OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
Before we engage in prayer, I shall read from The Mount of Blessing, pages 162, 163. The reading is based on the scripture, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
M.B., pp. 162, 163 – “The first half of the prayer Jesus has taught us, is in regard to the name and kingdom and will of God, – that His name may be honored, His Kingdom established, His will performed. When you have thus made God’s service your first interest, you may ask with confidence that your own needs may be supplied…. Be not dismayed if you have not sufficient for to-morrow. You have the assurance of His promise, ‘Thou shalt dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.’“
Jesus pulled nothing out of storage, so to speak. He received day by day a fresh supply for all His needs, for Himself and for His work. Yes, everything – topics for His teaching, the wine at the marriage, the bread to feed the multitude, and even the coin to pay the tax. All these He received as He had need of them. Never did He lack a thing. If we make God’s Kingdom our chief business as He did, work for It as He worked for It, pray as He prayed, trust as He trusted, – then there will be no reason for us to receive less than He. Heaven’s wealth will be at our disposal. In fact He assures us: “All these things shall be added unto thee.”
Now what shall we pray for? – We should pray that our first concern be not essentially that of supplying ourselves with this world’s goods, but, rather, that of advancing the Kingdom of God; pray that we may really realize that it is His business and good pleasure to serve our needs, and that we make it our business and delight to serve His interests.
This afternoon we shall resume our study of Zechariah two. Inasmuch, however, as Zechariah two is a continuation of the story that begins in chapter one, we shall commence our study with it.
Zech. 1:20, 21 – “And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”
Previously the prophet saw these as four horns, as powers that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem throughout the Gentile nations, but as the angel projected the prophetic view to the time of the end he saw them as four carpenters; that is, as “horns” they come to “fray” and to “cast out the horns of the Gentiles” from the land of Judah, but as carpenters they obviously come to build for Judah. Evidently, then, when the horns (powers) of the Gentiles are cast out of the land, and God’s people are brought into it, then “the times of the Gentiles” shall have been fulfilled.
After having been shown the symbolism of the four horns and four carpenters, the prophet’s attention was turned to another symbolism. We read about it in the first four verses of chapter two:
Zech. 2:1-4 – “I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, and said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein.”
From the fact that the angel suddenly ordered the young man not to measure Jerusalem, is clearly seen that the man on his own initiative had started to do something that was not in God’s plan. Hence, his endeavor to measure the city (number its inhabitants) was a mistaken idea of his own or of some other for which he was quickly corrected and definitely told to abandon his trying to measure the city; that it would be as a town having no walls, no prescribed boundary line, because for the multitude of both men and cattle; it could not, therefore, be “measured” (numbered).
Since Inspiration is looking down to our time, and speaking in our terms, the “young man” therefore represents latter day Christian workers (young, not ancient) who subject themselves to the reign of uninspired Bible interpreters that limit the Lord, imagine that the living saints in the city are to be so few that a man can number them, namely 144,000, not considering that these are only the “firstfruits” (Rev. 14:4) of the great “harvest.”
The angel’s explanation that Jerusalem is to be inhabited by an innumerable multitude of both men and cattle, proves that this was news to the young man. When and how in the stream of time is this young man corrected? – The only logical and fair conclusion one can come to, is that when the Spirit of Prophecy unrolls the scroll, when God raises an interpreter of the Scriptures, then it is that such a doctrinal correction can be made.
So important is the living Spirit of Prophecy in the church, as “the young” man’s experience proves, that regardless of one’s zeal, sincerity and integrity, he cannot rightly serve God without It, that even one’s best work and intention is bound to be at cross purposes with God’s. It is therefore, high time for the church to start believing all the prophets have written, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Pet. 1:20, 21.
Inspiration insists that it is absolutely impossible for one to privately (without the Spirit of Truth) interpret the sealed prophecies. And let us remember that no revealed Truth ever came, nor ever will come through the halls of learning. It is, therefore, of vital importance that you let alone the Angel of the Laodiceans lest you, too, be spued out (Rev. 3:16). If he chooses to feed on his empty sermons, still teaching that the church needs no more Truth, that she has enough to carry her through the pearly gate, that he can without Inspiration interpret the Scriptures and know what Truth is, then let him himself eat his unholy feast. Tell him that you prefer to live on “meat in due season” (Matt. 24:45) direct from the Throne of God. Now hear God’s plea: “They which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Isa. 3:12. “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: and I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jer. 3:14, 15.
Ever have your ears open to any claimant of Inspiration if you are not to repeat the history of the Jews. God will not let you be deceived if you really hunger and thirst after righteousness, if you really want to know the Truth, for He is anxious that you keep up with His progressively revealed Truth. There is therefore no danger for one to be deceived by coming in contact with error, but there is a great danger for staying in darkness by not coming in contact with fresh Truth. Inspiration’s counsel is thus:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1. To keep this commandment is just as important as to keep any other.
To be more specific, the Laodicean angel assumes that there are to be only 144,000 living saints – a measured or a numbered company – who are to make up the Kingdom. He also believes that no kind of cattle will be taken there, all of which is contrary to that which the Heavenly angel revealed: that not a numbered company of living saints but rather a great multitude which no man can number are to be the immediate inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Kingdom eternal – the church purified and set apart from the world so that the called ones out of Babylon may find refuge in It. The 144,000 are only the “first fruits” (Rev. 14:4) and the great innumerable company of saints projected in Revelation 7:9 are the second fruits, for where there is no second there can be no first.
Elders, you proudly tell us that the Denomination now numbers nearly a million members, and that she has set her goal to double the membership. On one hand you brag about its rapid growth, and on the other hand you try to refute “The Shepherd’s Rod’s” teaching on the great multitude of Revelation 7:9 which the “Rod” proves by the Scriptures that they are the second fruits of the harvest. By your positively holding that the living saints are to be only a few in number, only 144,000, and by your bragging about the Denomination’s growth and multiple thousands of members already in the church, you are thus creating a paradox for yourselves and for all your sympathizers. Besides this, you admit that the greatest part of the work is yet to be done – that there are millions upon millions even in the United States itself who have not as yet heard so much as the name Seventh-day Adventist, much less “the everlasting gospel.” Plain it is, therefore, Brethren, that at the present rate of growth, when the work is finished and Jesus comes to take His church to glory-land, the Denomination by then will have grown to several million strong.
Notwithstanding this background that you Elders have yourselves built up, yet contrary to it all, you teach that when Jesus comes, there will be only 144,000 living saints, no more! Are you Elders not confused and confusing! If you really believe in your theory of the 144,000, then will you in the Spirit of Christ and at least for your own soul’s sake, take paper and pencil and accordingly figure the percentage of saints and the percentage of tares, devils, that even now constitute the membership of our churches? Since it already numbers no less than 800,000, and if there be only 144,000 saints in it when Jesus comes, then according to this ratio, considering the membership at the present time, a congregation of 100 members would even now consist of about 18 saints and 82 devils! If this be so, then what chance for you? And since the officers who run the churches are elected by majority vote, do you see who elected them, who is in office, and who is in control of the churches? Do you wonder then why things are running as they are?
If it be true that there are to be only 144,000 living saints when Jesus comes, and if the membership doubles by the end of 1953 or 1954 as the aim seems to be (though doubtful), then at that rate in 1955 there will be only 9 saints to 91 devils out of every hundred members. Accordingly, if the membership doubles several times before Jesus comes to receive His church, then there will not be even one saint in a hundred members! Still lesser chance for you! If this be so, then ask yourselves whose church is the church? – the Devil’s? or the Lord’s? and where shall He look for it when He comes?
These sad facts stand as high as mountains against your private interpretations, Elders, and as eye-openers to your flocks. If you therefore continue to say that you are not asleep, that your interpretation of the Word is unquestionable, that you have all the Truth to take you through the Pearly Gates, that you have need of nothing more, then there is no hope; you are too far gone.
We personally know, though, that there are many who are not so badly fooled, who have not bowed the knee to Baal, who have not permitted themselves to be locked in corrals as it were, like sheep and cattle, by imposters who control and feed the flock of God there with such low grade husks as this study shows.
Your bragging about the Denomination’s achievements and of her numerous conversions the world over, if it be true, Truth now challenges you to honestly answer the questions that here ensue: Why are you giving them hope of a home in the Kingdom if you positively know that they cannot be saved? Is not such an ingathering outright deception and the greatest endeavor to infiltrate the church with tares ever heard of? and is it not spiritual whoredom of the worst kind to fill the church of God with devils?
To cover up the deep slumber that is reflected by the aforesaid figures, one minister explained: “When the work closes,” he said, “there would be in the church many more thousands than 144,000 living saints, but rather than being translated, the greater number of them will have to die from the plagues or from epidemics before Jesus comes, because they could not be good enough for translation although perfect enough for resurrection”!
What an eye-opener to the laity these outstanding false doctrines! And what a compelling power and a good chance now for you Elders to admit Christ’s charge that you are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Rev. 3:17. If the Spirit of Truth cannot now convince you of Truth and righteousness, then He never will. It is, therefore, imperative that you now confess to the laity your guilt of passing out false doctrines, that you will no longer fool yourselves or your flocks by wasting time and energy trying trying to measure Jerusalem. Wisdom cries out that you at once take to heart His counsel:
“I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire [inspired Truth], that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve [such as this], that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Rev. 3:18, 19.
For your sake these things have been kept away from the public eye, but since you have completely scorned every Heaven-sent plea for twenty long years, you are now reaping a harvest. Your nakedness, you see, is already beginning to be uncovered. And if you do not respond to this Truth and turn against the abominations here exposed, and gladly accept this plea for reformation, then every one will know that your doings, Elders, are deliberate attempts to deceive “the very elect,” the 144,000, who, according to the prophecies that are now unsealed, are now almost all in the church. We shall now continue with Zechariah’s prophecy of chapter two:
Verse 5 – “For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.”
Only a stone wall surrounded Jerusalem in Zechariah’s time. But a wall of fire is to surround the Jerusalem of our time, the Jerusalem of which Zechariah was instructed to write. It is from this latter Jerusalem that the Lord is to teach us of His ways, and to cause us to walk in His paths, “for,” declares the gospel prophet, “…out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem,” Isa. 2:3. Thus the call: Verse 6 – “Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord.”
The statement “I have spread you abroad as the four winds of heaven,” cannot be limited to the Jews in Babylon. It embraces universal scattering of God’s people, Judah and Israel, throughout the lands of the Gentiles. Since the prophecy is directed to our time, then the call to “come forth” and to “flee from the land of the north” is to be sounded to God’s people at the time the Babylon of Revelation chapter seventeen reigns. The call, “come forth and flee from the land of the north” is parallel with the call, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4. This call cannot be taken to mean that God’s people should merely come out of one building, or of one land, and go into another where, too, sin is practiced. The place that they are called to come must be free from sin and thus free from the plagues. Obviously they are called to come to the Kingdom whose immediate citizens are to be the first fruits, the 144,000, the church purified and set apart from the world. Then it shall be said to it, “…henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Isa. 52:1.
Verse 7 – “Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.”
Certain it is that “the daughter of Babylon” cannot possibly be the mother, ancient Babylon. Rather, she must be the latter day Babylon, the Babylon that drives (rules) the scarlet-colored beast (Rev. 17).
It is plain, moreover, that all the saints are called to get out of Babylon before the plagues of Revelation 16 fall upon her if they are to be delivered from them. But how can Zion deliver herself, if she does not hear the Lord’s warnings to leave Babylon? It is therefore very urgent that this message reach her ears.
Verse 8 – “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath He sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.”
God permitted His people to be scattered (spoiled) among the Gentile nations, but now He is to send His messengers after them because they that touch them, touch, as it were, the ball of His eye, the most sensitive member of the body. His church, “the glory,” is His supreme regard.
Verse 9 – “For, behold, I will shake Mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me.”
Servants spoiling their masters is one of the signs at the time this prophecy is brought to light. And the world knows that labor and management are now engaged in their greatest struggle, and that as a result Communism threatens the whole world.
The statement, “And ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me,” is used several times in Zechariah’s prophecies. We find it twice in verses 9 and 11 respectively of chapter 2, and once in verse 9 of chapter 4. What does it signify? – It definitely implies that at the time these scriptures are unfolded, the majority of the people are doubters but that at last they shall know that the Lord has sent this message to them.
Doubters as a rule wait until there is unquestionable evidence before they acknowledge that the message is from God, but it may not do them any good at that late hour.
Verse 10—"Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord."
Obviously this coming of the Lord is not the one in which the saints meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:16, 17), for the Lord does not in this scripture say that He comes to receive His people so that they may dwell and reign with Him a thousand years (Rev. 20:4), but that after the sinners have been taken away from among them He comes to "dwell" with them, to protect them from the angry Gentile nations during the "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation. " He protects them by a "wall of fire round about" them. That time of trouble is almost here. The world sees it coming. Do you, Brother, Sister? And what are you doing about it?
"In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain." Isa. 4:2-6.
Zechariah's coming of the Lord therefore, is the same as Michael's standing to deliver all those whose names are written in the Book. Dan. 12:1. Ever remember that the books are open and examined during the Judgment Day. (Dan. 7:10). That our names be found in that "Book" should now be the most absorbing concern of each of us.
Verse 11—"And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be My people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee."
Just as soon as we as a Denomination awake to the fact that "many nations shall be joined to the Lord," and be His people just that soon will the theory of only first fruits die out. And just as soon as this message reaches every church member, just that soon will the purification take place. "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years." Mal. 3:3, 4 "The wicked shall no more pass through" her, "he is utterly cut off." Nah. 1:15.
Now it is clearly seen how narrow our ideas have been of God's great work and of His way to finish it, not knowing that while the work is being completed, a great multitude, which no man can number, out of all nations (Rev. 7:9), will join the "mountain of the Lord's house" and shall be His people (Isa. 2:2). Pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is [done] in Heaven." The need of a genuine revival and reformation now becomes exceedingly evident. "What does revival and reformation mean? ”Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death" and "reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices." —Christ OurRighteousness, p. 121, 1941 edition.
Finally, observe that Zechariah 2 contains the same truth that Isaiah 2, Micah 4, Jeremiah 31, and Ezekiel 36 contain.
Let us continue our study with:
Verse 12—"And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again."
This is what the Bible teaches, and no one can afford to doubt the Word of God. This being the message of the hour, and as all are to be judged by It, then if we do not fully accept It we would be in God's sight naught but "cumberers of the ground." Our so-called good works alone will not lead us out of Babylon, but our understanding the Truth for this time, and implicitly heeding God's call, will.
You remember that while Noah was preaching that a destruction would come from the Almighty, he was also preparing a place of refuge building the ark. Those who doubted Noah's announcement of the flood, and who scoffed at the idea that they should enter the ark for safety at a time when there was not even the slightest sign of threatening rain, were doubters no longer when the elements of nature were unleashed. Then they madly rushed to the ark; but to their dismay and utter disappointment, they found the door tightly closed against them. Thus all, both good and bad who chose to remain outside the ark, perished. The antedeluvians' experience should serve as a reminder to us that we be not presumptuous as were they. We should instead take to heart the clear warning that is pertinent to this hour, for we are told that as it was in the days of the flood, so shall it be at the time of the Lord's coming.
The ark of today is "Zion and Jerusalem," "for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem:" Mic. 4:2.
Verse 13—"Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for He is raised up out of His holy habitation."
Note carefully what the Word says, "He is raised," not "He shall rise." Plainly, then, when the Lord uttered this prophecy, He projected His words into the future, speaking in the present tense as though it were at the very time the prophecy was in the process of being fulfilled. Thus the statement, "He is raised," means that now at the revelation of this Truth "He is raised"; and the statement, "The Lord shall inherit Judah His portion in the Holy Land, " means that He is yet to inherit Judah, the church purified. We are, therefore, now living between these two points of time-between "He has raised up," and "He shall inherit".
What shall our resolution now be? Shall we close our eyes to these solemn and glorious revelations of events that are now taking place? Shall we still doubt and continue to await results? or shall we arise whole heartedly and do God's bidding? Shall His Kingdom or our own homes be made our first interest? If we do not now correct our perverted motives, how can we then honestly say, "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done"? and how can you expect the temporal things of life to "be added unto you?" Matt. 6:33.
Have we resolved once and forever to serve God, not self, to study as never before, and to put aside all doubting? Have we resolved once and forever to serve God, not self, to study as never before, and to put aside all doubting? Says the Lord,". . . It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth." Isa. 49:6.
". . . He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His Truth." Ps. 96:13.
It Shall Be Well With Thee
Be tranquil, O my soul,
Be quiet every fear!
Thy Father bath supreme control,
And He is ever near.
Never of thy lot complain,
Whatever may befall,
Sickness or sorrow, care or pain,
'Tis well appointed all.
A Father's chastening hand
Is leading thee along;
Nor distant is the promised land,
Where swells the immortal song.
O, then, my soul, be still!
Await heaven's high decree;
Seek but to do thy Father's will,
It shall be well with thee.