OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
I shall read from The Mount of Blessing, beginning with the first paragraph on page 157.
M.B., pg. 157–”To hallow the name of the Lord requires that the words in which we speak of the Supreme Being be uttered with reverence. ‘Holy and reverend is His name.’ We are never in any manner to treat lightly the titles or appellations of the Deity.…
“But to hallow the name of the Lord means much more than this…. Of the church of Christ it is written, ‘This is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.’ This name is put upon every follower of Christ. It is the heritage of the child of God. The family are called after the Father. The prophet Jeremiah, in the time of Israel’s sore distress and tribulation, prayed, ‘We are called by Thy name; leave us not.’…
“In every act of life you are to make manifest the name of God. This petition calls upon you to possess His character. You can not hallow His name, you can not represent Him to the world, unless in life and character you represent the very life and character of God. This you can do only through the acceptance of the grace and righteousness of Christ.”
Realizing that God has acknowledged us before men and angels as His children, let us pray that we “may do no dishonor to ‘the worthy name by the which ye are called.’“ Let us pray that we be His true representatives.
This afternoon I am to answer the question: How do I know that I am not still a Laodicean, that I am now a true Davidian? In order intelligently to discuss this question, we must first have a mental picture of what Laodiceans are like, and what Davidians must be like. I shall read
Rev 3:14-18 – “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My Mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, 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 eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
What is wrong with the angel of Laodicea? – He is lukewarm. He is neither cold nor hot. The Lord recommends that he be either cold or hot, – uncomfortable, in search of something better rather than stay lukewarm, well contented with his spiritual attainments, supposedly rich and increased with goods (with Truth). Not knowing that he is spiritually poor, blind and naked, he is warned of it by the All Knowing One and asked to repent. If the Lord’s own warning fails to change his mind, then the only thing left for the Lord to do is to spue him out of His mouth.
By the words, “I am rich, and increased with goods,” the angel of Laodicea is saying that he has good understanding of the Bible and has the “Testimonies for the Church,” and that these make him rich. And that in addition to these, he has other denominational publications, his increase. He thus deceives himself that he has the whole truth to carry him right on through the Pearly Gates, that he needs nothing more. The Lord’s counsel, however, that he buy of Him gold that is tried in the fire so that he may be rich, unveils the fact that the Laodiceans’ riches are not “pure gold,” and that their so-called increase is not an increase of Truth, but worthless, uninspired interpretations not tried in the fire.
The angel of Laodicea is naked, too. He has not the wedding garment on he has not the righteousness of Christ. And his being naked, not having on any clothes, denotes that he has no righteousness save his own – the righteousness with which he was born – his bare skin. Moreover, he is spiritually blind. And that for his ailment the Lord’s eyesalve is the only remedy. If he would but take the Lord’s counsel and apply the salve to his ailing eyes, he could then see.
What is represented by the salve? First let us see what makes a man spiritually blind. The One Who knows even the number of hairs on our heads, points out that if the “light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matt. 6:23. If negligence of making proper use of spiritual light makes the offender blind, then something having power to arouse in him zeal to discover his true condition, is his only remedy. Only such an eyesalve can possibly open his eyes. Let me concretely illustrate:
Individuals often write to the office saying: “I heard so much against ‘The Shepherd’s Rod,’ and what I heard made me unmercifully prejudiced. But I happened to get hold of one of your little tracts,…and for courtesy’s sake, I thought I’d see what it is about. But as I read a few pages of it, and as my eyes began to open, I read the whole tract. I am now anxious to read the rest of your books. Will you please send me whatever reading matter you can?”
Another such Providential incident came to our attention from far-away China: “I picked up half of your booklet (Tract No. 13) on the street, and my wife a few days later picked up the other half beside the curb of the same drive. I pieced them together, and got your address. I am deeply interested in all it contains, and am anxiously waiting to hear from you. Could you tell me everything that will help me find my joy?”
These truth-searching brethren obviously represent those who can be pried out of their Laodiceanism. Their experiences well illustrate that the “salve” represents Inspiration’s timely Truth.
Now let me tell you of another class of individuals from whom I often hear. Listen to what they say: “Please keep your ‘Rod’ to yourself, take my name from your mailing list. I am not in the least interested in what you are doing. Your booklets go into the fire just as soon as they come. I never read them and I never will – no, not a line. I am satisfied [lukewarm] with my religion. I belong to the true remnant church and I expect to go with it. How dare you try to deceive me?”
Another says: “Please do not send me any more of your literature, as I am satisfied with my own views.”
This kind of talk is typically Laodicean. It perfectly expresses their lukewarmness. The Lord, though, is against their attitude. Is there anything which could more completely and more quickly sever one’s communication line with God forever than an attitude of having all the Truth and of having need of no more? If the language in the letters from which I have just read to you does not say, “I am rich, and in need of nothing more,” then what could say it?
This group of Laodiceans will never, never have their eyes opened, will never be anything but wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They can never be reached by Heaven, not even by the Lord Himself. If they thus continue, then the only thing Christ can do is to spue them out of His mouth, never again to mention their names at the Throne of Grace. Anything new from the Bible that is brought out by anyone but themselves, even though purported to be through Inspiration, they hastily brand “deception,” though they are already in a gross self deception. They read the Bible with the hope of finding proof by which to disagree with everyone but themselves.
Let me illustrate: I may be on the way to the bank with a million dollars, and I may seriously believe that I am a millionaire. But suppose the banker tells me, “Your money is counterfeit,” and suppose I have no other. Then how rich would I be? – I would be as rich as is the angel of Laodicea. Just such an eye-opening experience is what the Laodiceans need. Unless something like it happens to them, they will forever think that they are rich and in need of nothing more. Some say, though, not long hence, the heavenly Watcher Himself will demonstrate to them face to face that their gold is not tried in the fire. Then their eyes will be opened, but not soon enough to do them any good.
What they now see at a distance, appears to them for sure to be the “sea of glass.” But when they get to the end of the way, and take a close look, they will in indescribable grief and with quivering voice cry out “Mirage, mirage! Not the sea of glass!” Then will they be anxious to know the Truth; and will pay anything to get It, but it will be too late and they will, to change the figure, get to the door only to hear the Voice from within say, “I know you not.” Matt. 25:12.
By a person’s facial characteristics we are able to identify his race; and similarly we can judge one’s profession by the type of clothes he wears: If a person wears fine clothes and is not decked with everything he can put on, we judge him to be a business man. If he wears lower grade clothes and has on his body every trinket he can pin on, then we judge him to be a cheap sport. If he is clothed in overalls, we judge him to be a laborer. If he is dressed otherwise, we judge him to be a white-collar worker. But if he wears no clothes, then no one but God can tell what he is. Such is a Laodicean.
Now, if the white garment represents Christ’s righteousness, then if one has on no garment at all, is naked, then whose righteousness would he have? – self- righteousness, only the skin in which he was born. The Laodicean’s nakedness represents just that, but they know it not. In all respect, I realize this is saying much, but it is not saying too much, because it is the Lord Who says it.
He invites the Laodiceans to buy of Him gold, the kind that is tried in the fire (inspired Truth), so that they might be truly rich. He invites them to put on the wedding raiment, so that they be not cast into “outer darkness,” there to weep and to gnash their teeth. If they do not accept his invitation now – yes, now – their nakedness will be exposed and they thus put to shame.
If you do the opposite of what the Laodiceans do, then of course you cannot still be a Laodicean. And it is just as easy to know whether you are a Davidian or not. To find out if you are a Davidian, you must first know what a Davidian is. Well, briefly stated, a Davidian is recognized by his garment, by the source from which he gets it, and by what he gives in exchange for it. The prophet Zechariah explains:
Zech. 3:1-4 – “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”
The first one to be given the garment is Joshua, the high priest, the highest official in the church. If he has not the garment, then no one else has it either. From this we see that the genuine revival and reformation starts at the head, not at the feet, and that before one is given the right to put the garment on, his iniquity is taken away – he repents of his sins, and the Lord blots them out. Satan, though, is right there to resist and accuse him; but, thanks be to God that the Lord is also there to rebuke the enemy. Do you catch the lesson, Brother, Sister? While you are getting the garment you will have to meet strong opposition. But what of it? Is it too much to stand firmly for Truth and righteousness when the majority forsake? And how else shall you become a hero for God? (Read Matthew 5:10-12.)
The apostles and the prophets not only withstood opposition from their own brethren, but they even gladly died for their white garment. You, though, are not now asked to give up your life, but to save it. The “tables” are now reversed. The Lord will not permit you to be consumed by the flame. He is to rescue you as a “brand plucked out of the fire.”
From this we see that the Joshua of today is having his filthy garments exchanged for white robes, for the righteousness of Christ.
Verse 5 – “And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.”
Not only is he clothed in a white garment, but he is also crowned with a fair mitre. And what could such a mitre denote other than the authority vested in him as Heaven’s appointed ruler? As such he is clothed from his head to his feet,” and the angel of the Lord stood by.” What a gift! and what a bodyguard for one to have in a world such as ours! In spite of it, though, human beings are very slow and hesitant to take their stand on the Lord’s side. Most of them had rather lean on a man.
Verse 8 – “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My servant the Branch.”
Not only Joshua, but also those who sit before him (the congregation) are admonished to hear this charge. And what kind of men are they? – Men wondered at. This symbolism shows that at the fulfillment of this prophecy the angel of the church of the Laodiceans is no longer in charge of the Lord’s house, and that God’s people are to be made up wholly of men wondered at!
Obviously, then, as a result of this revival and reformation within the Laodicean church, another church emerges of which Joshua is in charge, not the angel of Laodicea. In it there are to be neither “tares” (Matt. 13:30), “bad fish” (Matt. 13:47, 48), or “goats” (Matt. 25:32). The Laodicean, the seventh, is the last that is commingled with hypocrites, saints and sinners.
Who is to bring this revival and reformation, this great change? – The BRANCH. And according to Isaiah 11:1 to 5, the Branch is the Lord, the Son of David. We shall now read-
Verse 9 – “For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”
Those who sit before Joshua are “men wondered at.” As such they are depicted by the “stone” (church, or Kingdom) that is in Joshua’s sight. It has seven eye-perfect vision. When this purification of the church takes place then the sin in the land is quickly removed – “in one day.”
Here is seen genuine revival and reformation accompanied by the purification of the church. The Lord is to have a pure church and a clean people.
Verse 10 – “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.”
“In that day,” in the day this purification takes place, the gospel work is to be quickly finished by having every member of the Lord’s house call his neighbor to his own patch of land, to that which God has pre-ordained that everyone should have. Every member, therefore, is to be a missionary in one capacity or in another. This indeed is the layman’s movement that shall finish the gospel work.
The statement, “Call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree,” appears also in Micah 4. It teaches the same thing that Zechariah teaches.
This subject, however, does not stop with Zechariah three, it continues on.
Zech. 6:11 – “Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest.”
The angel is commanded to take silver and gold, and to make crowns – not one, but more than one. These are set upon Joshua’s head.
Verse 14 – “And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.”
Verse 14 reveals that Joshua is to pass the crowns on to his helpers whom the Lord Himself names. This is to be a memorial, an everlasting reminder in the temple of the Lord.
What can all this mean? – Just this: Joshua is Heaven’s appointed judge, ruler. He himself is crowned as such. And in response to the Lord’s Own command, Joshua crowns (authorizes) his helpers whom the Lord Himself names. In other words, as members of “the house of David,” Joshua authorizes them to engage in the work. So, Joshua is responsible to the Lord, but his helpers are responsible to Joshua. Here is seen an organization having a Leader and an under leader – the Lord and Joshua. Thus it is that whatever is to be bound on earth, is also to be bound in Heaven (Matt. 16:19.)
As concretely as Heaven can make it, this symbolism depicts that God’s people in this final work are not to labor at cross purposes. All are to speak the same thing. So it is that His “Watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” Isa. 52:8. Then His people shall be called “The Holy people, The redeemed of the Lord,” “Sought out, A city not forsaken” (Isa. 62:12).
Verse 12 – “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord.”
Joshua is well instructed that the burden and the ingenuity for building this spiritual temple, belongs to Him Whose name is “the BRANCH.” He is to grow out of His place. To Him be the glory. He alone is to be exalted. He is to build the temple of the Lord.
Verse 13, 15 – “Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both…. And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
Thus shall the prophecies of Isaiah, chapters two and four, also the fourth chapter of Micah be fulfilled.
Finally, how do we know for certain that this message was planned and recorded especially for the church of today? – We know it from the fact that the revelation of these scriptures is now, never before, unveiled and proclaimed. Now its proclamation makes known that the Lord “is taking the reins in His Own hands” (Testimonies to Ministers, pg. 300); that the time of the purification of the church (the Judgment of the Living in the house of God – 1 Pet. 4:17) is at hand (Testimonies, Vol. 5, pg. 80); that the purified ones, the 144,000 (the wheat) – Rev. 14:1 are to be put in the barn (Matt. 13:30), no longer to be commingled with the tares; that an innumerable multitude from all nations (Rev. 7:9), are to be brought to the house of the Lord (Isa. 66:19, 20).
You, yourself, can now answer the question as to whether you are a Davidian or still a Laodicean. If you are satisfied with yourself, with your spiritual attainments, with your man-made gospel program; if you think that the Lord is speaking to you by whatever happens to “click” in your mind; if you think you have all the Truth, and that you have need of nothing more; if you think that everyone who does not have your stamp of approval on his belief, is a false prophet; and if you are in constant fear that someone is everlastingly trying to deceive you because he teaches something new; if you never give it a thought that you may be slamming your door against a Truth-bearer who may be bringing to you the Lord’s “eyesalve,” and the “wedding garment” – if you do all these or any part of them, then you must be as good a Laodicean as you can possibly be, not a Davidian.
But if you are aware that your garments are filthy, and your iniquity not blotted out; if you realize that you are to walk in God’s ways as He directs through the Joshua of today, if you are all for God and not at all for self or for the world, then, of course, you either are, or are beginning to be, a Davidian. If you have not attained to all of these, you should see that you do; and if you already have, then keep advancing in the light, and for certain you shall finally stand on Mt. Zion with the Lamb.
Now take the counsel of the Lord, and no longer be like a piece of bark drifting in the sea with every wind of doctrine.
“…The people of God are represented in the message to the Laodiceans as in a position of carnal security. They are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments….
“What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right, when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and his testimony must be correct.” – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 252, 253.
We have no right to judge a man
Until he’s fairly tried;
Should we not like his company,
We know the world is wide.
Some may have faults – and who has not?
The old as well as young;
Perhaps we may, for aught we know,
Have fifty to their one.
Trust And Obey
When we walk with the Lord
in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief nor a loss,
not a frown nor a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove
the delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay,
For the favor He shows,
and the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.