OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
I shall read from "The Mount of Blessing," page 174, beginning with the first paragraph. The title of this reading is, "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory."
M.B., p.174–"The last like the first sentence of the Lord's prayer, points to our Father as above all power and authority and every name that is named... Amid national strife and ruin, the steps of the disciples would be beset with perils, and often their hearts would be oppressed by fear. They were to see Jerusalem a desolation, the temple swept away, its worship forever ended, and Israel scattered to all lands, like wrecks on a desert shore. Jesus said: 'Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.' Yet Christ's followers were not to fear that their hope was lost, or that God had forsaken the earth. The power and the glory belong unto Him whose great purposes would still move on unthwarted toward their consummation. In the prayer that breathes their daily wants, the disciples of Christ were directed to look above all the power and dominion of evil, unto the Lord their God, whose kingdom ruleth over all, and who is their Father and everlasting Friend."
The disciples expected Jerusalem in their time to become the capital of God's great Kingdom. But contrary to their expectations, Jesus proclaimed that Jerusalem would become a desolation, and the temple a ruin! Thus again and again we are led to see that we finite beings never know God's plans. Indeed, we need to pray for His Spirit to lead us on and on, and to point out the right way at every turn as we journey onward to Eternity. Let us now pray that the knowledge of these truths will make us just what we ought to be.
THE SIFTING OF THE NATIONS
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, DECEMBER 21, 1946
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
Last Sabbath we concluded our study with verse eleven of Zechariah 14, and now in order to connect today's study with last Sabbath's, we shall briefly review the events concerning Jerusalem, as predicted in the first eleven verses of the same chapter.
The first event predicted is a war against Jerusalem, in which all nations participate. In that war a part of the people in Jerusalem go into captivity, but the rest remain in the city. Moreover, in that day the Lord's feet stand on the Mount of Olives, and the mountain cleaves toward the east and toward the west, making a great valley. Then to this valley of the mountains, to the place where the Lord's feet stand, the people of God flee as hastily as if from an earthquake. Thus is Jerusalem to be re-inhabited by God's own people. Evidently those who are not cut off, those who are left in Jerusalem, must be the faithful that are found therein. But those who flee to the valley to where the Lord's feet stand–flee to Him, not away from Him—must be the faithful from elsewhere. Plainly, Jerusalem is to become the great gathering place for God's people.
These are some of the things which our last Sabbath's study, the first part of Zechariah chapter 14, brought to view, and any Bible student should readily see that they are pre-millennial: The people do not descend from Heaven, but instead they flee into the valley. They could not, therefore, be the wicked, for they flee to Him, not away from Him. Now let us continue with the twelfth verse.
Zech. 14:12—"And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth."
In one of the preceding verses we are told that the Lord is to fight against all those who fight against Jerusalem. And now in this verse we are told of the means which the Lord will employ in that warfare. He is not to use man-made weapons, but a plague.
Verse 13—"And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold everyone on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour."
Besides the plague, there shall be a great tumult—a confusion and excitement that will turn every man against his neighbor. Thus shall the Lord defeat the enemies of His people.
Verse 14—"And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen roundabout shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance."
During this conflict of the nations, the Kingdom of Judah is to be restored. She also shall fight at Jerusalem, and shall gather to herself the wealth of the heathen.
Verse 15—"And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague."
The plague falls on both man and beast that are found in the tents of the unbelieving.
Verse 16—"And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles."
This sentence of Scripture emphatically implies that all who at that decisive moment refuse to be converted to the Lord, shall perish; only those who worship the Lord at Jerusalem on the feast of tabernacles, shall be spared.
Verse 17—"And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain."
The "rain" will be withheld from all who do not then worship the King, the Lord of hosts, in order that they may fully realize their mistake. Moreover, not only those who shall fight against Jerusalem, but even all the families of the earth shall be thus sifted.
Verse 18—"And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles."
If the drought fails to awaken them, then the plague will finally take them. Thus all who have not heard the message will be given opportunity to hear it. If it cannot save them it will eventually destroy them.
Now we see that this event (the Lord's standing on the mount and the saints' fleeing to the valley) is not only pre-millennial, but even pre-probationary; that it commences the re-establishment of the house of Judah; that it prepares the way for lightening the earth with the glory of the angel (Rev. 18:1); that it is eventually to bring the end of sinners.
Verse 19—"This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles."
Again we see the necessity of forsaking our preconceptions of the final work of the gospel. No, the Lord will not drop upon the world like a bolt from the sky. He will first magnify His Word, His power, His righteousness and His church or people. He is also to have, as it were, an ark of safety into which to gather His elect and shield them. All these facts, you see, are vividly borne out in this prophecy.
Verse 20—"In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar."
Bells on horses serve no other purpose than to help their masters locate them. Thus it will be that only those servants whose "bells" (voices) sound "Holiness unto the Lord" can the Lord locate and gather as His Own.
Verse 21—"Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts."
This verse is self-explanatory, it needs no comments.
So it is seen that with the establishment of the Kingdom of Judah commences the sifting of the nations. It must be that we are on the verge of witnessing the fulfilment of these prophecies else the Scroll would not have been unrolled so far as to unseal them at this time—certainly not if the Spirit of Truth alone leads into all Truth, and if the Lord gives "meat in due season. " In view of this, let us wholeheartedly do God's bidding and sincerely act out our faith in His never-failing Word.
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