OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
I shall read the last paragraph from The Mount of Blessing, page 163, after which we shall engage in a season of prayer.
M.B., p.163—"When we pray, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' we ask for others as well as ourselves. And we acknowledge that what God gives us is not for ourselves alone. . . . 'He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully'. . . . In teaching us to ask every day for what we need,–both temporal and spiritual blessings, – —God has a purpose to accomplish for our good."
The Institution's experience is a good illustration of the fact that those who bless others, they themselves will also be blessed. You know that this Institution began to be built in 1935, right in the midst of the depression, and that its work began with nothing more than a revelation from the Lord. In all respects its beginning was the smallest of the small and the poorest of the poor. And while countless individuals and business organizations went bankrupt, it grew and prospered. It was thus blessed because instead of hoarding its God-given blessings, it most liberally spent itself to bless others. Since this Institution by unselfishly blessing others from its very beginning to this day, even in a time of depression, has become what it is, then individuals may likewise reap a blessing if they, too, follow the same rule.
Accordingly we should pray that we be granted an understanding of what it means to say, "Give us this day our daily bread"; and to know that selfishness leads to poverty and that management and liberality lead to abundance; that we as Christians positively know that to take the name of Christ is to do what Christ did—to bless humanity, to let the world know that we are here to do it good, not to be a burden upon it.
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, NOVEMBER 2, 1946
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
This afternoon we shall start our study where we left off in our previous study of Haggai's and Zechariah's prophecies. Let us turn to
Hag. 2:1-3—"In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the Word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?"
As it was in the days of building the typical temple so it must be in the days of building the antitypical, in our days. From the type is seen that just as the Word of the Lord was then addressed to the governors, to the high priest, and to the common people, so the Word of the Lord today is to be carried to all the people, regardless of rank or station in life.
The Word of the Lord to all the people in Haggai's and Zechariah's day was that the builders should consider to their heart-breaking disappointment that the glory of the temple which they were building was in their eyes as nothing in comparison with the glory of Solomon's temple.
Verses 4, 5—"Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not."
The Lord assured His people that the love which He has had for them has not diminished, and that His power to deliver and to help was still the same as when He brought their forefathers out of Egypt; as He had not failed His people in those times then He was not to fail them either, and that His spirit was still to be with them.
Verses 6-8—"For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts."
That the prophecy in these verses is yet to be fulfilled, is very obvious, for in the day this temple is built God is to shake the heavens, the earth, and the nations; that their expectation is then to come and that the temple is to be filled with glory; that the builders are not to worry about finances.
It is true that men control and use the silver and the gold, but it must not be forgotten that it all belongs to God, and that if He has need of it, He is well able to take it and do what He will with it, that the builders need not fear a shortage of it if they use it as God would have them use it.
Since it is plain that the ancient temple was typical of a temple to be built in the day God shakes the heavens, the earth, and the nations, the subject becomes absolutely clear that Inspiration is here speaking of an antitypical temple.
Verse 9—"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts."
The promise is that the glory which attended Solomon's temple, shall be far exceeded by the antitypical one, which is to be built by the church purified, the church during the harvest time, the time in which God shakes the heaven, the earth, and the nations—during the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
Since these promises were not fulfilled in the day of Zerubbabel's temple, the subject becomes crystal clear: that they are now to be fulfilled, and since these latter day truths are now revealed to us, we must be the builders of it, the glory of which is to exceed all the glory of the past. Moreover, the place where this antitypical temple is to be situated is to have peace, and the way that peace is completely to be achieved is told in—
Verses 21,22—"Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
Again is seen that in the day the Lord shakes the heavens and the earth, He also, destroys the kingdoms of the earth by allowing them to kill one another. No wonder then that the nations are now engaged in an armament race, and the whole world is on the verge of plunging into the bloodiest conflict ever known. It is difficult for anyone to come to any other conclusion than that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is at hand.
Inasmuch as Zerubbabel is a "signet," a symbol or a type of the builders in the day the Lord shakes the heavens and the earth, then Ezekiel's description of the mystic temple (chapters 40-47) which is yet to be built, could be the blueprint of Zerubbabel's anti-typical temple.
"But," you may ask, "is this idea not contrary to our former belief?" —I admit that it is. But are we to go on by what we have believed? or by what the Word of the Lord says? And for what purpose are those prophecies if we are not to give heed to them? And why are they now unsealed and brought to our attention if this is not the time in which God is to manifest His power and accomplish all these things? It should be remembered that we are not the first and the only people who have had to change our way of thinking; we are not the first and only people to discover that God's plans are the opposite of our plans. Moses, too, found that his plan for delivering the children of Israel from their Egyptian bondage was not God's plan. Likewise God's plan for the route they were to take in their journey to the promised land was not their plan. The apostles positively believed that Christ was to set up His kingdom at His first advent, but they, too, had to change their belief. Moreover, since the Hebrews, whom out of slaves God had made kings, had been promised that their kingdom was to stand forever, they were indeed astounded when it went down. And there have been other surprises all along from the dawn of history.
The pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination expected the Lord to come as soon as 144,000 converts joined the church, and expected to live to see Him come. The church membership though, already numbers several times 144,000, the pioneers are dead, and the Lord is yet to come. So the question is not whether we want to change our minds or not, but whether we have to.
Years ago we were told that "The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God, they will need the divine touch."—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300.
As Inspiration unrolls the Scroll it is, of course, but to be expected that it will find us surprisingly ignorant of many things—the very reason that It unrolls. If we, therefore, fail to exchange our ideas for the Lord's, then what hope is there for us ever to become enlightened and fitted for eternity? Our ideas are to fall flat, and the Lord's prophecies are to stand "high and lifted up." Our duty is to prove God's Word correct rather than to hold tenaciously to our preconceptions and misconceptions until God Himself steps in and puts us to shame.
As Seventh-day Adventists we once boasted that we "know our Bible" but since this group ceased boasting it found that it knew very little in comparison to what it knows now, and still I cannot say that I have a sufficient knowledge of the Bible to carry me clear inside the pearly gates. In fact, I know that I have much more to learn.
Verses 10-13—"In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the Word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean."
Should one who bears the holy oracles of God touch a common thing, that thing would still remain common and unfit to bring to God; but should one whose body is defiled touch a holy thing, the thing would become unclean, unfit to be used for the Lord's sacrifice. That is, sanctified man must not bring an unclean thing to the Lord, and unsanctified man must not bring even clean things to Him.
Verses 15-17—"And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord: Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the press—fat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to Me, saith the Lord."
By this exemplary experience this scripture teaches that trying to make a living while neglecting to do the Lord's work, poverty rather than prosperity would be one's lot. It is, therefore absolutely essential that present Truth believers first seek the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness if they are to prosper. (Matt. 6:28-34). Let us ever remember that if we are completely on the Lord's side, behind God's hedge, as was Job, we need not fear anything, not even the devil.
Verses 18, 19—"Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? Yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you."
The type teaches that from the day we begin to do the Lord's work, from that very day will the Lord bless us.
Verse 14—". . . So is this people, and so is this nation before Me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean."
This verse shows that if we fail to perform our God-given task, then there is no substitute for it.
As soon as they were told of their fathers' sins, and of their own, our types gladly conformed to the Lord's wishes. (See Hag. 1:5-11). He will in like manner bless us from this day on if we, too, admit our wrong doings, and correct them.
Hag. 1:12-14—"Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the, prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord. Then spake Haggai the Lord's messenger in the Lord's message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord. And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God."
These verses tell us that just as soon as all the people gave heed to the messengers of God, just that soon the Spirit of the Lord stirred their energies, and then immediately all went to work. We, too, will have just such an experience if we now settle it in our minds that from this hour on we will pay strict attention to the message of God and serve the Lord our God with whole heart and soul. Let us not put off God's blessings from us.
Verses 20, 21—"And again the Word of the Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth."
In view of the fact that the Lord is soon to shake the heavens and the earth, is it not imperative that we right now put away hypocrisy? Let us cease inviting "drought," "blasting,” and "mildew" upon ourselves. Let us instead yield our hearts to God and thereby insure unto ourselves joy, peace, happiness and eternal life. Unless we do this, we shall certainly be shaken out instead of reformed and revived.