt in accordance with the Zionists' interpretations. Yet the Bible does plainly teach that the promised land will be reinhabited by the Lord's converted people. (See Isaiah 2; Micah 4; Ezekiel 36, 37; Jeremiah 31-33.)
As to Sister White's statement in The Great Controversy, she is speaking of the Kingdom complete, after the dead are raised, at the time that the saints receive it, the only aspect that was then made known; whereas the Rod is bringing additional light on the subject: the setting up of the infant Kingdom before the resurrection of the dead, not of the receiving of the Kingdom complete at Christ's appearing in the clouds. Having no light then on the setting up of the Kingdom, the beginning of it, the book could not possibly have expressed itself then in the terms in which the message does today.
In other words, any statements incidental to a subject that is still out of sight in the unrolling of the scroll are made only in terms of truth as it is seen, or as it is commonly understood, not in terms of truth not seen. And if the understanding of that be wrong, the writer cannot be responsible for that which he has necessarily borrowed. This circumstance is natural and common to every writer treating of present truth, even to the gospel writers, and will thus continue until every component part of the Truth is made known.
For example, John the Baptist's message was to proclaim, not the setting up of the Kingdom, but the coming of the King. But while announcing the one, he incidentally had to make mention of the other. When speaking of the coming King, he expressed himself in terms of revealed truth. But when circumstantially alluding to the coming Kingdom, on which there was no light, he necessarily expressed himself in terms of the subject as then commonly understood.
Nevertheless, when the further unrolling of the scroll revealed that the Kingdom was not to be set up at that time, then the honest truth-seeking ones did not accuse either John or Christ, but joyously watched the scroll unfold, and jubilantly marched on with the Truth. Not so, though, with the vast majority of the Jews. Their pride of opinion forbidding them to forgo their errors and to embrace advancing Truth, they went deeper into error, rather than rising higher in truth!
"Thus it was," says the Spirit of Prophecy, "that the Jews did in the days of Christ, and we are warned not to do as they did, and be led to choose darkness rather than light, because there was in them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God."--Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 66.
The Great Controversy and Early Writings do not make the subject any clearer than the unrolling of the scroll made it when they were written.
Nevertheless, The Great Controversy does not fail to make clear that the establishment of the Kingdom and the inheriting of it are two different events: While the apostles "were not to behold the coming of the kingdom in their day," it says, "the fact that Jesus bade them pray for it, is evidence that in God's own time it will surely come.
"The kingdom of God's grace is now being established, as day by day hearts that have been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovereignty of His love. But the full establishment of the kingdom of His glory will not take place until the second coming of Christ to this world. 'The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven,' is to be given to 'the people of the saints of the Most High.'"--Mount of Blessing, p. 159. (Italics ours.)
Every Christian should remember that as the Truth is ever advancing, It will not be found today where It was a hundred years ago, and that therefore Its followers must advance with It. They will not follow the example of the Jews and of the Romans.
When Moses wrote the first part of the Bible, he was not given light to write the whole Truth which God intended to reveal to His people through the ages. With each approaching hour for the Truth to advance came first one prophet then another in the long succession ending with John the Baptist. Then came Christ, the apostles, the reformers, and Sister White, each one in turn teaching and writing truths which could not be borne out by the writings of any one predecessor alone. To find the whole Truth, the writings of all must be collaborated.
For example, in setting forth the law of the Passover, and in commanding its observance, Moses wrote: "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:, and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening." Ex. 12:5, 6.
The reason which Moses assigns for its observance is that it is to commemorate Israel's coming out of Egypt (Deut. 16:1-3), whereas John the Baptist imputes its significance to the coming of Christ, "the Lamb of God" (John 1:29), and the apostles, to His crucifixion, "for even Christ our passover," says Paul, "is sacrificed for us."' 1 Cor. 5:7. And the significance of keeping the Passover, they attach to the ordinance of the Lord's supper (1 Cor. 11: 23 through 29).
Moses, moreover, did not explain that the Levitical priesthood in the earthly sanctuary (Ex. 40:15) was only a provisional and thus a temporary one, a figure of Christ's priesthood in the heavenly sanctuary, as the apostles explained (Heb. 6:19; 9:12, 26).
Failing to advance with the advancing Truth, the Jews found fault with the prophets and the apostles, even with the Son of God Himself, justifying their criminal actions on the ground that the claims of the prophets, of Christ, and of the apostles were unfounded in Moses' writings. And while boasting of his writings, they denied and killed the prophets who came after him--a solemn warning to us! lest doing as they did, we meet their fate.
The main question therefore is, not as to whether Sister White or Moses or this one or that one wrote the message of today, but rather simply as to whether it is written in the Bible.
The Rod, consequently, does not claim that its message is found in the writings of any one prophet, but rather in the writings of all the prophets.
Let none now, therefore, treacherously use Sister White's writings, as the Jews used Moses' writings, against the advance of Truth, and to their own eternal hurt. There is no excuse for anyone. From every angle approached, the Bible clears the subject of the Kingdom, making impossible one's erring if he follows precisely what the Word says concerning it.
The Rod teaches, not that Jerusalem is to be rebuilt as the capitol city of the Kingdom, but that the Kingdom in its beginning is to be set up in the promised land. And in confirmation of the truth that God's people are again to become a kingdom, Ezekiel prophesies of--A New Division of the Land.
The prophet presents a division of the land entirely different from that of Joshua's time (Josh.17): is to be in strips from the east to the west. Dan is to have the first portion in the north, and Gad, the last portion in the south. Between the borders of these two are to be the portions of the rest of the tribes. The city is to be in the midst of the land, and the sanctuary, in the midst of the city. (See Ezekiel 48.)
The fact that such a division of the promised land has never been made, shows that it is yet future. Also the fact that the sanctuary is to be there, whereas it is not to be in the earth made new (Rev. 21:22), positively proves that this unique set-up is pre-millennial.
In addition, the twofold fact that the name of the city is "The Lord Is There," and that its location, according to the division of the land, necessarily must in some respects be different from that of old Jerusalem, shows that Jerusalem proper shall not be rebuilt as a capitol city of the coming Kingdom. (See our Tract No. 12, pp. 52, 53.)
If the Bible makes Itself clear on any subject, It certainly does so on the subject of the Kingdom. And rightly so, for the Kingdom is the Christian's crowning hope,--Satan's Constant Target, The People's Repeated Stumbling Block.
That the great controversy between heaven and earth is over this crowning hope--the Kingdom--is seen first from the Lord's repeated instructions in the prophecies, in the types, and in the parables; second from Satan's repeated effort to keep the human race out of it; and third from their repeatedly being defeated in their warfare to become heirs of it.
Working determinedly from the beginning to plunge the human race into hell, not to lead it into the Kingdom, Satan succeeded with many of the Jews because they wanted the Kingdom set up before its appointed time or not at all, and he is succeeding with many of the Laodiceans today because now, when the time appointed has come, they want to have it later or not at all! What a paradox! Indeed, as history repeats, so does folly!
The Bible says: "In the days of these king? [the kings that are symbolized by the ten toes of the great image], shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed....It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms." Dan. 2:44.
Observe that "the stone" (the Kingdom) becomes a great mountain after it smites the image, showing that when the infant Kingdom (the Kingdom incomplete--before the saved from all ages are resurrected and added to it) is set up, it smites the nations. Then at the resurrection, when the saved of all ages are joined to it, it becomes a great mountain--the Kingdom complete.
In the face of these clear-cut and repeatedly chronicled prophecies, may no one be so foolish as to say, as did the Jews in response to Ezekiel's prophecies, "The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off" (Ezek. 12:27), thereby bringing upon their heads the same dreadful doom.
WHY DWELL ON PROPHECIES?
Question No. 247--Why is the Rod taking so much time to teach the doctrines and the prophecies? Why not spend more time on the love of Jesus--the most important part of the Bible?
Answer--It is because the Scriptures say, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." 2 Pet. 1:19.
If the prophecies are less essential than other portions of the scriptures, why, then, did the Lord cause His servants to write so many of them? Obviously, they are as important, especially the symbolical prophecies; for the entire book of The Revelation, which is addressed directly to the people who are to be living just before the Lord's coming, is made up of symbolisms, concerning which the Lord says:
"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Rev. 1:3. "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book....For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Rev. 22:7, 18, 19.
True, the love of Jesus is important, but it alone, without the doctrines and the prophecies, will profit one nothing, for through the prophecies and the doctrines one learns of the love of Jesus. "All scripture," says Paul, "is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
Had the churches today taught the prophecies and the doctrines to the exclusion of the love of Jesus, then of course the Rod would have dwelt more extensively on the love of Jesus than on the prophecies. But as the opposite is the case, the love of Jesus being magnified to the neglect of the prophecies, then of course our greatest need is to study the prophecies.
Though the gospel of love inspires us to love the Lord, the doctrines teach us the right way to love Him, and the light of the prophecies guides our feet in the straight and narrow path along the way to the city of God, just as at night the lights of an automobile show the way home. Thus while we need the one, we just as much need the other. The Rod therefore combines both, teaching the love of Jesus through the doctrines, and the way to the Holy City through the prophecies.
WHAT IDENTIFIES ONE AS AN S.R.S.D.A.?
Question No. 248--As The Shepherd's Rod does not have a formal membership, what evidence can one give to identify himself as a member of the organization? And how can he establish the length of time he has been with it?
Answer--One's support of the Rod and his living out its principles (Sabbath observance, the rest of the ten commandments, vegetarianism, dress reform, total abstinence from tobacco and alcoholic beverages) are the strongest and the only genuine certification of one's membership in the S.R.S.D.A. organization. And just the length of time that one has in Christ lived these principles through the aid of the Rod, just that long has he been a member of it.
The January-June, 1941, issue of the Code, page 14, paragraph 2, line 3, should read: "...page 11 of the July-December, 1940, issue of The Symbolic Code."
1. When sending in names, take special care to insure their correct spelling and legibility, for inaccurately spelled or written names can rarely be caught, the result being that duplications of literature are sent to the same address under different names.
Take pains, too, in making sure of correct address, for the same name with different addresses leads to another type of duplicated effort, which along with the former errancies, causes unnecessary and retarding complications and waste of time in the Circulation Department.
2. Also, the work of the Correspondence Department will be appreciably expedited if correspondents will always use the same signature and return name and address; always place return name and address in upper left hand corner on face of envelope; and always address the letter to--The Universal Publishing Assn.--Mt. Carmel Center.--Waco, Texas.-- Attention: (Name of the individual, or department, if any, to whom letter may be directed.)
3. Should any possess Shepherd's Rod charts which they would care to dispose of, they may return them to The Universal Publishing Assn., for either cash or credit consideration.
4. When sending in first and second tithe together, please designate which is which, so that the Treasury Department may save the time in trying to figure out the amount of each.
Also, when remitting offerings, either separately or along with first or both first and second tithe, again be careful to state the amount of each, and for what purpose the offerings are intended.
5. We are confident that Present Truth believers will rejoice to know that a correspondence Teacher's Course on the message is now in preparation, the first part of which, covering The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 1, is now available to full-fledged believers who have an earnest zeal to prepare themselves to teach the message.
Though the expenses of this course might be carried by free-will offerings, yet an enrollment fee of $3.00 is required in order to minimize the number of enrollees who may not value the course and who may not have intentions to carry it through.
As an eligibility requirement for enrollment, all enrollees are required herewith to test their ability in the science of Present Truth, by writing to us what they believe to be the correct interpretation of the symbols and colors of the Kingdom flag. (A picture of the flag is found in our Tract No. 13, p. 31.)
Those giving a one hundred per cent correct answer are entitled to the Teacher's Course without paying the enrollment fee, and all others taking the test, are entitled to have deducted from their entrance fee a certain amount according to the percentage of the answer which is correct.
All answers are to be addressed to The Symbolic Code Department, and are to be submitted not later than April 30, 1942, in accordance with the following rules: (1) use ink, and write plainly (typewritten papers are preferred); (2) use standard size unruled bond paper; (3) print plainly your full name and address in the upper right hand corner of your paper.
6. If you are in need of a Bible, we shall be glad to furnish you with any size or description of Harper's Bible, which we have adopted for both its quality and readableness. By ordering through The Symbolic Code Department, you may obtain quality at 20% discount on list price, and at the same time help the institution to make a modest profit on your order. Remember that a penny saved to the cause is a penny earned to the cause; that drops make bucketfuls, bucketfuls wells, wells rivers, and rivers oceans.
When ordering, please give the catalog number of the Bible you want sent to you, or, if you are unable to ascertain the number, then give an ample description of the kind you want, and state the approximate price you wish to pay. Your order will be forwarded to you C.O.D.