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Book No. 3
Now "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man
that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." 1 Pet. 3:15.
Question No. 48:---Does the word "cleansing" spoken of in Daniel 8:14 refer to a cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary? If so, what polluted it?
Answer:---Though the sanctuary in heaven and the one on earth are in two different locations, yet the one necessarily involves the other, for both deal with the same sins and sinners. Hence, for one sanctuary to become polluted will as a consequence affect the other. For instance, if some of the members of the church on earth should backslide after once being converted (as did Achan, King Saul, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira, and many others whose names were once written in the Book of Life but who though failing to continue in the faith became unworthy of life eternal), they would of course at the same time pollute both sanctuaries. The earthly they pollute by their actual deeds and influence; the heavenly, by having their unworthy names in its books; for while the earthly sanctuary harbors the people, the heavenly houses their records.
So while there is need of cleansing the earthly sanctuary from backsliders and hypocrites, there is need of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary from the sinners' names in its books. And the proper term for such a work is Investigative Judgment--the work portrayed in Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 7:9, 10) and in Christ's parables of the harvest, net, talents, wedding garment, and the goats and the sheep.
However, as the Bible plainly teaches that this special work takes place only once during probationary time (Heb. 9:26), it follows that the records of those who have died throughout the centuries will be the first to pass in review before God, the Great Judge (Dan. 7:9, 10). After these have been examined, then the examination of the records of the living will begin. And as we are told that there are two classes of people in the church ("wheat" and "tares"--Matt. 13:30), it is evident that the Investigative Judgment ("harvest") of the dead affects only the heavenly sanctuary. This is doubly evident when it is remembered that "the dead know not anything" (Eccles. 9:5) but are lying unconscious while waiting in their graves for the resurrection day. But when the Judgment ("harvest") of the living shall begin, then of necessity the sanctuary on earth will be cleansed from the hypocrites, and the sanctuary in heaven from their names in its records. Both sanctuaries are therefore affected. The cleansing of the earthly is further borne out by Malachi's prophecy:
"Behold I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's sope: 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." Mal. 3 :1-3.
Furthermore, the treading under foot of both the sanctuary and the host, and the casting "down the truth to the ground," projected in Daniel 8:12, must also be considered. By substituting a pagan priesthood for the priesthood of Christ, and unconverted pagans for the host of God, also by introducing a pagan festal day in place of God's Sabbath, not only both the heavenly and the earthly sanctuaries but also the doctrines were polluted. So while the two sanctuaries are being cleansed from sinners, Bible Truth is being winnowed from man's theories and ideas.
WHEN DOES THE DAY BEGIN?
Question No. 49:---When does the twenty-four-hour day begin--at sunset, at sunrise, or at midnight?
Answer:---The twenty-four-hour cycle begins at sunset, because at the moment the earth came into existence and began to rotate on its axis, there was no light "upon the face of the deep," whereupon "God said, Let there be light: and there was light....And the evening and the morning were the first day." Gen. 1:2, 3, 5.
The "light" which shone on the first day, and by which God divided the day from the night (set the earth revolving on its axis), was not, however, that of the sun, for the sun and the moon were not created until the fourth day, when He spoke them forth "to rule over the day and over the night" (Gen. 1:18), which He had beforehand established.
Thus it was that whereas the earth began punctuating eternal time with the first night of creation week, from which the weekly seventh-day Sabbath is measured; the moon began punctuating time at the end of the third day and at the beginning of the fourth night from which the month is measured; and the sun began to punctuate time at the end of the fourth night and the beginning of the fourth day, from which the year is measured. Accordingly, the time-span which measures and segments the week, is three days in advance of the time-spans which measure and segment the solar year and the lunar month. In order, therefore, that His people might commemorate the week of creation, from the instant that the span of earthly time began, God commanded: "From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." Lev. 23 :32.
So the twenty-four-hour day begins with the night, at sunset; and the daytime itself, separate from the nighttime, begins at sunrise.
WHEN DOES THE HEBREW YEAR BEGIN?
Question No. 50:---Can you tell us the Hebrew New Year's day, and the days of their sacred feasts, in terms of our Roman calendar?
Answer:---While leading the Hebrew host from bondage to freedom, the Lord was firmly establishing them in the truth of all things, including the truth of the day on which the year begins, of the day on which the month begins, and of the day on which the week begins. Obviously, the Hebrew religion had largely to do with the days of the week, of the month, and of the year.
The Hebrews were forever to keep holy, (1) not a seventh, but the seventh, day of each week, the Sabbath; (2) the days from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of the first month, the Passover week; (3) the fiftieth day after the sheaf of the first fruits was offered, the Pentecost; (4) the tenth day of the seventh month, the Atonement; (5) the days from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of the same month, the Feast of Tabernacles; and (6) the feasts of the new moons. Thus the All-knowing One, He who created the heavenly bodies and knows the very moment He set them in motion to govern the day, the month, and the year, decreed that the holy feasts be observed in the very month and on the very day on which they were first ordained.
And He appointed the "lights in the firmament... for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen. 1:14), by the movements of which He fixed each solar and each lunar date, so that it could never be lost sight of. Then to make doubly secure against such a loss. He "spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." Ex. 12:1, 2.
Thus we see that His great and never erring timepiece for earth, the earth's own invariable movements, fix the day and the year; whereas the moon's revolving round the earth makes the months.
But the Roman New Year, January 1, finds its establishment, not in the movements of the solar system, but in the notions of mythology. Consequently, as the date does not coincide with either the vernal or the autumnal equinox, or with either the summer or the winter solstice, then should earth's inhabitants ever lose count of the day, and need to recover it, they would be helpless to do so.
To prevent His people from bringing upon themselves such a catastrophe, and to have them intelligent as to the time the year begins, the Lord gave to Moses the sacred yearly calendar, which cannot be lost or miscalculated so long as the earth remains. He told him that the day which preceded the exodus was the fourteenth day of the first month; and that forever thereafter, they were to commemorate the Passover on that very night each year, the night following the fourteenth day. Thus was the Lord re-establishing the creation calendar, reaffirming that the year begins on the day of the vernal equinox, on which spring, the first season of the year, commences, and on which the sun and the moon were created (the fourth day from the beginning of creation)--the only point in time at which, in the very nature of things, the year could begin. And so it is that the Passover, the Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles (the three most important feasts in the year), besides other feasts, are controlled by the solar year and by the lunar month; the weekly Sabbath by the day on which creation began; and the year itself by the vernal equinox, the immovable sign-post.
Beginning its first month of the year with the first new moon, at, or after, the vernal equinox, March 20-21, it puts the fourteenth day, that on which the Passover lamb was to be slain, on April 3. Once for all, is seen the utter impossibility of the Roman month's having the slightest thing to do with fixing the time of either the Passover or the sheaf offering, and thus not the slightest thing to do with reckoning the time of either the crucifixion or the resurrection of Christ.
This is more graphically seen from the correspondence of the sacred events which came in the spring of the year A.D. 31, the year Christ was crucified, with the sacred events which came in the fall of the year A.D. 27, the year in which He was baptized, as viewed diagrammatically:
This chart enables us to see that just as one solar season matches another (the vernal equinox matches the autumnal equinox, and the summer solstice, the winter solstice), in like fashion the sacred feasts of one season match the sacred feasts of another season: the tenth day of the first month, the separation of the unblemished lamb from the flock (Ex. 12:3), corresponding to the tenth day of the seventh month, the work of Atonement, the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous, signifying in both events a day of judgment, a day of separating the holy from the unholy; the sixteenth of the first month, the day Christ was crucified, corresponding to the sixteenth of the seventh month, the day He was baptized, showing that His watery grave foreshadowed His grave in the tomb; the eighteenth day of the first month, the resurrection, corresponding to the eighteenth day of the seventh month, the first day of the wilderness temptation; His forty days of victorious ministry to His disciples, corresponding to His forty days of victorious conflict with Satan; and His disciples' preaching the gospel after the Pentecost, corresponding to His preaching the gospel after the wilderness temptation.
To establish the date of His baptism as the sixteenth day of the seventh month, we need only to consider, aside from the coincidences the fact that the "more sure word of prophecy' certifies that He was to preach three and a half years, and then be "cut off." Dan. 9:26. And as He was crucified on the sixteenth of the first month, he must have been baptized for the ministry just three and a half years before, on the sixteenth day of the seventh month.
WERE THE PASSOVER AND THE BURIAL ON THE SAME DAY?
Question No. 51:---Of late, numerous efforts have been made to fix the particular days of the week on which the trials crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus took place; also the length of time He was standing trial hanging on the cross, and lying in the tomb. The points brought as proof on the subject are confusing to me. Can you clear it? And did Jesus eat the Passover on the very day the Jews did, or beforehand?
Answer:---Regardless how wrapped in mystery the Gospel writers may seem to have left this subject, one sequence of facts is clearly given and stands out distinctly; namely, the hours at which the main events took place.
All the Gospels testify that Jesus was seized the same night He ate the Passover with His disciples (Matt. 26 34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34). John states that immediately thereafter He was "led...away to Annas" (John 18:13), and Mark discloses that later that night He was brought before "the chief priests and all the council." Mark 14:54, 55. "And as soon as it was day," as all the accounts agree, He was arraigned finally before the Sanhedrin.
To make the trial legal, the court could not (by Jewish law) convene before sunrise, the twelfth hour, ancient time. To be exact, the time of the trial could not have been earlier than 11:50 A.M. ancient time (5:50 A.M. modern time), for the Passover week was observed from the fourteenth to the twenty-first day of the first month of the Hebrew year beginning with the vernal equinox (March 20-21), the time of the year when the day and the night are equal.
Subsequently, as all the Gospel writers show, He was taken to the Roman judgment hall, where, according to John's testimony, He was tried before Pilate at "about the sixth hour." John 19:14. And Mark records that He was crucified at "the third hour" (Mark 15:25), while Matthew and Luke, along with Mark, testify that as He hung on the cross, darkness covered the earth from the sixth to the ninth hour (Matt. 27:45 Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). Finally, all join in concluding witness that He was buried just before the twelfth hour, sunset--before the Sabbath drew on (Matt. 27:57-62; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:54-56).
The accompanying chart represents a forty-eight-hour period. On it every hour is designated, and the reference for each event is given opposite the hour in which the event took place. The outer figures of the chart represent the ancient timepiece; the inner figures represent the modern timepiece. The shaded pans show the hours of the nights involved, also the darkness which occurred while Christ was hanging on the cross.
Were one to conclude that the events in connection with Christ's passion,--His seizure, trials, crucifixion, and burial,--took place in one day, then, as can be clearly seen from the chart, there would be no "sixth hour" for the trial in Pilate's judgment hall; indeed, there would then be no time at all allowed for the trials before the Roman Judiciary--Pilate and Herod!
And to assume that Luke 22:7-14 records only a Passover substitute--that Jesus and His disciples celebrated a passover before the day arrived--is to take a position at variance with the "law" as well as with the "testimony" of the prophets and the apostles (Isa. 8:20). And had such been the fact, the Jews who were desperately anxious to hang on Christ some act of lawlessness, would have made much of it, and as a result the apostles would have written about it.
To satisfy the immutable demand of the "law," the lamb had to be slain in the afternoon of the fourteenth day of the first month (Num. 28:16), and the feast had to be celebrated on the fifteenth (Num. 28:17), the night following the fourteenth day (Ex. 12: 8). In conclusive corroboration of this fact the Spirit of Prophecy emphatically states: "On the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which, for fifteen long centuries, the Passover lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover with His disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate His own death as 'the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.'"--The Great Controversy, p. 399.
While the Passover week was regulated by the month, the day upon which the sheaf was to be offered (the type of the resurrection--1 Cor. 15:20; The Desire of Ages, p. 786) was regulated by the week. And according to Lev. 23:3, 11, the sheaf was to be offered on the day following the seventh-day Sabbath, for the Sabbath of verse 11, is the Sabbath of verse 3--the one in connection with which Moses introduces the subject of the feasts.
The Scriptures, moreover, never call a feast day "the Sabbath," but always "a sabbath" or "sabbaths." (See Lev. 23:24.)
(For extensive treatment of the subject of the days of the Passover week, and of the "three-days-and-three-nights" period--Matt. 12:39 40--see Tract No. 10, The Sign of Jonah.)
HAS THE WORK OF THE SHEPHERD'S ROD A TYPE?
Question No. 52:---If "The Shepherd's Rod" is correct that "where there is no type, there is no truth," then where, may one ask, is the type of the work of the "Rod," itself?
Answer:---In the Old Testament is brought to view a religious Movement which is an "ensample," or type, of a counterpart in the New Testament. And just as God yesterday organized and led the one to emancipate His people from a cruel bondage to heathen masters, so also will He do with the other today. Likewise as He instructed the one, so will He instruct the other as to how to expect to be liberated and established in the land of their inheritance, the kingdom of freedom, peace, and plenty. In assurance of this, He declares: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10:11. And "there shall be an highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria, Like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt." Isa. 11:16.
These scriptures plainly show that the Exodus Movement of old led by Moses through his shepherd's rod, from Egypt to Canaan, points forward in type to the final deliverance of God's people from their long servitude to the kingdom of this world, to freedom in the kingdom of God. Accordingly this final and latter day Exodus Movement is to be led by the antitypical Shepherd's Rod, and liberated from all earthly bonds--from sin and from sinners.
But let it be remembered that the Exodus Movement, the type, was in two sections, the first section being led by Moses, and the second by Joshua, and that it was the last, the purified, section (that which grew up after the forty years' wilderness wandering, and after all but two who were over twenty years of age when they left Egypt, had died) that possessed the land.
The Movement led by the Rod today is the only Movement in Christendom fitting the type--the Israel of Joshua's day: like it, drawing its followers only from the parent Movement, and having as its threefold objective the deliverance of God's people from bondage, the possession of the land and the establishment of the kingdom. And just as the purified Israel of Joshua's day, the generation which survived the forty-year wilderness wanderings, inherited first the final leadership of the typical Exodus Movement, and then the land of promise, so the purified Israel today (the 144,000), the ones who survive the forty-year period of wandering from 1890-1930, and who escape the slaughter of Ezekiel 9, are to be promoted to the final leadership of the antitypical Exodus Movement, then to inherit "the promised land," and to be citizens in the everlasting Kingdom.
Thus we see that it was not until after the murmurers were eliminated, in the ensample, that Joshua took over, and led the Exodus Movement in the land of Canaan. Accordingly, in the antitype the period before the Rod came the Laodicean period, is the one in which are to be found the typical wanderings, doubtings, and murmurings, both against the founder and the dietetic principles ("health reform") of the Movement, and the consequent curses and slaughter.
The immediate result of these murmurings complainings, and doubtings today has been to blind the eyes of many in the Advent Movement, causing them to turn back from following Christ their Leader, and steadily to retreat "toward Egypt."--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217. Consequently, in another tragic parallel, just as Moses wrote the sad experience of the type so the founder of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination wrote the even sadder experience of the antitype, declaring as far back as 1888: "Many had lost sight of Jesus;" and "Doubt and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere."--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217.
In other words, just as unbelief on the part of ancient Israel sent them back to wander in the desert until all the guilty had perished so in like manner unbelief in the message of Righteousness by Faith proclaimed at the Minneapolis Conference sent the Seventh-day Adventist denomination into a forty-year wilderness wandering, until 1930, with the arrival of the message, at the voice of which each must either do God's bidding or die as did Achan and his household. May God grant that the Israel of today, the children of those who have repeated the history of Israel of old Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 160), be admonished by the mistakes of their fathers, and heed the call of the Eleventh Hour.
This solemn typology reveals yet other significant parallels: just as the Exodus Movement was bereft of their visible leader a short time before it entered the land of Canaan, so also was the Advent Movement bereft of its visible leader as it neared the borders of the Kingdom; and just as Joshua was called then to guide the feet of God's weary pilgrims to their homeland, just so must another arise at this time in fulfillment of the type, to lead home the feet of God's saints today.
"By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved." Hos. 12:13.
"Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say: '...you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way.'"--Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 475, 476.
In all the annals of church history since the Exodus Movement, the Rod message is the only one which calls for just such a Movement, and which exactly fits the type. (See Tract No. 8, Mount Sion at the Eleventh Hour, and Tract No. 9, Behold I Create All Things New).
Unmistakably, therefore, the clear light shedding forth from type, from testimonies of the prophets, and from history, identify the message of the Rod as the only one ordained to lead the latter day church, freed from sin and sinners, into the land of promise, when "the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24. "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed." Dan. 2:44. That day has come, and the Rod of God is here to effect that "great reformatory movement among God's people"- -(Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 126), to give "power and force to the Third Angel's Message"-- (Early Writings, p. 277), so that, "clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church ...'fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,'" may "go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer."--Prophets and Kings, p. 725.
"Hear ye the Rod, and Who hath appointed it." Mic. 6:9.
THE FOUR WINDS--WHAT ARE THEY?
Question No. 53:---"Testimonies to Ministers," p. 444, states: John sees the elements of nature--earthquake, tempest, and political strife--represented as being held by four angels." But Tract No. 8, "Mt. Sion at the Eleventh Hour," p. 22, says: "As the nations have always been at war, this twofold work of hurting could not represent political strife." How are these contradictory statements reconciled?
Answer:---We are confident that if the questioner will carefully restudy Testimonies to Ministers p. 444, he will see that it is endeavoring to show that the Divine object in holding back the winds, is, as the passage plainly says, "the safety of God's church." That being the case, then the winds, themselves being figurative of strife, trouble, and war, are, when let loose, to blow against the church. This is very evident because their being held from John's day until this very hour, has never prevented and is not now preventing the nations' warring among themselves. Always have they been at war with one another, and today they are engaged in a deadly world-wide conflict unparalleled in all history, although the angels are still holding the winds. Of necessity, therefore, the strife represented by the blowing of the winds, must be essentially religious in aim, and political only in procedure, thus religious-political, as stated in Tract No. 12, The World Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, pp. 38, 65, and in The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 114. This conclusion is borne out in the following passage:
"The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast. We came near having this realized in California a short time since; but this was only the threatening of the blowing of the four winds. As yet they are held by the four angels. We are not just ready. There is a work yet to be done, and then the angels will be bidden to let go, that the four winds may blow upon the earth. That will be a decisive time for God's children,--a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation."--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 152.
The tract, in its particular statement in question, is stressing only the religious aspect of the trouble, in the endeavor to show that the trouble is not political in aim,--not to conquer territory, but to build up international religion in order to compel the world to worship the image of the beast.
In this clear light, we see that both Testimonies to Ministers and The Shepherd's Rod series are endeavoring to show that the strife is neither purely political nor purely religious, but religious-political. It is the church and state allied in common action.
144,000 OR A GREAT MULTITUDE?
Question No. 54:---How can the great multitude (Rev. 7:9) possibly be the complement of the 144,000 in making up the living saints?
Answer:---Notwithstanding the fact that "in the closing work" for the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, only 144,000 are to be sealed, according to Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266, yet at the start of the year 1944, the Denomination already numbered its members well beyond the half million mark, whereas the patches of territory which it has under gospel cultivation, in comparison to the vast fields of humanity which it has not even touched, amounts to but a very small corner. So, relatively speaking, there are millions upon millions who have never heard even so much as the name "Adventists."
Should the Denomination's present rate of growth continue until the Advent Message has been preached in all the world, its membership would be of multiplied proportions when Christ comes. Indeed, since there is not the slightest probability of decline in the present growth rate, but every probability of increase (as the laity are told from the pulpit from Sabbath to Sabbath), it is certain that should the Denomination, at its present rate of growth, continue on to the second coming of Christ, it would by the number millions. And were there only 144,000 to be translated, then the millions of Seventh-day Adventists alive at the close of probation would, tragedy to tell, have to perish either in "the seven last plagues" or at "the brightness of His coming"! And if "the closing work for the church" means that out of these millions of members only 144,000 saints are indeed to be translated, then what slim chance any particular member stands of ever being saved! And furthermore, in that event, with such overwhelming odds against their being saved, what justification could there possibly be in continuing to bring in more and more converts to swell the church membership? Such were nothing less than a great treachery--wrapping them for perdition in a tinseled hope of salvation!
As it is contrary to God's desire and effort (Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 371) to bring into the church those who are not saved (tares), then the dominant teaching that there are to be only 144,000 living saints when Christ comes to gather all His own, is nothing short of an admission that the Denomination's rapid increase of membership is the work of the Enemy!
In The Signs of the Times, May 3, 1927, there appeared an article entitled, "The 144,000, Their Triumph and Reward." In this article, which was written three years before The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 1, was published, the Denomination taught that the 144,00, the first fruits of the living saints, are to be sealed first, and are in turn to bring in the second fruits, "the great multitude" (Rev. 7:9) of living saints.
In shifting from this position, in an attempt to refute the message of the hour, The Shepherd's Rod, they have automatically pitched themselves on the horns of a dilemma: on one hand giving the lie to their 1927 teaching, and on the other hand giving a false hope of salvation to the members of the church!
Hence the question should not be as to how the great multitude can possibly be the complement of the 144,000, but rather as to how they can possibly not be.
SHALL WE BELIEVE OR SHALL WE DOUBT?
Question No. 55:---It is difficult for me to go all-out for any Bible interpretation for which claim is made to Inspiration. Does not one's making such claim bring into jeopardy the entire structure of his message, opening the way for it to be summarily swept away through any one error it may happen to contain?
Answer:---The questioner's difficulty stems from the hard fact that the Protestant world has long held the concept that God does not in this age employ an inspired mouthpiece to interpret the Scriptures and to declare His will but invests and leads each Christian individually. This theory, however, is universally exploded when viewed in the light of the fact that those individuals claiming to be personally led of God, disagree among themselves just as much as the various sects disagree one with another.
Before taking His departure, the Saviour declared: "When...the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come." John 16:13. Without controversy therefore, the Divine will is that we have all Truth and only Truth. And it must be remembered 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.
Indeed, the very word, Inspiration, in its theological significance, means to communicate Divine instructions free from men's adulteration. Hence, any objection to Inspiration, can only, in the last analysis, be an attempt to put God out of sight and to bring men to the front, to cut off the only channel through which God can interpret the Scriptures, communicate with His people--"reveal truth and unmask error."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 107. "The Lord has often made manifest in His providence," says the Spirit of Prophecy, "that nothing less than revealed truth, the word of God, can reclaim man from sin or keep him from transgression."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 80.
So, very plainly, the Word of God cannot be rightly interpreted privately--without the aid of Inspiration (2 Pet. 1:20, 21). Any who thus attempt to interpret the messages which the Lord sends to them, will find themselves serving Satan instead of serving Christ, and will surely cause both themselves and their followers to make shipwreck of faith.
To safeguard the faith of the honest, the Lord figuratively demonstrates in the fourth chapter of Zechariah, the method by which He communicates truth to His people. The accompanying plate is an exact objectification of what the prophet was shown.
Here it is seen that the candlestick, as interpreted by Revelation 1:20, is symbolical of the church membership; the tubes extending from the golden bowl to the candlestick, are symbolical of the ministry (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 188); the olive trees are symbolical of the Old and New Testament Scriptures (The Great Controversy, p. 267); and the two golden pipes, which carry the golden oil from the trees to the bowl, are symbolical of the Bible interpreters, the inspired messengers from God, for the symbolism immovably shows that they are the only ones whom Inspiration enables to draw the oil from the olive trees--to interpret the Scriptures. And the bowl, the container of that which the pipes (interpreters) place therein, can be only the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy.
As a necessary and natural sequent, God will have but one mouthpiece to teach His people in the establishing of His Kingdom, as He prophetically tells us in unmistakable language: "And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing." Ezek. 34:23-26. "The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the Rod, and Who hath appointed it." "Feed thy people with thy Rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvelous things." Mic. 6:9; 7:14, 15.
For the message in The Shepherd's Rod, we simply give the credit to Whom it belongs. And if there be any who desire us to give it to ourselves, they do so, not because they love us or want to exalt us above themselves, but evidently because they are unwittingly echoing the voice from beneath, which hates God and the revelation of His Word, and which ever speaks only to tempt men to exalt themselves instead of God, thereby blindly deceiving themselves and leading others away from the truth, all because they chafe at bringing themselves under the rule of Christ now when "He is taking the reins in His own hands."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300.
Let those who resist giving full submission to Inspiration, ask themselves what they would have done had they lived under Moses and his rod. He acknowledged himself to be the mouthpiece of God just as today's Rod does. As a consequence, would not these recusants have risen up with Korah against Moses and Aaron, just as they are doing now against the Rod, saying: "Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?" Num. 16:3.
If such are not willing whole-heartedly to accept an Inspired message today, would they have accepted the Baptist's message, Christ's or the apostles'? No, indeed not, regardless of their profession. And if they will not submit themselves to Inspiration, how will they ever know the truth? And how will they ever get into the Kingdom? For the Bible says:
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." "By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by prophets was he preserved." "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper." Amos 3:7; Hos. 12:13; 2 Chron. 20:20.
"And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house." Ezek. 3 :26, 27.
It is the ideas of uninspired men that have chopped the Christian church into chips of all kinds and sizes, and have made her a "habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird" (Rev. 18:2), instead of making her a place of truth and of salvation, and a habitation of saints.
Let all who share the questioner's sentiments, take pause, and ponder the question: How can an uninspired message be from God--be the truth--be worthy of acceptance? Obviously, disapproval of one's claiming Inspiration for his message, and suspicion of its having in it a taint of error, is not suggested by Him who says: "Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." 1 Thess. 5:19-21.
"As never before, we should pray not only that laborers may be sent forth into the great harvest-field, but that we may have a clear conception of truth, so that when the messengers of truth shall come.
In Christ's day, the Inspiration-doubters assailed both the messengers and their messages for that time. On one hand they found fault with John the Baptist because his diet consisted of wild honey and locusts (Matt. 3:4). Because he "came neither eating nor drinking,...they say, He hath a devil." Matt. 11:18. On the other hand, because Christ "came eating and drinking," they accused Him of being "a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners" Matt. 11:19. Denying that He was sent of God, they tauntingly asked Him: "By what authority doest Thou these things? or who is He that gave Thee this authority?" Luke 20:2.
And now to His church in these last days, His Spirit declares: "Prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says: 'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.' Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say: 'You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message.'"--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 475.
To the doubters of the possibility of a message containing nothing but truth, comes the warning: "God and Satan never work in co-partnership. The testimonies either bear the signet of God or that of Satan. A good tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit....”--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 98. “We believe the visions,” say the Inspiration- doubters, “but Sister White, in writing them, put in her own words, and we will believe that portion which we think is of God, and will not heed the other.”--Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 234.
"Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." Luke 24:25. "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Rev. 22:19.
Symbolically addressing His people as sheep and shepherds, in the thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel, the Lord asks: "Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?" Do they indeed think it tolerable to accept only a part of the truth He sends to them, and to tread down with their feet the residue? Then He adds, "As for My flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet."
And because of those who accept only that part of the message which suits their unregenerate tastes, which does not cross their perverse wills, the Lord forewarns: "I will judge between cattle and cattle."
Among God's people, there has always been a class disposed to question and to criticize everything in the "unfolding of truth."--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 690. "We accept this and that," they say, "but we will not accept the other." Most of them think it a mark of intelligence to question and to criticize, to judge the message which God has sent them. These self-centered souls are so foolish and so blind to their folly that even though fifty centuries and more of human tragedy terribly reprove and warn against their evil and soul-destroying course, yet they remain deaf to the cry and blind to their way. And what is even worse their doubts and criticisms have scattered weak souls from Christ, with the consequence that God has pronounced the judgment: "Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; therefore will I save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle." Ezek. 34:21, 22.
Be warned, therefore, that "as the disciples declared that there is salvation in no other name under heaven, given among men, so, also should the servants of God faithfully and fearlessly warn those who embrace but a part of the truths connected with the third message, that they must gladly receive all the messages as God has given them, or have no part in the matter."--Early Writings, pp. 188, 189.
"'Satan has ability to suggest doubts and to devise objections to the pointed testimony that God sends, and many think it a virtue, a mark of intelligence in them, to be unbelieving, and to question and quibble. Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit; and all should decide from the weight of evidence.' 'God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding, will be left in the cold chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith.'"--Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 675, 676.
Not one dares compare his prerogatives with those of Jesus, yet He believed all the writings of the prophets, and those who consider themselves too wise, and think it too humiliating, to believe all, He calls "fools." Luke 24:25. They have made themselves incapable of comprehending these facts now as the Jews made themselves incapable of comprehending Jesus' teachings concerning the "kingdom" then.
Every age has had its multitude who, instead of being baptized to follow Christ and His Truth, were baptized to follow man. They joined the multitude in the church instead of the multitude in heaven. Consequently, Christ is a stranger to them, and when truth unfolds, they call it error, then follow men and reject the truth. This folly has been repeated again and again, with the result that the few faithful ones who have followed Christ and His truth, have been cast out of the churches and compelled to start all over again. So it is today. But to these outcasts of Zion, comes the solacing voice: "Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed." Isa. 66:5. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isa. 52:7.
"Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper." 2 Chron. 20:20.
WILL ALL COME TO THE TIME OF THE PLAGUES?
Question No. 56:---If the church is to be purified before the close of probation for the world and remain pure thereafter without any sinners in it, as "The Shepherd's Rod" teaches, then how do you harmonize this with "Early Writings," p. 71, which says: Some "will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building"?
Answer:---There are other statements from the author of Early Writings, which bear even more positive evidence that God will, before that time, have a church pure and true. (See The Great Controversy p. 425; Prophets and Kings, p. 725; Testimonies Vol. 5, p. 80; Isa. 52:1, 2.)
As these several statements with reference to a preliminary purification are just as true as the one in Early Writings which seems to negate a purification, one cannot honestly disregard them and give consideration only to it. Let us remember always to observe the inviolable rule that an interpretation of one inspired statement must harmonize with all other related statements.
Some who are anxious to risk Present Truth on the weight of what one inspired statement seems to say or imply, are thereby presumptuously or very ignorantly overlooking the "weight of evidence." Others are doing this through shortsightedness, while still others are doing it to prop up certain cherished ideas of their own.
The basic foundation for the no-preliminary-purification doctrine is built, not upon solid rock, but upon the same shifting sand as that which underlies such as the erroneous ideas of the conscious state of the dead, the eternal torment of the wicked, baptism by sprinkling, Sunday sacredness, and the millennial age of peace on earth.
Since, Truth is progressive, and since the purification of the church had not yet been revealed when the statement in Early Writings was written, the danger foretold and the counsel given therein could not possibly have been stated in terms other than those then familiarly comprehended. All were thus plainly forewarned that if they continued sinning, then after the close of probation for the world, the plagues, of which they already had some understanding, would be their recompense. So for the Lord to have explained the matter in Early Writings as He does through the Rod today, He would have had to reveal, out of due time, when Early Writings was being written, the message which is applicable only to the church for today, and which we are now therefore receiving.
In the last analysis, the unrepentant sinners who are now in the church, may never see the seven last plagues, while others, who are now in the world, will in the time of the Loud Cry yet have opportunity to be "squared" for the building, and be treasured with the "living stones," or else to suffer the consequences of the plagues.
No one should have difficulty in seeing this now, for all those to whom Early Writings primarily spoke are already dead, though the plagues are yet in the future. Furthermore, there is much more light to come concerning the truth of the seven last plagues, and when it comes, we may again see that we have "many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 30.
ARE THE PLAGUES TO FALL UPON LAODICEA OR UPON BABYLON?
Question No. 57:---Is not the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 to be fulfilled by the seven last plagues?
Answer:---The slaughter as described in Ezekiel's prophecy takes the lives of only those wicked who are in "the house of Israel and Judah" (Ezek. 9:9)--the church; whereas the destruction of the plagues falls upon all who are found in "Babylon" (Rev. 18:4) after the Lord has proclaimed "Come out of her, My people," and after they have responded and thus separated themselves from those in Babylon. The destruction of Ezekiel 9, therefore, can apply to her communicants only as an ensample or forerunner of the seven last plagues.
Moreover, His people, the ones who are marked by the angel according to Ezekiel's prophecy, are not called out, but rather are left in.
IS THE BEAST BOTH A SECULAR AND AN ECCLESIASTICAL POWER?
Question No. 58:---Does not the "head" that was "wounded to death" (Rev. 13:3) represent the combined secular and ecclesiastical power of the Middle Ages?
Answer:---Those who understand that the wounded head of the leopard-like beast (Rev. 13:1-3) symbolizes Rome in her ecclesiastical period doubtless also understand that the "little horn," which had "the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things" (Dan. 7:8), likewise symbolizes Rome before the head was wounded. Rightly to understand the subject, it is expedient to examine this double-phased symbol. from the ground up, beginning with Daniel's view.
Having "eyes of man" and "a mouth," the "little horn" is actually a horn-head, a unique thing among governments, a composite hierarchy of civil and religious powers fused into one sovereign head during the Dark and Middle Ages, the "glory that was Rome's."
Accordingly, the medieval union of secular and ecclesiastical powers in the Roman church gives the key to the interpretation of both the horn and the head, proving that the head which was wounded unto death is figurative of the ecclesiastical part only. For on the leopard-like beast, Rome is not represented by either a wounded horn or a horn-head, but by a wounded head only, which shows that the blow affected, not the secular half, the state (horn), but only the ecclesiastical half, the church (head).
WHY NOT BOTH VISIONS ALIKE?
Question No. 59:---If Daniel 7:8, 25 and Revelation 13:3 both prefigure the same power, and if the Roman church during the Middle Ages is the one there predicted, then why is she, in Daniel's vision, a combined secular and ecclesiastical power (horn-head), while in The Revelation she is only an ecclesiastical power (head)?
Answer:---That the same power is indeed symbolized by both beasts is unmistakably seen from the fact that both "blasphemed" the same length of time: the former, for "a time and times, and the dividing of time" (Dan. 7:25); and the latter, for "forty and two months" (Rev. 13:5). This same period is identically stated in Revelation 11:3, and is equivalently represented in Revelation 12:14 as "a time, and times, and half a time," which according to the rule of interpretation of Ezekiel 4:6, is equated: "time half a time" or "dividing of time"--1/2 year: in the aggregate equaling 3 1/2 years, 42 months, or 1260 days (12 months to a year, and 30 days to a month, Bible reckoning).
Daniel's vision foretells only the formation of that church and state union, and for this very reason John's was given to show its final stage, its dissolution only. Thus the two visions complete the whole--the formation and the dissolution.
LAKE OF FIRE BURNING OR EXTINCT DURING MILLENNIUM?
Question No. 60:---If the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire before the millennium (Rev. 19:20), and the Devil after the millennium (Rev. 20:10), will this fire continue burning between the two events?
Answer:---The fire may be symbolical, as so much of The Revelation is. But whether it be actual fire or something else, it does not necessarily have to burn throughout the millennium, but may be rekindled afterwards.
ONLY A PORTION NOT TRODDEN?
Question No. 61:---In Tract No. 9, "Behold I Make All Things New," 1942 Edition, p. 38 is the statement: "That portion of the new earth which the feet of the wicked have trodden...will be purified by the fire's coming 'down from God out of heaven.'" We have been taught that in the second resurrection, the wicked will come up from their graves from every part of the earth. If so, then how is it possible that they will tread only a portion of it?
Answer:---The part of the new earth which the feet of the wicked do not tread and defile, is that portion where the Holy City rests.
WHO MADE THE THIRD DECREE?
Question No. 62:---I have carefully studied the temple type as found in "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 2, but I cannot see how Darius can be made the author of the third decree, unless you take the position that he made two decrees. How do you clear this difficulty?
Answer:---The Bible declares that the temple was finished at the commandment of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, "in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the King." Ezra 6:14,15.
As the Artaxerxes decree of Ezra 7, to beautify the temple, not to build it (verse 27), was made after the three aforementioned, it therefore cannot be the Artaxerxes decree of Ezra 6:14. Hence, there were three decrees to build it, and one to beautify it: (1) one by Cyrus (Ezra 1:2-4); (2) one by Darius (Ezra 6:11, 12); (3) one by Artaxerxes, not recorded; (4) one by Artaxerxes, recorded (Ezra 7:21- 26).
Thus it is that Artaxerxes' decree of chapter 7, being the third on record, has received the classification as such, as though it may in fact be the fourth. Accordingly, there must have been two Artaxerxes' decrees.
As the temple building was finished "in the sixth year of the reign of Darius" (Ezra 6:15), not in the reign of Artaxerxes, then if Darius' decree is not the third and last, it must be concluded that the Darius who reigned when the temple was finished made no decree.
If our deductions should be incorrect, and if ever further light on this subject becomes necessary, it is certain that the Lord will not keep us in ignorance of it. Since at the present time, however, the point of interest is of no practical concern, suffice the answer given.
456 OR 457 B.C.?
Question No. 63:---In Tract No. 3 "The Judgment and the Harvest," 1942 Edition, p. 37, the computation, according to the diagram, dates the beginning of the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14 from 456 B.C., whereas "The Great Controversy," p. 328, dates it from 457 B.C. How do you harmonize the two?
Answer:---Dealing with the long prophetic period in round numbers only, the Tract counts back 2300 years from 1844, thus locating the period's starting point as 456 B.C. The Great Controversy, however, is dealing with the fact that the period began, not in the first month of the year according to the present calendar, but rather in the seventh month (our October) of the year according to the Mosaic calendar (Ex. 12:2).
The difference is seen from the following diagram. The upper part of it deals in the terms of the tract; the lower part, in the terms of The Great Controversy.
ALL OR A REMNANT--WHICH?
Question No. 64:---Romans 9:27 says that a "remnant" of Israel will be saved, but Romans 11:26 says that "all" Israel will be saved. I do not understand this. Can you help me?
Answer:---Romans 9:27 is speaking of Israel as a nation, of which only a remnant will be saved; whereas Romans 11:26 is referring to the elect of Israel as individuals, all of whom will be saved.
FEW OR MANY SAVED?
Question No. 65:---"The plan of salvation had been accomplished," says "Early Writings," p. 281, "but few had chosen to accept it." This statement is used very extensively against the doctrine of the "great multitude" as taught by the Davidians. Will you please clear it?
Answer:---Though during His own ministry on earth Jesus lamented that "many be called, but few chosen" (Matt. 20:16), yet long before, through Isaiah, He had declared in prophetic promise to the church: "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....A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time." Isa. 60:11, 22.
"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 into it. 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. 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. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." Isa. 2:2-5.
And through the prophet Zechariah, He again recorded the promise: "Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day." Zech. 2:11.
"And it shall come to pass, that in all the land saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God." Zech. 13:8, 9.
Moreover, while in Early Writings, p. 281, the author says, "But few have chosen to accept it," in The Great Controversy, p. 665, she classifies the great multitude of Revelation 7:9 as a company separate from the martyrs and from all others who are to be resurrected, thereby plainly showing that the "great multitude" are not the resurrected but the living translated. This is also borne out by Counsels to Teachers, p. 532.
Now, if we are to arrive at the truth, we must interpret the statement in Early Writings and the one in Matthew 20:16, in a way as to harmonize with Isaiah 60:11, 22; Zechariah 2:11; 13:8, 9; The Great Controversy, p. 665, and other passages, all of which show that there is to be a great multitude.
No candid Bible student would build a theory upon an interpretation that would lead him to set aside all other scriptures on the subject. He will seek to make his final analysis in such a way as to be in perfect harmony with all of them, or else confess that he does not have the light on the subject.
In the clear light of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy passages here cited, the weight of evidence incontestably leads to the conclusion that a great multitude is to be saved. The truth becomes evident, then, that the "few" comprehends those saved at the call of each message during the ages past, the time before the "harvest." But in the closing of the world's history, during the harvest time of the gospel, there is to be a great ingathering of redeemed souls, "a great multitude such as no man can number." The term "harvest" implies just such a reaping.
Thus in comparison to the aggregate number of the lost through the ages, the aggregate number of the saved are few; but non-comparatively, the aggregate saved of all ages are, in actual count, many. To this fact attest the words of Ezekiel: "So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army." Ezek. 37:10.
As the salvation of a great multitude is counter only to the Devil's plan, let us not work to his interest.
ON WHICH SIDE WILL YOU BE?
Question No. 66:---How do the Davidians regard the Seventh-day Adventist denomination? What position do they take concerning the writings of Mrs. E.G. White and what does Mt. Carmel stand for?
Answer:---The Davidian Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Seventh-day Adventist church was ordained of heaven and charged with a special message for the world, but that in the course of time she permitted herself to grow self-complacent, lukewarm, and careless in discharging her sacred responsibilities; and that thus having once "turned back from following Christ her Leader." she has ever since been "steadily retreating toward Egypt," with the sad and tragic consequence that her "own course of continual backsliding has separated" her from God.--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217.
The Davidians further believe that this tragic departure from the Lord is all too manifest in that divided state revealed in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination by the contest within it "between the commandments of God and the commandments of men."--Id., p. 81. To the end be resolved into unity and strength, an absolute imperative to the church's ever fulfilling her high destiny, the Davidians still further believe that, as is written, "the gold will be separated from the dross in the church." In other words, they believe that the Modernists, those who have rendered supreme homage to "'science falsely so-called,'...trusted to intellect, genius, or talent" (Id p. 80), will be winnowed from the Fundamentalists--from those who "are standing in the light...sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land."--ld., p. 209.
Let it, however, be immediately understood that, unlike those who openly affirm their modernistic views, the Seventh-day Adventist Modernists deprecate all such tendencies, and insistently profess to stand solidly on the fundamentals of Seventh-day Adventism, although unwittingly they gradually slip further and further away from them (Christ our Righteousness, 1941 Edition, P. 36).
That this drift is recognized as an actual peril by some even within the church, is seen from an article published in The Review and Herald, July 2, 1936, entitled, "Modernism--A Personal Application:"
"As we view with alarm the rapid spread of Modernism among the various Protestant churches, it is well to consider our own lives, to see if the same principles and trends may not have begun to operate there. While the doctrines and principles of Seventh-day Adventists are Fundamentalistic, there is grave danger that we as individuals may become Modernistic.
"In order better to appreciate this danger, it is well to consider the essential difference between Fundamentalist believes in the word of God as a final authority; while the Modernist believes in the interpretation of the word of God according to his human reasoning, thus putting reasoning above the God of revelation.
"In these last days, God has not confined His revelation to us as a people to the Scriptures only, but has also given us special instruction through the manifestation of the Spirit of prophecy ....
"So while the popular churches show their Modernistic attitude only toward the Bible, it is possible for us to show the same attitude toward God's special messages to us. In fact, our relation to the Testimonies is the very place where this attitude will be first manifested."
This insidious variety of modernism, weakening "the faith of God's people in the Testimonies" (Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 211), and gradually "new-modeling" the Denomination's fundamental principles (Testimonies to Ministers pp. 48, 69, 70, 360, 372, 373, 409), is heart-breaking evidence that those at its helm are Modernists. But their seeming innocence of the fact, and their denial of it, make exceedingly difficult our doing anything to help them, without our efforts being misunderstood. And to fix guilt for starting the drift away from the Heaven-established fundamentals of the faith today, is as impossible as to trace down the first Jewish teacher who put in the place of a "thus saith the Lord," a thus saith himself or someone else. Indeed, whom to charge with this defection is as impossible to determine as is the date when the evil work started. Inspiration says: "There are those today who will present falsehoods as testing truths, even as the Jews presented the maxims of men as the bread of heaven. Sayings of no value are given to the people of God as their portion of meat, while souls are starving for the bread of life. Fables have been devised and men are trying to weave these fables into the web. Those who do this will one day see their work as it is viewed by the heavenly intelligences. They choose to bring to the foundation wood, hay, and stubble, when they have at their command the word of God, with all its richness and power, from which they can gather precious treasures of truth. The food that is being prepared for the flock will cause spiritual consumption, decline, and death. When those who profess to believe present truth come to their senses when they accept the word of God just as it reads, when they do not try to wrest the Scriptures, they will bring from the treasure-house of the heart things new and old, to strengthen themselves and those for whom they labor."--The Review and Herald, June 18, 1901.
Next, the Davidians hold that the belief that the Spirit of Prophecy is to repose in the church to the end of time, is one of the foundation stones of Seventh-day Adventism. "This prophetic gift bestowed," admits Elder A.G. Daniels, "was to abide with the church from Adam to the second advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when He comes to take His redeemed people to Paradise. It did not cease with the apostles, but is traceable through the centuries to the last days of human history, just before the return of our Lord. When that supreme event of the ages shall occur, then--and not until then--shall come to pass that which is spoken of by the apostle Paul:
"'...whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come that which is in part shall be done away.'--1 Cor. 13:8-10, A.R.V."--The Abiding Gift Of Prophecy, p. 6.
Since this prophetic gift was manifest through Sister White, as has been evidentially established, she necessarily, then, wrote under divine Inspiration, as did the Bible writers. And, therefore, orthodox Seventh-day Adventism turns on the pivotal truth that "no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation," and can no more be understood now without special divine illumination than could prophecy have been understood in Daniel's time without enlightenment from the angel, who explained: "I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your Prince." Dan. 10:21. Just so, the same Michael must commission a "teacher" for us today; otherwise those things which belong to our peace will be "hid from [our] eyes." Luke 19:42.
This solid rock of doctrine was ever to be the Denomination's sure foundation, and just to the extent that its principles have been faithfully followed out has there been power in the church.
Upon the death of Sister White, in 1915, the gift of Inspiration, the active Spirit of Prophecy, became quiescent, no longer manifesting Itself for a time. With the church thus cut off from the very source of its life, as was the Jewish church from the death of the prophet Malachi to the rise of John the Baptist, how could it maintain its vitality and growth? Hence, now as then, there has followed the same inevitable spiritual malnutrition and deformity, accompanied with a long train of woes.
Against this dark background of spiritual decline and consumption (wretchedness, misery poverty, blindness, and nakedness), and imminent end (being spued out), stands out in bold relief the sternly chiseled work of Mt. Carmel Center, as did the flaming summit of ancient Carmel amid the idolatry and decadence of apostate Israel. Again type meets antitype. But to the Israel of God today, says the angel: "Ye have done worse than they."--Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 129.
"Like a hammer to break the flinty heart; like a fire to consume the dross" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 254), the voice of Carmel cries unto Laodicea the unheeded warning: "I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed Heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing, and that peace and spiritual prosperity is in all her borders.
"The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader, and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us."--Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 217.
"Now is the time when we should closely connect with God, that we may be hid when the fierceness of his wrath is poured upon the sons of men. We have wandered away from the old landmarks. Let us return. If the Lord be God, serve him; if Baal, serve him. Which side will you be on?"--Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 137.
And now louder and louder sounds the voice of Carmel, through the series of The Shepherd's Rod publications, "the Lord's voice...unto the city, and," says the Divine Author, "the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the Rod, and Who hath appointed it." Mic. 6:9.
"Feed thy people," He commands, "with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel." Mic. 7:14.
Thus to rescue the honest in Laodicea from spiritual starvation and death, to revitalize, restore, and rearm them for the final conflict, the Lord has sent the Rod.
When this work of restitution has been completed according to Matthew 17:11, and the Modernist element has been "cut off" as decreed in Ezekiel 9 and in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80, then will be seen in the church a speedy fulfillment of the words of Christ: "The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;" and it stood. Matt. 7:25.
Like the early pioneers of the Adventist church, those who heed the Rod are the restorers of the "old paths;" they realize the grave consequences involved in going contrary to any light the Lord chooses to send His people. And since the message of the Rod has aroused an interest in the need of "reformation among God's people," we as Davidians would not only be recreant to out trust but would also be passing "by on the other side," allowing our beloved Seventh-day Adventist church to drag in the dust, our brethren to be lost, and the world around us to perish for "lack of knowledge," if we did not bestir ourselves to warn the church of the oncoming danger.
Our unselfish zeal and effort to help all Modernist Seventh-day Adventist brethren, regardless of their race, nationality, or social position, is evidence enough of our love for them and our devotion to them. We believe with the apostle Paul that all are of the children of Adam children of adoption into the family of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Though we realize the greatness of our goal, yet with implicit confidence in our Leader, Who has never yet failed to carry through any phase of the Divine purpose, we face our task with courage and confidence, believing that "we are well able to go up and possess the land" of our inheritance, and finally to pass into that heavenly Canaan, where "milk and honey" will flow forever.
Of necessity, then, Mt. Carmel Center is being built as a base of operations for training and fitting workers to carry this special message to the church; for educating deserving youth; for caring for worthy poor, aged, widowed, and orphaned; and for ministering to the sick and infirm according to God's plan. It has heard God's double charge to it: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Isa. 58:1.
"Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet." Joel 2:15, 16.
When it has accomplished this "closing work for the church" (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266), then those who have overcome every "temptation in the strength of the Might One," who have sighed and cried and escaped the destruction will "be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them." Zech. 12:8. Davidians indeed!--"a great people and a strong" (Joel 2:2), "clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness,...'fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,'...to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer."--Prophets and Kings, p. 725.
In this way the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists are to gather all the saints to the house of the Lord.
Mt. Carmel's great burden is to get this manifold work done as soon as possible, so that we may then go home to our eternal rest, no more to be fettered with the shackles of sin.
SAVE THE CHURCH OR THE WORLD?
Question No. 67:---If, at this late hour, we give our whole effort for the salvation of the church, how will the rest of the world ever be reached?
Answer:---The mission to save the world cannot be more important than the mission to save the church. Enlarging the church membership under the now prevailing lukewarm Laodicean conditions, could no more advance the Kingdom of Christ than could have been done under the conditions in the Jewish church in the days of His first advent. Understanding the true situation in that church, John the Baptist and Christ Himself and even the apostles at first, engaged them selves to work, not for the world in general, but only in the interest of their brethren in the church.
As the same departure from Christ exists within the church now as it did then (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217), it will take much greater effort to rescue the people from the Laodicean "sad deception" (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 253), than if they were in heathenism. For in Laodicea they are made to believe that they have all the truth there is to be had, that they are rich increased with goods, and in need of nothing--their salvation forever secured as long as they hold membership in the church! Hence there is greater risk of their losing their souls in the church while she is "lukewarm" and about to be spued out, than if they remain in the world until the church awakes from her slumber, and anoints herself with the eyesalve (Truth)--sees right, does right, and leads and feeds the flock aright.
Let every honest member ask the question, If the church herself is not saved (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 253), not following Christ her Leader (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217) and "has become an harlot" (Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 250), how can she save others? The greatest need therefore is first to save those in the church, then those in the world. The "special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people" (The Great Controversy, p. 425), "the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand" (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266), must come first, then is to follow the sealing of those in the world.
The men and means already devoted to missionary work for the world are so plenteous as entirely to overshadow the meager facilities available for carrying the message to the Laodiceans, although the church is in even greater need than is the world.
However, carrying the message to the church does not affect the mission work for the world, for while the Davidians labor in the interest of the church, the Denomination carries the old message to the world. But should the Davidians also devote their time and money to looking after the interests of the heathen, then both the church and the world would be plunged into hell. Consequently, to save the world, we must first seek to save the church from the ruin that is imminent, as did John the Baptist, Christ, and the apostles, in their day.
After the church awakes and ceases dreaming that she is "rich, and increased with goods," finds out that she is in need of everything rather than of "nothing," puts on her strength by turning to Christ her Leader, clothes herself in the garments of His righteousness, and lets the unclean pass no more through her (Isa. 52:1), then shall her righteousness go forth as brightness and her salvation as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see her righteousness, and all kings her glory (Isa. 62:1, 2). Then will she really be able to save. Then her "gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto" her "the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve" her "shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted." Isa. 60:11, 12.
Let all Present-truth believers, therefore, pursue this course to its happy climax: "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." Zech. 2:10, 11.
Still further, as it is not we, but Christ Who "is taking the reins in His own hands" (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300), it is not our duty to tell Him which work should be done, and which should be left undone, but let every follower of His realize that He will "work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300.
Be not like the class who "question and criticize everything that arises in the unfolding of truth" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 690), but be like those who "let Heaven guide."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 475.
The command to us is: "Cry aloud, spare not lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Isa. 58:1.
"Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him; and His work before Him." Isa. 62:10, 11.
PURIFIED BY GOD, OR BY SATAN?
Question No. 68:---Is the church to be purified before the enforcement of the beast's decree as predicted in Revelation 13:15-17? Or will this drastic decree be the means of purifying the church by sifting from her those who are disloyal to the Truth?
Answer:---If it be true that the beast's decree is to sift out the unconverted (the tares) that are in the church, then one must conclude that the beast is not a symbol of a power of dragon-like principle, but a heaven-sent agency, sent to cast out the tares which the dragon has brought in!
From Ezekiel 9 we see that not the "beast," but the angels are to do this. After the one with the writer's inkhorn by his side marks those who sigh and cry for the abominations that are done in their midst, the five with slaughter weapons follow on to slay all who are left without the mark. And this great purgation, as both the prophecy itself and the Testimonies specifically state, takes place in the church. (See Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445; Testimonies, Vol. 3, pp. 266, 267; Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 210, 211; also Tract No. 1, The Dardanelles of the Bible.)
It is Satan's predetermined purpose to pollute the church by multiplying instead of reducing the disloyal members. And if his most drastic fiat is to purify the church, then to what purpose does the Lord "suddenly come to His temple ...and...sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Mal. 3:1-3); why is a message to cause the shaking (Early Writings, p. 270); and why are the angels of Ezekiel 9, those who "shall come forth," to "sever the wicked from among the just"? Matt. 13:49.
Is this burden of the purifying work, Satan's or the Lord's? Satan is doing nothing to purify the church, but is doing everything to pollute it.
Therefore the beast's decree and his rigid enforcement of it, are not for the purpose of purifying the church, but for the purpose of blockading the way out of Babylon, thereby holding the world captive. This he does specifically to halt the steady flow of multitudes of converts to the then already purged and purified church. In spite, however, of the Enemy's heaviest efforts to keep them in Babylon, the faithful will come out. They will take heed to the Lord's counsel: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb." Rev. 14:9, 10.
INFANTS AND HEATHEN SAVED OR LOST?
Question No. 69:---Will infants and heathen who die without having the opportunity of hearing the gospel of Christ and of accepting Him as their Saviour, be saved? If they can thus be saved in their ignorance, then why cannot all be saved?
Answer:---Could the gospel-ignorant be saved in their ignorance, then it were far better that the church leave the whole world ignorant of the gospel, so that all might be saved. But no! no one can be saved without the gospel.
As to the salvation of infants and children whose parents are saved, the Spirit of Prophecy says:
"Angels 'gather together the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.' Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the city of God."--The Great Controversy, p. 645.
"So was the faith of this woman rewarded. Christ, the great Life-giver, restored her son to her. In like manner will His faithful ones be rewarded, when, at His coming, death loses its sting, and the grave is robbed of the victory it has claimed. Then will He restore to His servants the children that have been taken from them by death. 'Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded,...and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.'"--Prophets and Kings, p. 239.
And as to the salvation of children whose parents are lost, the Lord commands: "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." Ezek. 9:6.
"And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they stoned them with stones." Josh. 7:24, 25.
From these inspired passages, we see that infants and children are saved only because of the faithfulness of their parents. What a solemn, wonderful, and dreadful responsibility!
Concerning the heathen slave, we read: "I saw that the slave-master will have to answer for the soul of his slave whom he has kept in ignorance; and the sins of the slave will be visited upon the master. God can not take to heaven the slave who has been kept in ignorance and degradation, knowing nothing of God or the Bible, fearing nothing but his master's lash, and holding a lower position than the brutes.
But He does the best thing for him that a compassionate God can do. He permits him to be as if he had not been."--Early Writings, p. 276.
Clearly, therefore, those who have had no opportunity to learn the truth of salvation, will never suffer the punishment which the informed wicked will suffer, although they cannot be given eternal life.
WILL THE GATHERING FROM ALL NATIONS INCLUDE ALL THE COLORED PEOPLE?
Question No. 70:---Does the scripture, "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands" (Ps. 68:31), mean that the colored race will turn to God?
Answer:---Though no people are saved as a nation, the scripture in question, taken with kindred passages, does most certainly show that there will be a great ingathering from Ethiopia. It is just such ingatherings from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people of earth that are to make up the "great multitude" of Revelation 7:9. "Princes shall come out of Egypt" (Ps. 68:31) say the Scriptures. "And many nations" at that time "shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Mic. 4:2.
"And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." Isa. 62:2.
Looking forward to this great ingathering, the prophet asks the question: "Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows!" Then the Lord answers: "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 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. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel." Isa. 60:8-14. "For great shall be the day of Jezreel." Hos. 1:11.
WILL GENTILES INHERIT THE KINGDOM?
Question No. 71:---Is spiritual Israel made up of Gentiles? Am I right in saying that the relationship of the Gentiles to Israel is that of adoption?
Answer:---There is to be but one family tree in the Kingdom, the tree of Jacob, into which the Gentiles are grafted, as is seen from Romans 11.
This is further shown by the holy city wherein is no Gentile gate, but each of whose twelve gates bears one of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Hence, the Gentiles are saved through adoption--grafted into the original olive tree, and thus as naturalized citizens of Israel they inherit the Kingdom.
WHO IS SHE THAT HALTETH?
Question No. 72:---Will you please explain Micah 4:6, 7?
Answer:---"In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halteth a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even forever." Mic. 4:6, 7.
These verses bring to view three nations: "her that halteth," "her that is driven out," and her that is "afflicted. "
In the parable of the seed sower, we are told that "he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon [not halting] with joy received It; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended;...But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the Word and understandeth It; which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." Matt. 13:20, 21, 23.
The difference between the two soils is that the seed in the stony, shallow soil comes up quickly, while the seed in the good, deep soil comes up slowly.
From this analogical lesson we see that "her that halteth" is the one that received seed in good soil, the Christian church.
And she is the one that needs to be assembled because she is scattered and divided into schisms. Then, when assembled, she will constitute the woman's "remnant." Rev. 12:17.
She "that is driven out" can be none other than the ten-tribe kingdom, and she that is "afflicted" is the two-tribe kingdom, Judah, as will be seen from reading the third chapter of Micah.
"Her that halteth," the Christian church, the Lord will make a remnant: He will separate her unlawful children, the tares, from her. "And her that was cast far off," the ten-tribe kingdom, He will make "a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth even for ever." Mic 4:7. And unto Judah "shall the gathering of the people be." Gen. 49:10.
The descendants of these three--of "her that halteth" (the early Christian church plus the converted Gentiles); of "her that is driven out" (the dispersed of Israel--the ten-tribe kingdom); and of her that is "afflicted" (the two-tribe kingdom, Judah)--compose the Kingdom-church.
Thus the subjects who are the root of the Kingdom, are to be converted and gathered from the Christian church and from the descendants of the two ancient kingdoms, Israel and Judah, and then brought to Mount Zion, because "the Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know Me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah." Ps. 87:2-6.
MARRIAGE OR CELIBACY?
Question No. 73:---Paul says: "Brethren, the time is short; it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none." "For I would that all men were even as I myself. " 1 Cor. 7:2 9, 7. What does he mean?
Answer:---Properly to understand the apostle's doctrine of marriage and celibacy, as set forth in the verses in question, and in order to get a correct perspective on his aim and on the points which he is discussing, it is necessary first to view the chapter in its complete setting.
1 Corinthians 7:1 reveals that he was in receipt of a letter, and his answer to it (in this same chapter) shows that among the believers in the Corinthian church, there was dissatisfaction and lack of understanding as to the marriage relation.
Some were dissatisfied with their lot of single life; others were tired of their lot of married life; while still others questioned whether they should leave their unbelieving husbands or wives, and remarry.
Endeavoring as always to be all things to all men, and to avoid if possible any ruptures in the young church, Paul tactfully and clearly sets forth the benefits both of the wedded estate and of the single estate.
Of the unmarried and the widows, he says: "It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." 1 Cor. 7:8, 9.
"And unto the married"--both to those couples each of whom believed in Christ, and to those couples one of whom did not--he writes: "I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:...and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him." 1 Cor. 7:10-13.
In this short discourse, we see that the apostle does not advocate celibacy, but plainly urges that in order "to avoid fornication, ...every man have his own wife, and...every woman have her own husband." 1 Cor. 7:2.
He appeals to husbands and wives both of whom are believers, but who are not getting on together well, to try if possible to live peaceably with each other. And where but one is a believer that one should try to convert the unbelieving partner (1 Cor. 7:14). He adds, though, that if the unbelieving one should leave, "a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases." 1 Cor. 7:15.
With equal pointedness, he teaches that should two of the same faith decide to separate, they should not marry another, but try to be reconciled (1 Cor. 7:11). Happier still, though: "Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." 1 Cor. 7:27. "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called" (1 Cor. 7:20), and learn to be content as "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philip. 4:11.
The present state of life being of short duration, he urged them for the time being to set their affections, not on the things of this world, but on the glories of the world to come, for "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." 1 Cor. 2:9.
When this happy, holy state is reached, then it will be that "both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away." 1 Cor. 7:29-31.
That is, those who now have wives shall not be any more advantaged by them in the life hereafter than if they had none; neither shall those who buy now, then possess more than those who buy nothing now; but all--married and single, those who weep and those who rejoice, those who buy and those who do not--shall then be circumstanced alike, so that all may rejoice together, "for the fashion of this world passeth away." "So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.
"The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God." 1 Cor. 7:38-40.
Nowhere in this matrimonial counsel is Paul lending the force of his precept and example to the absolute preferment of one estate of life above another, nor to the abolition of the sanctified marital privileges and rights guaranteed by the marriage covenant.
Those who do conclude themselves led to elect marriage, and who are determined to move in fear to the glory of God, will necessarily marry "only in the Lord": they will not take to themselves either unbelievers or unconverted worldly, careless, unconsecrated believers. The wise will keep constantly in mind the realization that worldly dress and deportment cannot charm a true Christian and therefore cannot possibly bring a happy, abiding, true Christian union. They will set their affections only upon one who is an earnest, zealous, industrious spiritual-minded adherent to Present Truth.
And an equally important requisite to the success of this most excellent yet most difficult of life's undertakings is that neither one enter into it prematurely, without having made the full necessary preparation. Accordingly, no God-fearing Davidian young man can morally permit himself to contemplate marriage unless he be one who, having early in life determined what trade or profession he be best fitted for, has set his goal, and has either reached it or is well on the way to reaching it, has built and furnished himself a house or has the means to do so, or at least has furnished or is able to furnish one.
Attempting to assume the complex, heavy, and trying responsibilities of conducting a home in God's order, without having fully made the all-essential preparations here mentioned, one can little expect to develop the physical, mental, and spiritual powers to which a Christian is divinely intended to attain. Neglecting this, he will make life a drudgery and a curse, and will by the woeful bargain become a mere cumberer of the ground rather than a blessing to the earth. Instead of being nobly independent of others, he will be ignobly dependent upon them; instead of being an uplifting influence to society, he will be a degrading one; instead of affording his children reasonable security of opportunity, giving them the care and training that every human being deserves, he will father a brood of unfortunates, doomed in all probability to the low destiny of misfits.
Every devout Davidian young man will avoid such a tragedy by fully preparing for this greatest experience in life before venturing upon it. He will remember that before the Lord brought man into existence, He first made the earth man's home, and then furnished it with light, air food, and water, with shrub, tree, and grass, with bird, beast, and cattle. And knowing this, he will follow suit.
Besides meeting all these indispensable qualifications, the prospective husband who cherishes matrimonial success, will not take the step of marriage before he has qualified himself to do the home duties of the wife in event she fall sick, become otherwise incapacitated or be taken away, or they devolve upon him for some other unexpected reason.
On the other hand, no God-fearing Davidian young woman can morally contemplate marriage unless she has acquired the domestic skills and can shoulder every duty of the home. If she can keep the house clean and neat and orderly; if she can proficiently cook, launder, and sew; if she can care for the sick and administer first aid; if she can intelligently care for children; if she can raise a thrifty garden to supply her table with plenty of fresh vegetables (for when cut, days before used, they lose most of the vitamins through oxidation);--if she can do all these, then she is worthy of the respect owing a good wife; she has acquired the cement of a strong, enduring union. Even so, though, respecting and respected as she must be, she also must have some trade or profession so that should the husband take sick or become disabled or be taken away she can head the home and care for its needs and meet its problems.
Finally, both will reckon well with the fact that seldom is any young man's mental, moral, and professional equipment adequate to the responsibilities of marriage before he has arrived at the age of twenty-four--the day of man's full growth and development, and that a young woman is seldom thus prepared before she has reached the age of twenty--the day of woman's full growth and development.
IS THE LAW MADE VOID?
Question No. 74:---Paul writes: "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded In his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks, and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." Rom. 14:5, 6.
In the light of this scripture, is it not true that one is saved by faith no matter what his doctrinal belief may be in the Sabbath and in diet?
Answer:---Having anticipated this very question, Inspiration through Paul and his co-laborers straightway answered it:
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Rom. 3:31. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10. "For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." 1 John 5:3. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Rev. 22:14.
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?...Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone....Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?...For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2:14, 17, 19, 20, 26.
Again: having written, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8), Paul could not possibly have turned around and advocated that a man can be saved by a gospel of his own, by what he himself thinks or does.
No rational person who believes Paul's writings as a part of Holy Writ can honestly convince himself that Paul would at one moment uplift the law and at the next moment tread it down. Decidedly, therefore, one's interpretation of the apostle's writings must be such as to make them consistent.
In Romans 14:5, 6 he is endeavoring to correct unfair criticism by admonishing the believers that everyone must be persuaded in his own conscience, and that the duty of a Christian is to keep, speak, and teach the Truth, not to demand obedience to it; not to despise those who eat or those who do not, or those who esteem one day above another; but to let all be fully persuaded in their own minds. In short a Christian's duty is to be charitable, to be an altogether-Christian, having a mind of his own, but ever being ready to forgo his opinions for a "thus saith the Lord."
That the Sabbath and consequently all the other commandments are perpetual, to be kept even hereafter, anyone can easily see from the following scriptures: "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord." Isa. 66:23. And looking forward to the time of "the great and dreadful day of the Lord," the time just ahead of us, the Lord admonishes the people who will be living at that time: "Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments." Mal. 4:4.
"Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant; even unto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons, and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings, and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him." Isa. 56:1-8.
As therefore not only the Sabbath but also the whole law is to be kept now and forever by both Jew and Gentile, faith does not do away with the law of God, but rather establishes it forever, and enables one to keep it.
Those who are truly converted to God through the righteousness of Christ, find no hardship in obeying the law. They delight to do God's will.
And finally, when they enter the promised land and God gives them new hearts and inscribes His commandments thereupon (Ezek. 36:23-29), then for the cleansed ones to venture to sin, will be a thousand times greater trial than it was to Joseph in Egypt when he cried out against temptation: "How...can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God"? (Gen. 39:9), and no more possible than it was for Christ. Indeed, sin will be as naturally abhorrent to us then as death is now. Christ makes this possible by washing away our sins with His precious blood, recreating in us a sinless nature, a "new heart," while taking us from among the heathen, and bringing us into our "own land." Ezek. 36:24.
ARE WE NOT DELIVERED FROM KEEPING THE LAW?
Question No. 75:---To what law does Galatians 3:13 refer? Does deliverance from the curse of the law of sin mean deliverance from keeping the ten commandments?
Answer:---The law spoken of in Galatians 3:13 is the Ten commandment law (Ex.20:). It teaches one that his obedience to it brings to him the manifold blessing of: maintaining his fidelity to God and to man; safeguarding his religion (Ex. 20:3-7) if it be built on Truth; ever reminding him that God created the heaven and the earth in six working days, securing for him the joyous privilege to be with God while resting on His Holy Day--the seventh (Ex. 20:8-11); teaching children to honor their parents (Ex. 20:12), preventing one from murdering (Ex. 20:13); preserving chastity in all, but particularly safeguarding women (Ex. 20.14); instilling in him honesty (Ex. 20:15) and developing the highest integrity; keeping him from falsehood (Ex. 20:16); and saving him from covetousness (Ex. 20:17). It is the Christian's mirror, and his defense.
A doctrine, therefore, which countermands strict obedience to the law of God, the only written words which He has vouchsafed to us with His own fingers and publicly spoken by His own voice (Ex. 31:18; Deut. 4:13, 14), is in consequence permitting worship of other gods, and is thus in effect not only teaching Christians to dishonor the Father of all creation but also thereby encouraging dishonor to all parents, besides winking at murder, immorality, dishonesty, lying, and covetousness.
Hence, if violated, the law brings curses; if kept inviolate, it brings blessings. (See Exodus 20:5, 6; Revelation 22: 14.) No one, however without a thorough conversion can possibly have either the burden or the power to keep it inviolate.
FOR WHAT PURPOSE SHALL A LIKENESS NOT BE MADE?
Question No. 76:---Does not the second commandment of the Decalogue forbid one's carving, casting, painting, or drawing a likeness of anything that is in heaven or in earth?
Answer:---To be sure, the second commandment does prohibit the making of likeness to anything, be it in heaven or be it in earth, for the purpose of worshiping God. Some, however, take the extreme position that it forbids the making of any kind of likeness to anything for any reason, even for the purpose of illustrating a thought. To thus condemn any kind of pictorialization, be it scenic, mural, portraitive, photographic, architectural, or whatever, would be to proscribe the whole body of pictorial art and science--the primary implementage of civilization's education system.
Nevertheless, if such be the Divinely-willed intent of the commandment, then we must obey it without questioning, and we shall be better off regardless of the consequence.
The Bible Itself, however, reveals that the commandment does not prohibit the making of likenesses for any but the purpose of worship. And It even gives the reason for the prohibition. In the writings of Moses, we read:
"And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice...Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven." Deut. 4:12, 15-19.
Moreover, in Solomon's temple, likenesses of God's creation were used. For example, Solomon "made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays: and twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps." 2 Chron. 9:17-19.
Again, he made a molten sea, "and under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about." 2 Chron. 4:3.
Then, too, "cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above." 2 Chron. 5:8.
Were not these likenesses of creatures which God created? Did not the Lord direct in the building? The commandment, therefore, prohibits making an imaginary image of God or of anything for the purpose of worship.
(All italics ours)
WHAT SHALL YOUR NEXT
Now if you have enjoyed, appreciated,
and profited by this question-and-answer excursion through Book No. 3, and if you desire to continue, then send for Book No. 4. It will be mailed as a Christian service without charge or obligation.