OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
Before engaging in prayer and Bible study, I shall read from The Mount of Blessing, beginning with the first paragraph on page 151. The chapter is based on the Lord’s Prayer.
M.B. pp. 151, 152 – “The Lord’s prayer was twice given by our Saviour, first to the multitude in the sermon on the mount, and again, some months later, to the disciples alone. The disciples had been for a short time absent from their Lord, when on their return they found Him absorbed in communion with God. Seeming unconscious of their presence, He continued praying aloud. The Saviour’s face was irradiated with a celestial brightness. He seemed to be in the very presence of the Unseen: and there was a living power in His words, as of one who spoke with God.
“The hearts of the listening disciples were deeply moved. They had marked how often He spent long hours in solitude, in communion with His Father. His days were passed in ministering to the crowds that pressed upon Him, and in unveiling the treacherous sophistry of the rabbis, and this incessant labor often left Him so utterly wearied that His mother and brothers and even His disciples, had feared that His life would be sacrificed.”
What did they fear? They feared that Jesus was doing too much, and that if He thus continued to overtax His strength, He would not live long. They felt sure He would soon take sick and pass away.
Did their expectations come true? – No. The opposite of what they feared took place. What made Him equal to His task? Was it not prayer? If Jesus could receive sufficient strength in prayer to perform His daily duties, why cannot we? Let us kneel and pray to this end.
Our study for this afternoon is to be from Isaiah, chapter three. But since the story, or prophecy, of this chapter begins in the preceding chapter we cannot profitably study the third chapter independently of the second. No one by beginning to study a subject from the middle, backward or forward, can learn its continuity and know what it is all about. If one is to learn the full truth of a subject, he must study it in its entirety. Dogs and cats, not civilized human beings, start eating the slice of pie from the center out. As intelligent human beings, as God’s people, we ought to eat the pie correctly.
How do I know that the prophetic subject of chapter three begins with the second chapter? – The very first word of chapter three, the preposition “for,” points out that something has gone before. To pick up the continuity of Inspiration’s burden, and also to get the background of the subject, we are compelled to start our study with the very verse Isaiah was led to commence the prophecy:
Isa. 2:1 – “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.”
What was Isaiah led to reveal? – Things concerning Judah and Jerusalem, the church. We need to know, though, the exact generation of that people, because if the prophecy is concerning our generation, then it will have greater meaning to us. Its teachings will then be especially adaptable to our present and dire needs – will be “meat in due season.” For this very reason we need to ascertain who are the people that Inspiration is addressing. Let us read
Verse 2 – “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”
Not a man, not a people or a nation, but the Lord Himself so declares. The prophet was shown things concerning the Lord’s house (church), “in the last days,” – not in Isaiah’s days. The statement “last days,” in itself leads us to the “time of the end.” As we were shown last Sabbath that the time of the end began in the 18th century, obviously then, the time is here for this marvel of the ages to take place.
Verse 3 – “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
Since no such gathering as here predicted has as yet taken place, the subject becomes exceedingly obvious that it is still future.
Some years ago in my interest of Isaiah 2, I interrogated a well-informed preacher, who also was
an eloquent speaker. He answered as emphatically as he could, by saying, “That will never be fulfilled.” At that time I did not know, and his answer to my question did not help me one way or another, but now that the scroll has unrolled God Himself declares that His Word never fails, and Him we must trust, for if this prophecy cannot be fulfilled, then what assurance have we that any of the prophecies will be fulfilled?
Moreover, if this prophecy is not to be fulfilled, then consequently the gospel work will not be finished either, for this prophecy tells the way the work is to be finished – that the law of the Lord during the judgment day of the living is to go from Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem, – not from Takoma Park, not from Mt. Carmel Center, and not from some other place either.
After the judgment work in the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17) is completed and the 144,000 guileless servants of God, the first fruits (Rev. 14:4) take their high and exalted post with the Lamb on Mt. Zion (Rev. 14:1), then commences the ingathering of the second fruits. Finally the world’s eyes will come open to the situation, and as one nation invites another nation, the gospel work will intensely speed up. Many will then say, “Let us go up to the mountains of the house of the Lord, to the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we wall walk in His paths.” All the prophets have spoken of this great and marvelous event, but for brevity’s sake I shall quote only from one chapter – Zechariah 2.
“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. 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.… Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. 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. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for He is raised up out of His holy habitation.” Zechariah 2:4, 5, 10-13.
Verse 4 – “And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Not the nations, but Inspiration Itself declares that in the day God judges the living, then those nations who go to the mountain (Kingdom church purified) of the Lord “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks” – they will go farming instead of spending their strength in war. The nations that do not accept the Lord’s “rebuke,” in that day, though, will madly arise against the “mountain” of the Lord, as forecast by the prophet Joel, saying: “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.” Joel 3:9-12.
Since Inspiration has dedicated these publications to the announcement of this most important event in connection with the gospel – the climax and the triumph of it, the separation of the good from the bad (Matt. 13:30, 47, 48), the goats from the sheep (Matt. 25:32); and the establishment of the mountain of the Lord’s house; there is therefore no escaping the conclusion that these chapters of Isaiah were penned especially for the church today. Now that we are the forerunners of this great and glorious event, we must give special heed to what these chapters have to say. This we must do if we are to prepare the way of the Lord (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 4:3-5). This message to the church, you plainly see, is to prepare her members for the Judgment before the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” begins (Mal. 4:5). For this very reason the Scriptures at this time are unsealed. Let us now hear the Lord’s plea.
Verse 5 – “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Because the church greatly needs this light, the light that now illuminates the Judgment Day, the Lord makes the foregone plea to the antitypical “house of Jacob,” the house in which are the 144,000 Jacobites, the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel, who down through the ages became assimilated by the Gentile nations, and thus lost their racial identity.
The Lord’s concern, that the church walk in the light of the Lord (in Inspiration’s light for today) definitely implies that she is not now walking in His light; and His command, found in the last verse of Isaiah’s chapter, clearly reveals that she is walking in the sparks of uninspired men. The Lord, therefore, commands: Verse 22 – “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”
The reason that her members should immediately cease from men is told in the verses that follow:
Isa. 3:1-4 – “For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, the mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.”
For over a century we as Seventh-day Adventists have been preaching the work of the Judgment for the Dead, and should now with ease see that when the Judgment for the Living begins it is to separate the saints from the sinners – the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:30), the good fish from the bad fish (Matt. 13:47, 48), the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32-46), the wise virgins from the foolish ones (Matt. 25:1-13).
Plainly then, Isaiah 3:1-4 reveals that among those who are found wanting, are some of the mighty men, men of war, judges and prophets (teachers of religion), prudent and ancients, captains and honorables, counsellors and cunning artificers and eloquent orators, and that God is not a respecter of persons, but only of penitent sinners; that He is not dependent on so-called great men.
Those who have been exalting themselves and who have thus caused His people to follow learned men instead of Inspiration and thus the Lord’s advancing Truth, are all to be carried away as chaff!
The brethren who for years have been preaching the Judgment for the Dead have gone spiritually blind and foolish, do not even expect a message of the Judgment for the Living and are insultingly saying. “These prophecies are never to be fulfilled!” Now is the hour for them to ponder over this light along with the statement: “In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged.” – Testimonies, Vol. 5, pg. 80.
Let us go back to chapter 2.
Isa. 2:6 – “Therefore Thou hast forsaken Thy people the house of Jacob, [those men that are causing the people to follow them], because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.”
At the time the great ingathering here projected is about to take place, His professed people, He declares, please themselves among the unconverted and are charged with being soothsayers, ably explaining away God’s revealed Truth for this time rather than to magnify and to proclaim It.
Verse 7 – “Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots.”
The house of Jacob to which God is here speaking is again identified by the fact that it dwells in a land that is full of silver, of gold, and of chariots, that there is no end to the number of them. Since there is no land in all God’s world that is as rich with silver, gold and motor vehicular traffic as is this land of the United States of America, very obviously America, the land where the headquarters of the gospel is, is the land to which God refers. He is, therefore, this day, Brother, Sister, in a special way talking to you, to me, to the whole denomination and particularly to the General Conference (the house of Jacob) in newly revealed Truth, and in unmistakable language. Shall you, shall I, gladly comply with the Lord’s wishes? is the great question before us. Soon the Judgment will begin and we must make sure that our cases will stand.
Verse 8 – “Their land also is full of idols [He declares]; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made.”
The land from which the gospel now eminates is also full of idols, He declares, the kind their own hands have made; that is, they are proud of their idolatry, and their accomplishments they worship as if they were their God. Both the mean and the great practice hypocrisy. Forgive them not He exclaims, except they repent.
Verse 10 – “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty.”
Here we are plainly told that the sinners will eventually find themselves unprepared for the great and dreadful day of the Lord, and when God thus manifests His Power they will indeed be terrified. They will as wild men run to the rocks and the mountains there to hide themselves. The event of this particular verse runs parallel with that of The Revelation: “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6:15-17.
Very evidently Isaiah’s prophecy meets its fulfillment in the time of the sixth seal, the time in which the Lord sits on the Throne of His Glory, not on the clouds, the throne before which gather all nations, whereupon the Judgment work begins: the separation takes place, the saints (sheep) are then put to His right and the sinners (goats) to His left (Matt. 25:33). The prophet Joel declares the day in these words:
“Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:13-16.
It is the time in which shall be said,
“The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.” Isa. 33:14-16, 24.
The sinners in Zion are first to cry to the rocks and to the mountains, then will the proclamation of the great and dreadful day of the Lord go forth far and wide saying: “Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge My might.” Isa. 33:13.
Now is the time to quit fooling ourselves, to make up our minds to wholeheartedly serve the Lord, and Him alone.
How do I know that the great day of the Lord is almost here? – I know it because the announcement of it is here already, and because the message of the marking that is foretold in Ezekiel’s chapter nine, the work of the Judgment, is already making its way throughout the Adventist world. I know it also because the material for the glory that follows immediately thereafter (the material that is to lighten the earth with the glory of the angel, the Loud Cry – Rev. 18:1) is all ready and waiting.
And what happens then? – the cry goes out to the whole dominion of Babylon, “saying, 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. God’s people come out of Babylon to join His purified sin-free church, His guileless servants, the 144,000, the first fruits of the mountain of the Lord’s house.
Then it shall come to pass that from all nations will the saints flow into it. “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee [upon the church purified, the mountain of the Lord], 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 sons 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.” Isa. 60:2-11.
Then it shall come to pass that Verse 11 – “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”
Man has long been exalting himself; so much so, in fact, that there are perhaps only a few Christians in the world that are really following “the light of the Lord.” Most of them are following sparks of men, following uninspired interpretations of the Scriptures, – devisings of men, men who scoff at the idea of Inspiration; they see no need of more Truth or of prophets, although they well know that the only Truth that has ever come has been through chosen servants of God. Even present Truth believers have not as yet fully awakened to this startling revelation, many of them are carried away with every wind of doctrine, much of which is created by impostors such as Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Num. 16:9-11) coveting Moses’ office – usurpers of Inspiration’s Throne – taking sides, one for Paul and another for Apollos, as it were! Inspiration’s eye focusing to this day and message, reveals that much of this self deception is the result of what the Spirit describes, a double face hypocrisy, saying: “Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.” Ezek. 33:30-33. We need to be doers of the Word not merely hearers.
Verses 12, 13, 15, 16 – “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,…and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.”
These are of course figurative expressions, referring to proud and self-sufficient men who in the people’s eyes are as the cedars of Lebanon, and as the oaks of Bashan.
Verses 17-20 – “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols He shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats.”
What idols are to be abolished? – Idols that walk. They are, therefore, men whom the people idolize. They, and those who idolize them will run into “the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth.” Only those that cast out the idols shall be spared. In these verses three kinds of idols are mentioned: (1) works of men’s hands, (2) men that are revered, (3) gold and the silver that are worshipped. These shall be abolished, there are to be idols no more.
They and their worshipers are;
Verse 21 – “To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”
If we do not now voluntarily cast out all our idols, we shall be forced to cast them later, but what good will it do us then?
Isa. 3:1 – “For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.”
The time is at hand when the sinners in Jerusalem and in Judah – the General Conference men and the church as a whole, will not have a drop to drink or a bite to eat. Who are among them?
Verses 2-4 – “The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. [Having taken away the men that have been exalting themselves, and thus having freed His people, the Lord puts children and babes, so to speak, humble ones to rule over His people.] And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.”
The signs of the times are to be recognized by the conditions revealed in
Verse 5 – “And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.”
Since these things are now taking place, we need not be ignorant of the fact that the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” is at hand. The unruly and disrespectful shall not survive the day.
Verse 6 – “When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand.”
To say “come and rule over us because you have clothing,” is perhaps equivalent to saying, “If you rule over us you can at least give us something to wear, and this ruin shall be under your control, you can remedy the situation.”
The people’s way of thinking and acting in this soon-coming time of trouble, ruin, and adversity of all kinds, clearly reveals that they are not taking God into consideration, – no, not at all. They are trusting in men and goods. They hope that someone can yet remedy the situation, can save them from ruin. Thus by their calling on men to help instead of calling on God, they are acting as if God has forsaken the earth.
Verse 7 – “In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.”
The one that is called to rule, also shares the people’s attitude. He declares that he is not able to heal the evil, that he, too, is poor. God, though, makes clear the cause of the trouble: Let us read
Verse 8 – “For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of His glory.”
Not the world, but Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen. Why? – Because their doings and their tongues are against the Lord; that is, they are against His Judgment Truth. What are the eyes of His glory? According to Isaiah 62:3 and 4:5, His glory is the ever-living Zion, His Truth- enlightened church. The depository of His revealed Truth is, therefore, His glory, His seers are His “eyes.” See 1 Samuel 9:9. That is, God’s Spirit-filled servants who lead into all Truth, are the eyes of His glory whom the sinners shamelessly provoke.
You know for a fact that there is not one who names himself a Christian that talks outright against God. What professed Christians really do, is say things against God’s revealed Truth, without realizing that they are talking and sinning against the “Holy Ghost,” and thus against God Himself, too.
Even some present Truth believers now and then drop a word of criticism, saying things by which to bolster their own reputation and down another’s or to win someone to their way of thinking at the expense of God’s cause! These kinds of sins are the most insidious. And the greater the ability of the one that is engaged in such practices, the greater the damage.
Are these tongues of ours not given to us to glorify God through His Truth, or are they given to us to use God’s revealed Truth in a way to exalt self, to get others to think our own way?
Perhaps most destructive of all are the unjust criticisms that are often spoken in the hearing of the children and youth, or in the presence of the inexperienced and uninformed. These are damages that can never be altered! Parents on the one hand work hard to save their children, and on the other hand by unwise conversation they drive them away from God and His Truth.
Verse 9 – “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.”
The sins that are committed, are not the kind that people as a rule do in secret, but rather the kind that people are proud of, for they hide them not, they sin openly and their shamelessness continues to witness against them. The very men who could have been a great help to Moses, were a great hindrance, creating trouble and discontent. Even the Lord Himself could not bring them to their senses so the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them all. (See Num. 16:26- 33; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 400-405.)
The time has come for us to get out of our childhood, to be stable men and women – fully grown in the faith. The time has come for us all to take “strong meat,” and to fully realize that the work we are doing would have gone into the “dumps” ere this, if it had to depend on human wisdom.
Verses 10-12 – “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. As for My people, children are their oppressors [rulers], and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”
God Himself cannot rule over the proud, self-important, and self-sufficient. But as to His people, even children and women rule over them. Thus they are now being warned that the proud who now rule over them are causing them to err, destroying God’s plan for them.
A certain brother said, “I hope the Lord will soon take the reins in His Own hands to deliver Israel.” Even after coming to the Red Sea, the multitude did not know that God had taken the reins in His Own hands. They, too, thought everything was in Moses’ hands. Though by miracle they passed through the Sea, and though they sang the song of deliverance, and understood that God’s hand had delivered them, yet soon after, they forgot, and again began to accuse and to condemn Moses for bringing them into the desert wastes. They bogged even at the borders of the promised land, and as a result had to spend forty years in the desert.
Even the manna coming down to earth daily could not convince the multitude that God had taken the reins in His Own hands. So it was that their carcases fell in the desert, but the children whom they thought would never reach their goal possessed the land (Num. 14:1-3, 27-32; 26:63-65).
There is a certain element whom even God Himself cannot convince that He has taken the reins in His Own hands. They never take orders from any but themselves. Such independent ones will continue to question and criticize everything in which they themselves have no part. So regardless of their profession, of what they think or say, they are not God’s people. His real people, He declares, are able to take orders even from women and children.
God’s people take orders from anyone whom God appoints because they walk in the light of the Lord, not in the sparks of men. He plainly states that those who now rule over them, are causing His people to err, and are destroying the way of their right path!
Verses 13, 14 – “The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of His people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.”
This scripture emphatically declares that the Lord is pleading while He stands to judge the people, showing that the Judgment of the Living begins after this announcement of it has sounded throughout Laodicea. The charge against the ancient and the princes (leaders and ministers) is that they have eaten up the vineyard, that they have consumed the entire income, and that they have robbed His people to enrich themselves. It is a known fact that not only the tithe (the only lawful allowance for the ministry) but also the offerings (the portion for the poor) and all else are consumed by the ministry, and that they have turned even the Sabbath and the house of worship into institutions of money raising, using all kinds of means and devices in the name of religion by which to make the poor poorer and themselves richer. Not I, but the Lord is the One Who says so. It is no exaggeration, therefore, to say that the house of God is become a house of merchandise, run by thieves, that the dwelling places of the ancients and the princes thereof are used as pack rat nests, and that the Sabbath day has been turned into a market day. “Who can truthfully say, ‘Our gold is tried in the fire; our garments are unspotted by the world’? I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments of so-called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement beneath. Then He said to me: ‘Can you not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of character?’ “How is the faithful city become an harlot?” My Father’s house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed! For this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking.’”–Testimonies, Vol. 8, pg. 250.
Seeing that nearly all are overcome by the Enemy of souls, we should, therefore, so much the more fear God and walk closer with Him, else we, too, fall into the Devil kidnapping bag. We should be careful and considerate shepherds, not cruel grafters.
You will find that the Devil will fight for life and violently contest this Judgment message, and will try to convince all that these prophecies will not be fulfilled. God’s true people, though, will see the importance of their fulfillment at this special time, and will gladly take what God’s Word’s says.
We are called to be reformers, not deformers, gatherers with God, not scatterers with Satan. Let’s be what we profess to be, and thus stand faultless before the Throne of God, without guile in our mouths and eventually without sinners in our midst.
Verse 15 – “What mean ye that ye beat My people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.”
What an awful charge for one to be taking advantage of the poor. It is too bad that our brethren have fallen down so low. And still worse it is that they do not pay any attention to these Heaven-sent messages, and rather than to welcome them, they are doing all to dodge them and to keep the laity away from coming in contact with them.
May their mistakes become our stepping stones to success. That where they grind the faces of the poor, may we make them happy, and may we realize that to receive one of the least of God’s people, is to receive God Himself. How thankful we ought to be for this great privilege.