That everyone who thirsteth for the truth may obtain it, this booklet of questions and answers is, as a Christian service, mailed without charge. Send for it. It levies but one exaction, the soul's obligation to itself to prove all things and hold fast that which is good. The only strings attached to this free proffer are the golden strands of Eden and the crimson cords of Calvary--the ties that bind.
Names and addresses of Seventh-day Adventists will be appreciated.
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.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question No. 77:---Because his prediction of the fall of the Ottoman Empire on August 11, 1840, was strikingly fulfilled, was Josiah Litch correct in claiming that the prophecy of Revelation 9:5, 15-20, was thus perfectly enacted?
Answer:---Though in the working out of Litch's prediction, there was a seemingly preternatural element of coincidence, the event in question could not have been that described in John's prophecy, for the latter reveals that the four angels bound in the Euphrates were to slay the third part of men. And where in the Scriptures is any Gentile nation symbolized by angels? Moreover, the Ottoman Empire did not fall at all; instead, it placed itself "under the control of Christian nations."--The Great Controversy, p. 335. Furthermore, the angels had an army of 200,000,000 horsemen, while Turkey never had that many cavalrymen in all her lifetime! Still further, the prophecy of The Revelation calls for slaying the "third part of men" (Rev. 9:15), whereas in the fulfillment of Litch's prediction, no slaying took place. In view of all these facts, it is self-evident that though Litch's prediction may have been fulfilled, it in no wise had reference to the Revelator's.
The Great Controversy records merely that Litch's own prediction, not John's met fulfillment. So, Litch's prediction, being erroneously based on The Revelation, was a preternatural coincidence, not a fulfillment of the Revelator's prophecy.
ARE THE GREAT TRIBULATION AND THE TIME OF TROUBLE THE SAME?
Question No. 78:---How can one prove that the "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world...nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21), is not the "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation"? Dan. 12:1.
Answer:---Prophesying of "the great tribulation," Christ forewarned that it would be a time of persecution, privation, and death to the saints, and that they should therefore flee "into the mountains" to save their lives, lest "there should no flesh be saved." Matt. 24:16, 22.
But Daniel foretells that in "the time of trouble, such as never was," Michael will stand up and deliver every one of the saints, so that they will not experience death.
Obviously, therefore, these two events occur at different times, each being special and unique, the greatest of its kind. Indeed, prophecy declares that there shall never be another such "tribulation," and there shall never be another such "trouble."
(See The Answerer, Book No. 2, Question No. 47, for detailed description of these two events.)
WHEN CALLED THEMSELVES BY THE NAME OF THE LORD?
Question No. 79:---Did not Abel call upon the name of the Lord when he offered the sacrifice (Gen. 4:4)? If so, then why does Genesis 4:26 (margin) say that after Seth was born, "then began men to call themselves by the name of the Lord"?
Answer:---Although from the death of Abel to the birth of Seth (Gen. 4:25), Cain was the only living son of Adam, yet neither he nor his posterity were followers of God; so they were "the sons of men." But Seth and his descendants, who had the spirit of Abel, called on the name of the Lord, and they were "the sons of God." Gen. 6:2.
Hence, as there were two different classes of worshipers (true and false) in close contact with each other, it became necessary to give themselves titles so as to make a distinction between the followers of man and the followers of God. The descendants of Seth were the first to call "themselves by the name of the Lord," just as the Jews who long afterward accepted Christ were the first to call themselves Christians. And just as the Jews who rejected Christ continued to call themselves Jews, so the descendants of Cain continued to call themselves "the sons of men."
From this scripture comes the evidence that the careless and ignorant religious practices which we see today, with their persecuting spirit against those who worship God precisely as He has commanded, had their beginning with Cain; also that from Abel stems the influence of obedience, reaching even unto this day. Consequently there are still in the world the "sons of men" as well as the "sons of God," the followers of men and the followers of God. And just as the religion of the "sons of men" in those days was such as their father Cain practiced,--not according to God's command, but according to their own choosing,--so is the religion of the sons of men today. A great many still worship in the same manner in which their fathers did, not taking the slightest pains to know for themselves the difference between the false and the true, but naturally and thoughtlessly dashing along to their doom, as the Gadarene swine dashed over the cliffs into the sea (Matt. 8:32; Mark 5:13).
But despite the holy name which the sons of Seth took to themselves in those days, many of them intermingled with the sons of men; that is, "the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." Gen. 6:2. This evil practice speedily carried the wickedness of the sons of men into the homes of the sons of God. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them." "And behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die." Gen. 6:5-7, 17.
Looking forward to our own day, Jesus declared: "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:38, 39. Should not, therefore, the "sons of God" in these days take all the more heed to these examples and keep themselves separate from "the daughters of men"?
These lessons teach that every individual himself, without the influence of another should determine to know and to practice the Truth if he wishes to escape the Enemy's invisible webs spread along the path of his feet. He should now know the worst of his own case if he wants to keep his crown of eternal life, his most priceless treasure. If he does not, he will lose it.
IS REFORMATION NOT PERFECTION?
Question No. 80:---The statement in "The Symbolic Code," July 1935, Vol. 1, No. 13, p. 9, that "if the individual does not reform at the moment he is convinced of the Truth, neither will he do it later," makes me fearful. For if it is so, then I have done things to cause me to be lost. What hope is there for me?
Answer:---The Code does not mean by the word "reform" that one must become perfect all at once. Perfection is attained through continuing in the Truth and climbing the ladder of perfection step by step. (See Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 187). A true Christian never lags behind, but as perfect corn of the field steadily develops in the ear, so also does he develop in the Christian sphere as far as the Light leads him forth. Hence if you have made a start and are still running in the race, there is no reason why you should be lost, "for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again." Prov. 24:16. "And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John 2:1.
The class which does not reform, according to the Code, are those who do not start in the race when convinced of advanced Truth, but who, like the Jews of Christ's day or the Laodiceans of today, say, We are "rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17); or who, like Felix, excuse themselves, saying, "Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." Acts 24 :25.
The fact that you are striving to overcome sin by walking in the Light, is sufficient evidence that you are not lost. And if you thus continue, you shall be saved, else we are all lost.
The Enemy would like to deceive us one way or another, he cares not which, and we should not give him any occasion. Paul's counsel is: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Heb. 12:1.
SANCTIFIED IN A MOMENT, OR DAY BY DAY?
Question No. 81:---What part do we play in the process of sanctification, and when is a person sanctified?
Answer:---"We should consider the words of the apostle Paul, in which he appeals to this brethren, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies 'a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.'... Sanctification is not merely a theory, an emotion, or a form of words, but a living, active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking and dressing, be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental, and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies--not an offering corrupted by wrong habits, but--'a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.' Rom. 12:1"--Counsels on Health, p. 67.
"True sanctification comes through the working out of the principle of love. 'God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.' The life of him in whose heart Christ abides, will reveal practical godliness. The character will be purified, elevated, ennobled, and glorified. Pure doctrine will blend with works of righteousness; heavenly precepts will mingle with holy practices.
"Sanctification...is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. We know not one day how strong will be our conflict the next. So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained. Sanctification is the result of life-long obedience."--The Acts of the Apostles, p. 560.
"Day by day, hour by hour, a vigorous work of self-denial and of sanctification must go on within; then the works will bear witness that Jesus is abiding in the heart by faith. Sanctification does not close the avenues of the soul to knowledge, but expands the mind, and inspires it to search for truth as for hidden treasure."--Counsels to Teachers, p. 449.
"There is no Bible sanctification for those who cast a part of the truth behind them" (Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 33 8), for "this work cannot go on in the heart while the light on any part of the truth is rejected or neglected. The sanctified soul will not be content to remain in ignorance, but will desire to walk in the light and to seek for greater light. As a miner digs for gold and silver, so the follower of Christ will seek for truth, as for hidden treasures, and will press from light to a greater light, ever increasing in knowledge. He will continually grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth."--The Review and Herald, June 17, 1890.
"Many...do not exemplify the truth in their lives. They have special exercises upon sanctification, yet cast the word of God behind them. They pray sanctification, sing sanctification, and shout sanctification...The present truth, which is the channel, is not regarded, but is trampled under foot. Men may cry, Holiness! holiness! sanctification! sanctification! consecration! consecration! and yet know no more by experience of what they talk than the sinner with his corrupt propensities. God will soon tear off this whitewashed garb of professed sanctification which some who are carnally minded have thrown around them to hide the deformity of the soul."--Testimonies, Vol. 1, pp. 338, 336.
"The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification. His long life was filled up with noble service for his Master. He was a man 'greatly beloved' of Heaven. Yet instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel, as he pleaded before God in behalf of his people:
'We do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies.' 'We have sinned, we have done wickedly.' He declares, 'I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people.' And when at a later time the Son of God appeared, to give him instruction, Daniel says, 'My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.'
"When Job heard the voice of the Lord out of the whirlwind, he exclaimed, 'I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' It was when Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, and heard the cherubim crying, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts,' that he cried out, 'Woe is me! for I am undone.' Paul after he was caught up into the third heaven and heard things which it was not possible for a man to utter, speaks of himself as 'less than the least of all saints.'"--The Great Controversy, pp. 470, 471.
"Paul's sanctification was the result of a constant conflict with self. He said, 'I die daily.' His will and His desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God's will, however crucifying to his own nature.
"God leads His people on step by step. The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering.
It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy, and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.
"No one will be borne upward without stern, persevering effort in his own behalf. All must engage in this warfare for themselves....The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a life-long struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity, there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor's crown."--Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 313.
"This is the will of God concerning human beings, even their sanctification. In urging our way upward, heavenward, every faculty must be kept in the most healthy condition, prepared to do faithful service. The powers with which God has endowed man are to be put to the stretch....Man can not possibly do this of himself; he must have divine aid. What part is the human agent to act?--'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.' Phil. 2:12, 13."--Id., p. 64.
Finally, the working of the principle of true sanctification in the Christian heart is inimitably illustrated in Christ's parable of the growing seed: "first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." Mark 4:28.
Thus from grace to grace ascends the climb of true sanctification, which is the dynamic process of progressive regeneration through the continual impartation of the righteousness of Christ, "by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God" (The Great Controversy, p. 469), for "the impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ" (Gospel Workers, p. 285)--complete sanctification.
By way of comparison: "The righteousness by which we are justified [the first phase of sanctification] is imputed. The righteousness by which we are sanctified [the second phase] is imparted. The first is our title to heaven; the second is our fitness for heaven."--The Review and Herald, June 4, 1895 (In Christ Our Righteousness, p. 98).
"The germination of the seed represents the beginning of spiritual life, and the development of the plant is a beautiful figure of Christian growth. As in nature, so in grace; there can be no life without growth. The plant must either grow or die. As its growth is silent and imperceptible, but continuous, so is the development of the Christian life. At every stage of development our life may be perfect; yet if God's purpose for us is fulfilled, there will be continual advancement. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime. As our opportunities multiply, our experience will enlarge, and our knowledge increase. We shall become strong to bear responsibility, and our maturity will be in proportion to our privileges."--Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 65, 66.
"Here is Bible sanctification. It is not merely a show or outside work. It is sanctification received through the channel of truth. It is truth received in the heart, and practically carried out in the life."--Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 339.
"Christ prayed for His disciples in these words: 'Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.' There is no genuine sanctification, except through obedience to the truth."--The Sanctified Life, p. 49.
SPUED OUT, OR CAST OUT?
Question No. 82:---Please explain the following statement from "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, p. 153: "Now to His people He gives one year to make good."
Answer:---The foregoing statement simply means that God limited the leaders of Laodicea to one year in which to accept the sealing message and to carry it to their respective churches. Upon their failing to do so by the end of this limited period of grace, He rejected them as His servants. And now, if any of them accept the additional message (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 106; Gospel Workers, p. 304), and desire to carry it to the laity, they may do so only under the direction of the present message--the "reorganization" spoken of in Christ Our Righteousness, 1941 Edition, p. 121.
WHAT IS "THE ROD OF MY SON"?
Question No. 83:---Will you please explain the meaning of the "rod" as used in Ezekiel 21:8-15?
Answer:---By calling Israel "the rod" of His son (Ps. 74:2; 110:2), God shows that they were His rod for punishing the heathen, just as Assyria was His rod for punishing Israel (Isa. 10:5). Thus the rod is an emblem of power or government, also an instrument of punishment.
WHAT IS THE SWORD OF THE LORD?
Question No. 84:---Does the Bible mean knives, guns, or bayonets when it speaks of "sword of the Lord" in the latter days?
Answer:---The term "sword," as used in the Scriptures, signifies war, bloodshed, and vengeance. God's sword is whatever instrument He uses to execute judgment; it is not necessarily a steel blade. Often it has been pestilence, fire, famine, earthquake, war, and a host of other elemental forces even the wicked as witnesses David's cry: "Deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Thy sword." Ps. 17:13.
ARE "ZION" AND "JERUSALEM" THE SAME?
Question No. 85:---Please explain the difference between the terms "Zion" and "Jerusalem" of Isaiah 52:1 and of Revelation 14:1.
Answer:---"Zion" and "Jerusalem" of Isaiah 52:1 must represent people, for it would be ridiculous to say to a hill and to a city, "Awake, awake, put on thy strength, put on thy beautiful garments."
On ancient Zion's exalted hill stood the palace of the king, "and the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities." Neh. 11:1. So the royal family resided on Mount Zion, and the lesser rulers and other government representative dwelt in Jerusalem proper.
The call, "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem," is applicable to the Laodicean church, the last of the seven churches, and the one which terminates the period of the "wheat" and the "tares" commingled, because after she puts on her beautiful garments, "the unclean shall no more come into" her. Those who will awake to the rousing call, put on strength by separating from the wicked, and put on the beautiful garments by turning to righteousness, are those who will, in the "latter days," make up Zion and Jerusalem--the princes and rulers of the people in the Kingdom-church restored.
Then "clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. 'Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,' she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer."--Prophets and Kings, p. 725.
Hence, "only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it [the Third Angel's message] when it shall have swelled into the loud cry."--The Review and Herald, No. 19, 1908.
Now as to the meaning of the two terms, Zion and Jerusalem as used in Revelation 14:1, the second reference in question, the Revelator explains that the 144,000 of the twelve tribes of Israel are those who make up Zion. His words are, "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads." Rev. 14:1.
These being the first fruits (Rev. 14:4), it further shows that they are the first of the harvest in "the end of the world." Matt. 13:39. Obviously, then, those who were seen after them, the "great multitude...of all nations" (Rev. 7:9), are none other than the second fruits of the harvest, some of whom will dwell in Jerusalem.
So at this harvest time, "it shall come to pass...that the mountain of the Lord's house [Mt. Zion] shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." Isa. 2:2.
HAS HE OR WILL HE TREAD THEM DOWN?
Question No. 86:---Through Isaiah (chapter 63, verse 3) Christ declared of Himself: "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment." Does this scripture apply to Christ's work at the time of His first or at the time of His second Advent?
Answer:---The first part of the verse applies to the first advent of Christ, and the last part to the time of the purification of the church. Thus Christ by use of prophetic language, appears to be looking back on the time of His sufferings while He was on the cross, emphasizing that there were none with Him, and that, therefore, by inference, those who had no part in His agony have no right to rule over those whom He set free; and that whoever continues to hold His people in bondage and in ignorance of His Truth, will He tread in His anger and trample them in His fury and sprinkle their blood upon His garments, thereby staining all His raiment, and thus setting His people free.
BAPTIZED FOR REMISSION OF SINS, OR FOR PROGRESSING WITH TRUTH?
Question No. 87:---As we were admitted into the Seventh-day Adventist church membership on our former baptism in the Baptist church, is it now necessary for us to be re-baptized?
Answer:---The Holy Scriptures teach a need of one baptism only (Eph. 4:5). As you were baptized by immersion in the Baptist church and later united with the Seventh-day Adventist church for no reason other than to walk in brighter light of the Word, you had no need for re-baptism. And if you have been true to your Christian vows also in the Seventh-day Adventist church, then you have no need for re-baptism now.
Suppose you had been baptized by the apostle Paul and received into church fellowship, lived on up to the present time, all the while walking in the advancing light of the Lord, you would have followed Him through all of the seven successive Movements of the Reformation--the seven church periods. In the Protestant period, you would have been Lutheran first and Davidian last. In your thus having faithfully followed the light of Truth, it is neither Scriptural nor logical that God would have required you to be re-baptized every time you took a step forward.
WHO IS THE KING OF MT. CARMEL CENTER--GOD OR MAN?
Question No. 88:---Most of us have had a struggle to loose ourselves from the bands laid upon us by the church's present leadership, and it seems no more than right that we have the assurance that the Lord is directing in all the movements at Mt. Carmel. May we know just how much of the work of Mt. Carmel is under the direction of the Lord?
Answer:---A careful thinking-through of this matter can end only in the realization that as God has promised to take the reins in His own hands, then that is exactly what He of necessity must be doing. Hence, all the confusion and perplexity with attendant questioning criticizing, and doubting over the work are irrational, inexcusable, and damaging.
"Satan," says the Spirit of Prophecy, "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."--Testimonies, Vol. 3 p. 255.
Moreover, no man can judge the work by his own wisdom or by the wisdom of other human beings, for, says the Spirit of Truth: "The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness....Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last 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.
"It is not for you to be intimidated by outward appearances, however forbidding they may be. It is for you to carry forward the work as the Lord has said it should be carried."--Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 141.
If each does well his part in the work that is given him to do, he will soon see that he has neither need nor capability to look after the Lord's duties, or after the work that is assigned to others. He will know that the greatest and the only right thing he can do is courageously to accept the high challenge of "the angel of the Lord" unto Joshua: "If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by." Zech. 3:7.
To Present-truth believers, one of the surest evidences that the Lord is leading in the work of Mt. Carmel, is that regardless of ceaseless opposition, paucity of laborers, and many other handicaps, the work is steadily moving onward with an irresistible power. It is, indeed, like the mustard seed.
Despite its humble, insignificant beginning, the criticism and the opposition against it, and the multiform obstacles and impediments which it has had to surmount, it is awakening multitudes throughout Laodicea. It has launched the ship of Reformation, and while many have already boarded it, others are rapidly approaching the decision to seek the safety it affords. They are restudying the Bible in the Divine Light of The Shepherd's Rod. The Three Angel's Messages have become to them as clear and sweet as a mountain stream. And those who never owned, and even those who never believed, the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, are now purchasing all the volumes.
Certainly no one can thoughtfully say that such is the work of the Enemy, not without attributing authorship of the Bible to Satan. If the Bible is of the Lord, the message in the Rod cannot be of the Devil, for it is the Bible unfolded. Never without the power of God could it have so leavened the whole Denomination, for the All-Powerful One declares: "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. Fury is not in Me: who would set the briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them I would burn them together." Isa. 27:3, 4.
Those who only profess to believe, are here warned that the Lord knows their work, and that He has not left His workmen in the darkness concerning it. Exposing their secrets, He says: "Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them." Ezek. 33:30-33.
IS IT TOO LATE TO GET INTO THE NET?
Question No. 89:---There is among us one who is teaching that if the net was drawn ashore (Matt. 13:47, 48) in 1930, then those who were not in it at that time (that is, who were not then members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church) cannot hope to be a part of the first fruits. If true, then why should one attempt to come in now rather than to wait for the time of the second fruits? Or, if already in the message, why should he continue striving to live up to it if his efforts are bound in futility because he missed the dead-line?
Answer:---The parabolical act of drawing the net to shore (the Lord's momentarily intermitting His work) does not, in the literal connection, bar any from getting into it if they put forth the necessary effort. For, though fish, as fish, cannot actually swim to a net after it is drawn ashore, yet as people they can actually get into the church up to the close of probation.
Surely if good fish manage to get into the net while it is being hauled ashore, the fishermen will not throw them out with the bad simply because the net did not catch them. Rather they will be accounted even more precious because of their own extra effort expended in getting in, without anyone's going after them with the net. If one cannot see the possibility of himself as a fish getting into the net, he can easily see himself as a sheep getting into the fold.
Clearly, then, the dead-line idea is a specious concept, which can only discourage the Christian's progress, causing some already in the message to rationalize their way out because of the futility of staying in, and justifying others in not making the necessary effort to get into the net of salvation when the opportunity presents itself. Indeed, it even forces them to forgo their present opportunity and to wait for one that is never coming!
Today," says the Spirit of God, "if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." Heb. 4:7.
WHAT TO DO WHEN DISFELLOWSHIPED?
Question No. 90:---Should those of us who have been disfellow-shiped continue to attend church services? If so, and if the opportunity there presents itself for us to speak a word incident to Present Truth, should we? But what if we are asked to say nothing suggestive of Present Truth--should we acquiesce and remain silent forever? And what shall we do if they do not let us participate in the communion service?
Answer:---Our relation to the church is the same as was John the Baptist's Jesus Christ's, and the apostles': We have a message to proclaim to the church, and though the church officials order us out, as the Sanhedrin ordered the apostles out of the "temple," we must in a righteous way refuse to leave, and must continue returning to the church. For if we depart and stay away and become strangers, how, then, shall we proclaim the message to our people?
All must realize, however, that it ill becomes a Christian to cause any disturbance at anytime, especially during church services. Neither is it possible for any of us by such methods to present the message to them, or to convince them that we are speaking "the words of life." By witnessing silently, reverently, and circumspectly in church and out of church, we shall give provocation for naught but false accusations.
In Sabbath School, it is perfectly right and permissible to answer questions which arise in connection with the lesson. For this, they cannot justly accuse anyone of causing disturbance, as it is in no wise an infraction of the constituted purpose and rules of the Sabbath School. But if anyone should be specifically requested not to answer questions, then let him refrain from doing so rather than cause contention and displeasure. It is wrong to create controversy or to argue over any points which may arise. Nothing but harm to the cause of Present Truth can result from such procedure. Let your deportment win the people's confidence.
Two of the chief reasons for not staying away from Sabbath School and church services are, (1) that we would be depriving ourselves of the privilege of public worship in the church we helped build, and (2) that by absenting ourselves from services, we would become strangers to our brethren and would have to become reacquainted with them if ever we were to give the message to them. By continuing, though, to go to church, we are then, after the congregation is dismissed, afforded an opportunity to speak with the brethren in the interest of the message, urging them to investigate for themselves either by attending our studies or by reading the publications of Present Truth. Also, there is always an opportunity to get one or more new names and addresses to send in for our mailing list.
So, if we voluntarily stay away from the church services, we lay ourselves open to the charge of being offshoots from the body, and at the same time forfeit the opportunity of coming in contact with the congregation.
Moreover, if in this wise we separate ourselves, then in the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9. when those who have not the "mark" are taken away, we shall not have the same right to claim an inheritance in the Denomination.
In regard to our participating in the Denomination's communion service, we believe that inasmuch as it regularly celebrates this ordinance, we should take part in it in so far as is possible. For should we voluntarily absent ourselves from it, we should then give them a wrong impression. If the church refuses to serve us or to let us serve others in the ordinance of humility, there is nothing we can do but wait until the service is over. And if they ignore us when passing the bread and the wine, we are not to murmur or say anything, but to endure patiently the slight. By so demeaning ourselves, the honest ones in the congregation will see the unchristlike attitude and the folly of the church officers, and will begin to arouse and take in the situation.
Though we may, against our will, be excluded from participating in the ordinances, we nevertheless shall have our names in the Book of Life and like the unbaptized thief on the cross, shall enter Paradise for having done our very best. Therefore, Brethren, let us be faithful in our attending church services and in our deportment "lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." Heb. 4:1.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "COME" AND "COMING"?
Question No. 91:---In "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, p. 20, the point is made that John saw the angel of Revelation 18, not coming, not in flight on his way down, but "come" down, that is, already arrived. But in plain English "come down" means descend. And Sister White says: "as he descended." How, therefore, can the "Rod" rightly lay stress upon the thought that John saw him already "come"--already arrived?
Answer:---When something of high velocity such as a bullet or a bolt of lightning is coming on, its high rate of travel does not give an observer time to view the continuity of its onward progress--its "coming", he is able to behold it only when it is finally arrived--"come." Thus the fact that the angel of Revelation 18:1 is seen, not "coming" (as is the angel of Revelation 7:2), but "come," signifies that he comes suddenly--like the angel of Daniel 9:21.
By contrast, in beholding the approach of an object such as the sun, an observer is well able to keep steadily in view the continuity of its "ascending." Accordingly, the Rod observes that the angel of Revelation 7:2 was seen while yet afar off, "ascending from the east," because he was coming slowly like the sun; whereas the angel of Revelation 18:1 was seen suddenly "come," because the terrific momentum of his downward flight did not allow enough time for the human eye to see him "coming."
This contradistinction between the speed of the two angels, because of the different significance of each, is the point of stress.
IF HALF AND HALF THEN, WHAT ABOUT NOW?
Question No. 92:---"The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, p. 30, makes the statement that the Seventh-day Adventist denomination numbered 300,000 at the time the book was written, this fact suggesting that about half, 144,000, are the five wise virgins and that the other half are the five foolish virgins. But how can this be so when today the Denomination numbers 500,000?
Answer:---Writing in 1930, the Rod was necessarily speaking in terms, not of the then unknown membership of today, but of the established membership at that time. And though the number then (300,000) did naturally suggest about an even division of members (two classes, good and bad--"wise virgins" and "foolish virgins"), yet as there are only 144,000 Israelites to be sealed, the number of the unsealed would have even then exceeded the number of the sealed.
In the final analysis, however, it is neither the Rod's purpose nor its intent to say just how many wise and how many foolish there will be in this first-fruit harvest, for when the whole truth is made known, the figure of the "five wise virgins," besides comprehending the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel, may be found to include a considerable number from the Gentile nations.
DOES MEMBERSHIP SUPERSEDE KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH?
Question No. 93:---Although I am not a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, yet since I have the light on Ezekiel 9 and on the truth of the 144,000, will I fall in the slaughter of the wicked if I do not fully accept and live up to the light? And, conversely, will I be subject to the enjoyment of the privileges of the 144,000 and be one of them if I obey all the light of this message?
Answer:---Even though you are not a member of the church, still you will be held accountable for the light which you have on the subject, for no one finds the truth accidentally, or sees it without the Holy Spirit's aid.
By the same law of accountability or sacred responsibility, even though you may have come into the message only recently you can be eligible for the election of the 144,000 if you live up to the message that is to purify and seal them. Whether or not for a certainty, however, you will be one of them, we do not know, but if you are faithful to the message, you will at least be one with them.
I NOW BELIEVE, BUT AM I ENTITLED TO MEMBERSHIP?
Question No. 94:---If one has read "The Shepherd's Rod" series and has learned and believes what the message teaches, would you advise him first to join, the Seventh-day Adventist denomination?
Answer:---If one has unreservedly accepted the whole Truth, his privilege and duty is to be baptized into church fellowship. But having studied the Third Angel's Message through the medium of the Rod, which is opposed by the Seventh-day Adventist ministry, he may consequently be denied baptism and membership by them. Nevertheless, if he has done all he can to receive baptism and to unite with the church, and they refuse to fellowship him, then his duty is to arrange with Mt. Carmel Center for baptism and membership.
It is the having of one's name in the books, not merely of the church, but of heaven, that is the gilt-edged security of salvation. And it is the acceptance of the message of the hour, and a commensurate endeavor faithfully to obey all its teachings, that win the saint's fellowship and heaven's son-ship certificate.
As one witnesses for Present Truth, its enemies in the Denomination will oppose and disfellowship him if he already holds membership there but such deprivation must not discourage him. "Blessed are ye," says the Lord, "when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." Luke 6:22.
"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.
WHAT ABOUT PETER AND THE "KEYS"?
Question No. 95:---Please explain Matthew 16:15-19. Why did Christ give the Keys to Peter? Why not to another, or to all?
Answer:---Peter was the only one who gave the right answer to the question, "But whom say ye that I am?" Therefore to Peter and to none other, Jesus said, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven," having first assured him that "flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto" him but His Father which is in heaven.
When God makes man to understand something which is beyond finite knowledge, the Bible terms the act, Inspiration. Hence, Jesus pronounced Peter inspired. This Inspiration and Jesus' testimony, therefore, were the Keys to the central theme of man's salvation--knowledge of the Son of God. This is the truth, the gospel, that had to be proclaimed. It was the Present Truth--an inspired message direct from God. Thus possessed of a revelation by which every man was to be judged either for salvation or for condemnation, Peter and his associates became responsible either to lock or to unlock salvation to every living soul under heaven.
Consequently, when Christ gave the Keys to Peter, He gave him the gospel and a divine commission to preach it. And so long as Peter and his co-workers were true to this charge, just so long did they possess the Keys to lock or to unlock to men the kingdom of God, and to have sanctioned in heaven whatever they bound or loosed on earth. Accordingly, with Inspiration . and progressive revelation, Present Truth, go the Keys.
Obviously, therefore, a message from heaven, proclaimed by God's chosen servants, is all-powerful, and by it man's eternal destiny is decided.
Plainly, then, the Keys are not the church herself, but are in the message which she proclaims. So no man or set of men has power to loose or bind with Heaven's approval save at the instance of a message vouchsafed directly from Heaven for them to bear for the time then present: "Different periods in the history of the church have each been marked by the development of some special truth, adapted to the necessities of God's people at that time."--The Great Controversy, p. 609. It has been so from time immemorial.
Noah, too, had the Keys, and was thus able to loose or bind both in heaven and on earth. The fact that even "the gates of hell" could not prevail against the ark, bears witness to this.
And God's promise to Abraham, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3), shows that he, too, had the Keys of heaven.
Also, in the Providentially controlled hand of Moses, the Keys swung open the gates of the kingdom to the freedom and salvation of the righteous, and closed them in doom upon the wicked. Thus "Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all the appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord. And it came to pass as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods." Num. 16:28-32.
Through Moses God committed the Keys to the Hebrew host, and withdrew them in Christ's day when the Jews rejected Him. Then He transferred the Keys to the founders of the Christian church.
But notwithstanding the example of the past the adherents of the apostles eventually also repeated the mistakes of Moses' followers. Yet throughout the Dark Ages, and especially during the Reformation period, God continued to entrust messenger after messenger, and Movement after Movement, with the Divine legacy. But again and again down through the Reformation to the call of William Miller, each successive group repeated the folly of becoming satisfied with a static message, until finally when all the Protestant churches of Miller's day rejected the message for that time, they, too, unwittingly refused to be any longer the custodians of the sacred Keys.
Thus Miller and his associates possessed them until the time of God's next message, the judgment of the dead, when the sacred Keys passed from the Millerite Movement to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. But if it now rejects God's pleadings to anoint its eyes with the eyesalve which He is offering to it, it too, will let the Keys slip from its grasp and pass into the hands of those who are to proclaim the additional message, the judgment of the living, the message of the Loud Cry. (See Early Writings, pp. 277-279). And, tragedy of tragedies! this very thing the Laodiceans are in their blindness doing, thereby repeating the history of God's people through the ages.
TO WHOM SHOULD MY TITHE GO?
Question No. 96:---While still holding membership in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, should one pay tithe to the Davidians?
Answer:---One can best answer this question by asking himself the following questions:
Do I believe that The Shepherd's Rod contains the message of the hour, the sealing message of the 144,000? Have I received any spiritual help from it? Has it caused me to repent of formerly indulged sins? Am I now a better Seventh-day Adventist than I was before I accepted it? Has it made me love the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the brethren more than ever before?
If one's answer to each of these questions is "No," then he should pay his tithe to the church of which he is still a member. If his answer to them is "Yes," and if he is still in doubt as to where he should pay his tithe, then he should further question himself:
Had I continued in the Laodicean course in which the Rod found me, could I be saved and ready to meet the Lord at His coming? Can my Seventh-day Adventist brethren be saved by remaining in their present condition?
If to these questions one's answer is "No," then his answers to the following questions will instruct him where to pay this tithe.
Since I am responsible for the light which is now shining upon my pathway, and since I must help give it to my brethren, should I pay my tithe to the Denomination so that the ministry may have more money with which to fight both the message and my personal endeavors to reach the people with it, and thereby, working at cross-purposes, only help to keep them in darkness? Or, should I pay it to the Davidians, the "storehouse" of Present Truth, where it naturally should go to promote the advancement of a heart-searching reformation and to rescue my Seventh-day Adventist brethren from eternal ruin? And as they themselves are not prepared to meet the Lord (Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 371), then how can they adequately prepare the heathen? In view of all these facts, shall my tithe go to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in behalf of the heathen or to the sealing message in behalf of the brethren? If I dare not place my tithe to the support of what I believe to be Present Truth, then how will it be supported, and where else can I conscientiously place my tithe?
Furthermore, if I place it in the Denomination to be used largely for the evangelizing of worldlings, rather than in the storehouse of Present Truth to be used for the benefit of my brethren, then am I not doing so to the neglect of my own brethren, and thus denying that I am my brother's keeper?
And ought I, moreover, obey the ministers' order to go in search of sheep in the house of Baal, instead of heeding the Lord's express command to take the heaven-sent remedy to the sin-sick sheep in the house of Israel (Matt. 10:6)? Which of these two endeavors would be the more sure to gain for me the commendation, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"? Matt. 25:21.
"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing." Matt. 24:45, 46.
Now if after having answered these questions to your satisfaction, you are still undecided as to what you should do with your tithe, then read Tract No. 4, The Latest News for Mother, 1943 Edition, pp. 63-70. Then "remember Lot's wife," and do as the Lord bids you.
CANNOT MY HOME BE HIS "STOREHOUSE"?
Question No. 97:---Is it Scriptural for one to retain and personally use his tithe and offerings in order to carry on the gospel work in his own community, according to his own plans?
Answer:---Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find permission to use the Lord's money at our own discretion. The only justification for so doing would be sheer inability, for some reason to send it to the Lord's "storehouse." Should one voluntarily, though, engage in such a practice then he would set the wrong example before others. And if following in his lead, others assume the same right, their course must inevitably result in seriously handicapping the Lord's work, bleeding and subverting His treasury, and thus disorganizing His work and reducing the church to a mere shell, while her members are hiring themselves as laborers in the Lord's vineyard, helping themselves to the Lord's money, and running without having been sent! What a Babylon that would be!
Though the Lord commands, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse" (Mal. 3: 10), He does not say to bring all the offerings. Thus, He shows that if we would engage in some personal charity or missionary activity, we should sustain it from offerings, not from the tithe.
"Angels keep a faithful record of every man's work, and as judgment passes upon the house of God, the sentence of each is recorded by his name, and the angel is commissioned to spare not the unfaithful servants, but to cut them down at the time of slaughter....And the crowns they might have worn, had they been faithful, are put upon the heads of those saved by the faithful servants...."Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 198.
IS IT MY DUTY TO SET RIGHT THE LORD'S TREASURY?
Question No. 98:---Should we pay our tithe to the "storehouse" if we know that it is not used rightly?
Answer:---Knowing that our tithe belongs to God's storehouse, our greatest burden should be to see that it is faithfully paid there. Nowhere in the Bible do we find that the Lord has laid upon any tithe payer the policing of the channels through which these funds pass.
The Lord's treasury is under His control, and if He Himself should not see fit to correct an abuse in the handling of His money, certainly we could not correct it however hard we might try. If we guard carefully that part of His work which He entrusts to us, our only concern will be to find out where His "storehouse" is, and then faithfully to deposit His money there. He has not made us responsible for its use; that, He will personally take over--even as He is now "taking the reins in His own hands."
When the Promised Land was divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi received no land for an inheritance, as did the eleven tribes. Instead, the Lord decreed that the tithes of the other tribes were to go to the Levites. This was their inheritance. It was actually their own. And just as they, as the tithe receivers, had no right to dictate to the others, the tithe payers, what to do with their own increase after it had been tithed, so the tithe payers had no right to dictate to the tithe receivers what to do with the tithe. Each tribe was itself to be accountable to the Lord for that which He had entrusted to it. Thus it must be today.
WHAT IS SUBJECT TO TITHING?
Question No. 99:---Deuteronomy 14:22 says: "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year." How shall I tithe my crop?
Answer:---To facilitate answering this question, let us consider for example the case of a potato grower. Say that he is without expense for hired labor, irrigation, rent, etc. If free from such overhead and if his gross returns are $50 an acre, then the whole amount would be subject to tithe, which of course would be $5 an acre. If, however, he must operate with an overhead expense to produce his crop, then obviously such expense should be deducted from the gross value of the produce, and only the remainder tithed. For instance, if the gross value of the crop be $50 an acre, and the overhead expense $10 an acre, then the net increase, the amount subject to tithe, would be $40 an acre, and the tithe only $4 instead of $5 an acre.
If, on the other hand, one is a wage earner, sustaining the expense of social security, transportation to and from work, etc., then he deducts the amount of such expenses from his wages before tithing them. For example, if he receives $100 a month wages, and if he must spend 10 cents a day, or about $2.60 a month, for transportation, he then deducts $2.60 from $100, which leaves $97.40 to tithe.
If one's income is from rentals, then he deducts the amount spent on upkeep of the property from his untithed gross income. Thus figuring one's income, one tithes all his increase.
WHAT ABOUT TITHING GIFTS?
Question No. 100:---Since the Bible teaches that one should tithe all his increase, should not one therefore pay tithe on all gifts?
Answer:---Used as a noun, the word "increase" means "that which is added to the original stock; profits"--the return from one's labor or inheritance. As we do not know whether it can therefore be Scripturally construed to enjoin paying tithe on small love gifts, the decision must rest entirely with the individual.
WHAT "INSURANCE" SHOULD CHRISTIANS CARRY?
Question No. 101:---Does "burial insurance" come under the heading of "life insurance"?
Answer:---In the very nature of it, burial insurance is necessarily a kind of so-called "life insurance." To class it as such, however, is not to condemn it out of hand. The Spirit of Prophecy bears testimony against life insurance, not so much because it is life insurance, but because the world instead of the church is carrying it.
If the fallacy and shame in this practice is not immediately obvious, it becomes painfully evident when one puts to himself the questions: Should a loyal and true citizen of Christ's Kingdom seek help or protection from a citizen of some other kingdom? Has the Lord appointed the world or the church to care for His people? Does He ask His children to sever all relations with the world when they are well, only to turn them back to it when they are in distress, in sickness, or in death, to have it take care of them? Are Christians to trust in Christ only while they are well, and in the Devil when they are sick or dying? Has not the Lord privileged the church to receive a blessing even for giving a drink of water to one of His little ones (Matt. 10:42)?
Self-evident are the answers to these and to similarly pertinent questions. Totaled, they give the over-all correct answer: Never should the church's members have to depend upon the world. They should depend only upon her. Shearing her members as a shepherd shears his sheep to the fullest while they are well and have "wool" to give, the church is morally bound to care for each one when sick or lame and with no more substance to give, and then to provide each of them a saint's burial. Hence, a church which permits her members to carry any kind of personal insurance policy save with the church itself is disgracing Christianity and thus dishonoring the Lord. And a Christian who neglects to make himself worthy of a church-insurance policy is like a foolish man who builds his house upon sand. The needs of the laity having been almost wholly neglected, the Rod is now urgently crying out to us that we, as Present-truth believers and reformers, come up to the help of the Lord and immediately correct these evils.
God's ministers are not called to be salesmen, promoters, or auctioneers in order to raise means with which to carry on His work. Rather they are called to be preachers of the Truth and under-shepherds of His people, tenderly watching over every sheep, for such are worthy of being well cared for and protected not only in health but in sickness, not only in life but in death. It is a reproach to Christ when His people are left to the guardianship either of the world's insurance companies or to the mercy of the world's charitable societies. The church is both morally and lawfully obliged to stretch forth her motherly arms to her children and to give them tender care.
Thus as conservators of the church, we are challenged on this duty also, and we dare not fail. This great responsibility, along with that of carrying our maintenance program at the Headquarters of the "closing work for the church" requires, of course, a greater amount of means than merely the first tithe, the ministerial income. What then?
We cannot resort to the Denomination's practice of raising goals during church services, for such a practice detracts from the object of the meetings, and desecrates both the house of God and His Holy Day. Such unholy trafficking on holy ground must cease! Do not wait until the Lord manifests His great power, and drives out the sheep and oxen along with the money changers, overturns their tables, and scatters their illicit revenues!
The Message therefore announces unequivocally that the Davidians who will please the Lord, will faithfully and systematically contribute a second tithe of his increase to this necessary fund, and thereby help build a defense-wall against the possibility of the Enemy's bringing unholy, time-and-spirit-killing traffic into our devotional and educational gatherings. By so doing, each faithful believer will automatically be investing in this sacred insurance policy which will insure his own and his family's needs not only in this life but also in the life to come.
If one's income is $15 a week, then his first tithe will amount to $1.50; and his second tithe on the remaining $13.50 will amount to $1.35. Thus, his first and second tithe on $15 increase will total $2.85. Is this too much, Brother, Sister, for a work so great and grand as that presented in the Davidian message, so vital to your salvation and welfare?
Let all Present-truth believers faithfully pay a first and second tithe as far as possible, then the Association can maintain its ministerial school, in addition to its boarding school for all needy and worthy children in Present Truth who are of school age, and provide a home for the aged, medical care for the needy sick, food for the hungry, and burial for those who fall at their posts of duty.
This most urgent as well as trying call, Brother and Sister, challenges your faithfulness, your loyalty, your cooperation, your vision in full), comprehending the message, and your love for the Lord's heritage. Rise, therefore, and shine!
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen?" asks the Lord, "to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." Isa. 58:6-12.
"The contributions required of the Hebrews for religious and charitable purposes amounted to fully one-fourth of their income. So heavy a tax upon the resources of the people might be expected to reduce them to poverty; but, on the contrary, the faithful observance of these regulations was one of the conditions of their prosperity. On condition of their obedience, God made them this promise: 'I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field....And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.'"--Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 527.
"When Paul sent Titus to Corinth to strengthen the believers there, he instructed him...in the grace of giving....Their benevolence testified that they had not received the grace of God [the message] in vain. What could produce such liberality but the sanctification of the Spirit?...
"Spiritual prosperity is closely bound up with Christian liberality. The followers of Christ should rejoice in the privilege of revealing in their lives the beneficence of their Redeemer. As they give to the Lord, they have the assurance that their treasure is going before them to the heavenly courts....The sower multiplies his seed by casting it away....By imparting they increase their blessings."--Acts of the Apostles, pp. 344, 345.
The church, therefore, is under as heavy moral, as well as lawful, obligation not only to carry the insurance for all her true and faithful followers but also to look after all their needs should they themselves at anytime become helpless, as are her members to support her work and to obey her divine message.
Setting forth this divinely imposed duty upon the people, and their Laodicean shepherd's utter disregard of it, also the final outcome of their dereliction of duty, Ezekiel warns:
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds...hear the Word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not My flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the Word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require My flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
"I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
"And as for you, O My flock, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 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? And 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.
"Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. 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.
"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. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.
"And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord God. And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God." Ezek. 34:2, 7-31.
WHO ARE WORTHY OF ALMS?
Question No. 102:---Who are the "worthy poor"?
Answer:---The "worthy poor" are those who through misfortune, not through mismanagement or idleness, are wanting for the necessities of life, and who are honestly endeavoring to walk in all the light that is given them.
"'The object of the words of our Saviour in Luke 12:33, has not been clearly presented. I saw that the object of selling is not to give to those who are able to labor and support themselves, but to spread the truth. It is a sin to support and indulge in idleness those who are able to labor. Some have been zealous to attend all the meetings, not for the glory of God, but for the "loaves and fishes." Such would much better have been at home laboring with their hands, "the things that is good," to supply the wants of their families, and to have something to give to sustain the precious cause.'"--Early Writings, p. 95.
Inspired instruction to the church (1 Tim. 5:9), counsels that no widow under sixty years of age is to lean on the church for her subsistence.
Altogether, therefore, we see that the worthy poor are those faithful members whom adversity has despoiled of the material things of life. And we need well to remember that this misfortune may befall any of us at anytime, for, as it is written, "time and chance happeneth to them all." Eccles. 9:11.
"As we have therefore opportunity" says Paul, "let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10), to them who hold a Certificate of Fellowship.
WHAT IS THE SECOND TITHE USED FOR?
Question No. 103:---To what purposes is the second tithe put?
Answer:---"To promote the assembling of the people for religious service, as well as to provide for the poor, a second tithe of all the increase was required. Concerning the first tithe, the Lord had declared, 'I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel.' But in regard to the second he commanded, 'Thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.' This tithe, or its equivalent in money, they were for two years to bring to the place where the sanctuary was established. After presenting a thank-offering to God, and a specified portion to the priest, the offerers were to use the remainder for a religious feast, in which the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow should participate. Thus provision was made for the thank-offerings and feasts at the yearly festivals, and the people were drawn to the society of the priests and Levites, that they might receive instruction and encouragement in the service of God.
"Every third year, however, this second tithe was to be used at home, in entertaining the Levite and the poor, as Moses said, 'That they may eat within thy gates, and be filled.' This tithe would provide a fund for the uses of charity and hospitality.
"And further provision was made for the poor. There is nothing, after their recognition of the claims of God, that more distinguishes the laws given by Moses than the liberal, tender, and hospitable spirit enjoined toward the poor. Although God had promised greatly to bless his people, it was not his design that poverty should be wholly unknown among them. He declared that the poor should never cease out of the land. There would ever be those among his people who would call into exercise their sympathy, tenderness, and benevolence. Then, as now, persons were subject to misfortune, sickness, and loss of property; yet so long as they followed the instruction given by God, there were no beggars among them, neither any who suffered for food.
"The law of God gave the poor a right to a certain portion of the produce of the soil. When hungry, a man was at liberty to go to his neighbor's field or orchard or vineyard, and eat of the grain or fruit to satisfy his hunger. It was in accordance with this permission that the disciples of Jesus plucked and ate of the standing grain as they passed through a field upon the Sabbath day.
"All the gleanings of harvest-field, orchard, and vineyard, belonged to the poor. 'When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field,' said Moses, 'and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it...When thou beatest thine olive-tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again....When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward. It shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt.'
"Every seventh year, special provision was made for the poor. The sabbatical year, as it was called, began at the end of the harvest. At the seed-time, which followed the ingathering, the people were not to sow; they should not dress the vineyard in the spring; and they must expect neither harvest nor vintage. Of that which the land produced spontaneously, they might eat while fresh, but they were not to lay up any portion of it in their store-houses. The yield of this year was to be free for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and even for the creatures of the field.
"But if the land ordinarily produced only enough to supply the wants of the people, how were they to subsist during the year when no crops were gathered?--For this the promise of God made ample provision. 'I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year,' he said, 'and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.'"--Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 530, 531.
So the second tithe, while on a more voluntary basis than the first, is just as important, and is actually a divinely ordained, long-range contribution to one's own welfare. At present it constitutes our general offerings. Formerly it was used to forward our Academy work and to pay some of its back debts. But now, as the Association grows and expands, the use of the second tithe is likewise widening.
In the first place, it now takes care of that part of the Educational work for which the first tithe cannot legitimately be used. And in the second place, it takes care of the needs of the worthy poor. In short, it is actually the original and only true mutual insurance policy, and should be carried by all Davidians who are eligibly holding the Certificate of Fellowship.
So while it is imperative that all Present-truth believers avail themselves to this Certificate of Fellowship, it is even more urgent that all such should be first and second tithe payers, because if a Certificate of Fellowship is extended to those who could be but are not such tithe payers, they would become not only a demoralizing influence among believers but also deadly parasites in their midst. For this obvious reason the Association is therefore obliged to grant the Certificate of Fellowship only to full-fledged believers and cheerful doers of the Word. (In cases where it is impossible to pay a full second tithe, then, of course, a part is acceptable.)
The Denomination's neglect to care for its members, a dereliction for which it is under heavy condemnation, should be a stern lesson to all of us, that we as reformers and message-bearers dare not fail. Privileged to build the old wastes, to raise up the former desolations, and to repair the waste cities the desolations of many generations (Isa. 61:4), we must if necessary tax every nerve and stretch every muscle in order to comply with the Lord's wishes. And more so in this respect because it is for the material as well as the spiritual benefit of each one of us. It is a fool-proof economic plan--part of the balanced program given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai, and long neglected and obscured. As such, it is one of the "divine institutions" (Prophets and Kings, p. 678) that must be restored "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."
Let us therefore honestly and intelligently ask ourselves the questions: If we fall on the world's charity organizations or on the world's insurance companies, then how can we Davidians be the pillars of the church and thus of the world? And has the Lord appointed the church or the world to care for His peculiar people? If we, as saviours, cannot take care of the needs of those who are in the world, then the least we can do is to take care of our own.
"There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." Prov. 11:24, 25.
"The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing." Prov. 20:4.
"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
"The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and He shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in His ways.
"And all the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto the fathers to give thee. The Lord shall open unto thee His good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
"And the Lord shall make thee the head, and the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them." Deut. 28:1-13.
WHAT MAKES UNITY?
Question No. 104:---How can believers attain and maintain unity among themselves?
Answer:---To defeat the Enemy and maintain unity and harmony, let every believer cease finding fault with his brethren; watch his own steps and not theirs; realize that they have the same opportunity as does he to know the difference between right and wrong; bear his own and not their responsibility; esteem them better than himself; and do and say nothing he would not like them to do or say to him.
Let each realize, as did Paul, that charitableness--forbearance through love--is the most indispensable, urgent, and lofty of all attainments:
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
"Charity never faileth: but whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 1 Cor. 13.
Do this, Brethren, and the Devil will flee and your troubles after him.
Remember that "Satan lives, and is active, and every day we need to cry earnestly to God for help and strength to resist him. As long as Satan reigns we shall have self to subdue, besetments to overcome! and there is no stopping-place, there is no point to which we can come and say we have fully attained.
"The Christian life is constantly an onward march. Jesus sits as a refiner and purifier of his people; and when his image is perfectly reflected in them, they are perfect and holy, and prepared for translation."--Testimonies, Vol 1, p. 340.
If Christians never accuse one another, never communicate one another's mistakes, shortcomings, failures, and troubles, they will find themselves so united that nothing can break their common Christian bond. But such a spirit of oneness can be maintained only by a people who keep a tireless vigil over themselves, always to see eye to eye and to speak the same things by forsaking their own ways and thoughts in exchange for the Lord's.
It is imperative, therefore, that every Present-truth believer teach and practice only Present Truth--teach not short of nor beyond what is published, weave not into it private interpretations or constructions, theories and ideas, and do nothing less or nothing more than what the message calls for.
Thus putting aside your own thoughts and your own ways, and availing yourselves of the Lord's (Isa. 55:8, 9), in exclusive devotion to the Spirit of Truth, you will really see eye to eye, and speak the same things. Then only will you be able to dispel the spirit of confusion and to retain the spirit of love and unity.
And since there is strength and spirituality only where there is union, no member of a group of people can afford to neglect his duty in maintaining such Christian unity.
WHAT SHOULD THE HOME BE?
Question No. 105:---Will you please explain Ephesians 5:22-24?
Answer:---"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." Eph. 5:22-24.
Clearly, this divine injunction charges the wife to respect her husband as she would the Lord, the husband being the family's temporal saviour, as the Lord is the church's eternal Saviour. "...Christ...loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." Eph. 5:25, 26. When she disregards this divine injunction, she insults God.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church." Eph. 5:25.
Thus, just as binding and sacred is the husband's responsibility to his wife. He is to regard her as Christ does His church. Whenever he does less than this, he violates the law of the Lord.
Thus, while the church is duty-bound to respect and obey her Lord, the wife is to respect and obey her husband; and the husband is duty-bound to love and care for his wife as the Lord loves and care for His church. From this it follows that the house of the Lord is likened to the house of the husband. Accordingly, in the same way as the Lord controls the affairs of His house, the church, so the husband is to control the affairs of his home, the family.
And since the church's own welfare depends upon its cooperation with the will of the Lord, likewise the family's welfare depends upon its cooperation with the will of the father. Doubly clear, therefore, is the fact that just as Christ holds the headship over the church, so the father holds the headship over the home. And just as the converted church rejoices in pleasing her Head, Christ, so likewise the converted wife rejoices in pleasing her head, her husband. In this happy state, both the man and the woman realize that they are, after all, each other's second self.
"But I would have you know," declares Paul, "that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven." "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God." 1 Cor. 11:3-5, 11, 12.
This beautiful home-relationship is often undermined and wrecked by financial mismanagement or by erroneous education, or by both, because the divine pattern is not followed. The Lord supports His wife, the church, but she herself handles the medium of exchange, the money, to pay for the things she purchases; accordingly therefore, though the husband supports the home, the wife is to handle the money for the things needed to run the home. And if the husband is receiving only a subsistence income, then even more especially should he give his paycheck to the wife, so that she may budget it to cover the home's necessities up to the next pay day. With the wife handling the money, great advantages will thus accrue, for, it is she alone who uses, and therefore alone knows, the things which are needed in the home. Thus knowing her daily financial limitations, she will know precisely what she can and what she cannot buy to run the home.
Naturally, then, she will diligently see that only the most necessary wants of the home are first cared for, thereby preventing any over-buying of one thing on her part, or any under-buying or another thing by her husband, or vice versa--this latter condition inevitably resulting if he holds the purse strings and doles out to her to do the buying. Handled as it should be, the purse will not go flat, and the home will suffer no shortages, no contentions, and no break-ups. Of course, husband and wife should always consult together to secure full mutual approval for whatever they do.
If, however, the family's earnings are more than just a living, then he and the wife may together more broadly budget their earnings, first caring for necessary current expenses, then banking or investing the rest.
Thus to understand that the husband is not merely the money bag, but is the king of the home, the "house-band," and that the wife is not a menial merely to cook the meals, wash the dishes and clothes, scrub the floor, and care for and rear the children, but is the queen of the home, the helpmeet,--to understand all this is to have a true appreciation of the wholesomeness of divinely inspired marriage.
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters, have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised." Prov. 31:10-30.
So while the queenly wife looks after the family's internal affairs, the kingly husband looks after the family's external affairs.
Furthermore, as the Lord Himself is the Principal of His church as a school, and His "wife" (the church, but especially the ministry--those who bring forth converts, children, in the faith), the teacher of their children (members), so the husband is the principal of his home as a school, and his wife the teacher of their children.
"To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation," says the Spirit of Prophecy, "is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.
* * *
"In your life-union your affections are to be tributary to each other's happiness....But while you are to blend as one, neither of you is to lose his or her individuality in the other. God is the owner...Of him you are to ask:...How may I best fulfill the purpose of my creation?...Your love for that which is human is to be secondary to your love for God...Is the greatest outflow of your love toward Him who died for you? If it is, your love for each other will be after Heaven's order.
* * *
"Neither husband nor wife is to make a plea for rulership...Both are to cultivate the spirit of kindness, being determined never to grieve or injure the other....Do not try to compel each other to do as you wish. You cannot do this, and retain each other's love. Manifestations of self-will destroy the peace and happiness of the home. Let not your married life be one of contention. If you do, you will both be unhappy. Be kind in speech and gentle in action, giving up your own wishes. Watch well your words; for they have a powerful influence for good or for ill. Allow no sharpness to come into your voices. Bring into your united life the fragrance of Christlikeness.
"Before a man enters a union as close as the marriage relation, he should learn how to control himself and how to deal with others.
* * *
"My brother, be kind, patient, forbearing. Remember that your wife accepted you as her husband, not that you might rule over her, but that you might be her helper....
"One victory it is positively essential for you both to gain,--the victory over the stubborn will. In this struggle you can conquer only by the aid of Christ. You may struggle hard and long to subdue self, but you will fail unless you receive strength from on high. By the grace of Christ you can gain the victory over self and selfishness. As you live His life, showing self-sacrifice at every step. Constantly revealing a stronger sympathy for those in need of help, you will gain victory after victory. Day by day you will lean better how to conquer self and how to strengthen your weak points of character. The Lord Jesus will be your light, your strength, your crown of rejoicing because you yield your will to His will....By His help you can utterly destroy the root of selfishness.
* * *
"Forbearance and unselfishness mark the words and actions of those who are born again, to live the new life in Christ."--Testimonies, Vol. 7, pp. 45-50.
"The great reformatory movement must begin in presenting to fathers and mothers and children the principles of the law of God....Show that obedience to God's word is our only safeguard against the evils that are sweeping the world to destruction....By their [parent's] example and teaching, the eternal destiny of their households will in most cases be decided....
"If parents could be led to trace the results of their action,...many would break the spell of tradition and custom....Press home upon the consciences of parents the conviction of their solemn duties, so long neglected. This will break up the spirit of Pharisaism and resistance to the truth as nothing else can. Religion in the home is our great hope, and makes the prospect bright for the conversion of the whole family to the truth of God."--Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 119.
Only in such a Christian home is Christ's Kingdom exemplified. And in thus reflecting the Kingdom here, all such homes will, when banded together collectively, make up the Kingdom hereafter. How important, then, that the mother and the father co-operate to the full in conducting the home altogether in Christ's way in order to insure its existence both now and forevermore!
Failure on the part of either, to carry out these principles, will wreck the home and scatter the family not only for the present but also for eternity; whereas careful practice of them will safeguard the family's prosperity and happiness in this world, and insure its eternal continuance in the world to come.
IF TWO DO NOT AGREE, HOW CAN THEY WALK TOGETHER?
Question No. 106:---Why do not the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists and the_______ Movement unite in one?
Answer:---The Davidian Seventh-day Adventists and the ________ Movement do not unite because, unfortunately, they do not agree. Their being in wide variance on some doctrinal issues, makes union under the circumstances impossible.
One such doctrinal difference, for instance, is that the________ Movement teaches that the sins in the Mother Seventh-day Adventist church make her a part of Babylon, whereas the Davidians teach that though she is in a sad condition, yet she is not, and indeed can never be, Babylon: for the sins do not make the name anymore than the name makes the sins. Babylon is not so named because of its sins, neither is it condemned because of being named Babylon, but because of having fallen and having "become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Rev. 18:2.
The Seventh-day Adventist church may be in an even worse condition,--so much worse, in fact, that she does not even know that she is "wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked' (Rev. 3:17); yet in spite of it all, she is called "Laodicea," not Babylon. And her members stand, not to be called out as do those in Babylon, but rather to be left in, and her "angel" (leadership) stands to be spued out. The Davidians are laboring to save both from this tragedy, to renew them in the favor of God and thus keep them in the Mother church, whereas the ____ Movement, having no remedy for the Laodicean malady, is laboring to draw them out.
In believing as it does and in consequently rejecting the Davidian message, the remedy, it makes mutually impossible our uniting with it and its uniting with us.
As the Lord, moreover, has revealed advanced Truth through the Davidians, but none through the _______ group, obviously, then, were there to be any such union, they must necessarily correct their views and then join with us in accepting the eleventh-hour message, rather than our throwing overboard its jewels of truth and retaining only one or two special points which they exalt.
Besides, for what they are now doing, they do not even lay claim to the command of Inspirational authority. So not having the prophetic gift among them, the _____ group must be running without being sent.
"If unity," says the Spirit of Prophecy, in expressing the attitude of the early Christian church, "could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war."--The Great Controversy, p 45.
"We are to unify, but not on a platform of error." --Mrs. E. G. White, Series B:2, p. 47.
Thus one may easily see that, though our fervent desire is to fulfill Christ's prayer for unity, we dare not attempt to do so by sacrificing Truth for then we would not be one with Christ, even were we one with all others.
"There is danger of our being so over-zealous to keep out of Babylon," says the founder of the Seventh-day Adventist church, "that we shall commit her most noted blunder--that of sticking a stake and refusing to pull it up and advance. When we cease to unlearn errors, we shall fall like those who have gone before us. We have learned much, and no doubt there is much more for us to learn....It is the 'follow on' and the 'go through' spirit that will finally land the remnant 'without fault' on the heavenly Mount Zion. My conclusion is that we should give up no Scripture truth, but that our false applications and interpretations of Scripture, and consequent false ideas of order and propriety, should be given up as fast as possible."--The Review and Herald, May 29, 1860.
HOW TO AVOID REARING MISFITS?
Question No. 107:---How may we best help children between the ages of two and twelve, to occupy their time?
Answer:---Because most children in this Laodicean era are in some respects allowed to grow up like weeds instead of as trained human beings, the question of their properly utilizing their time is very pertinent indeed.
In the first place, all parents should realize the value of having their children so trained as faithfully, intelligently, and courageously to shoulder life's duties and to meet its problems, if they are not to become parasites or social misfits, just square pegs in round holes. Nevertheless, many parents do let their children drift along unequipped to care for themselves, and indifferent to life's manifold challenge. Then, when mature these misshapen souls find life a dreary drudgery instead of an excellent joy; at everything they attempt, at every turn in the way, they meet with bitter defeat. Their homes become untidy and unsanitary, unfit to live in; and their families, in turn, become depressed, useless, unfit company for society.
Children thus reared, left to their own devisings, to fritter and dawdle away their time as they will, are like the grasshopper. Playing, singing and sunning himself all summer long, giving no thought to the approaching chill breath of winter, before which the green grass vanishes from the fields, the grasshopper has idled away his time, and now he must starve for want of food, and freeze in the open field. But the ant, who has busily worked the whole summer through, has plenty to eat and a good warm winter home. Only poor judgment and blind love will leave children to them selves to grow up in the grasshopper habit, untrained in the wisdom of doing all their work in the six appointed days so as to deserve a rest on the seventh. Parents who allow their children to fool away time, and thereby laying deadly snares before them; they are unfitting them for both this life and the life to come.
In giving them a right home training, one of the most important first lessons to teach them is always to have a regular place in which to dress and to undress, and at all times to hang their clothes in the proper place, never laying them just anywhere. Thus having a place for everything and putting everything in its place, will from the very beginning of the family not only lighten the housework and keep their home clean and neat and orderly during the night as well as during the day, and incidentally add to the life of both their clothes and their furniture, but will also go a long way toward cultivating a cleanliness and tidiness of person and a well-ordered and organized life.
Among the many useful as well as edifying pursuits for children, are the various home duties such as washing dishes, making beds, sweeping dusting, washing windows, scrubbing floors and woodwork, baking, cooking, and even making simple articles of clothing and furniture.
Then there are the outdoor employments such as keeping the premises neat and clean, gardening, raising poultry, etc., in addition to other practical employments, including the making of purchases economically and in a business-like manner.
And foremost of all, reading and memorizing passages from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy should be carefully cultivated as a crowning recreation.
To have a fully rounded and integrated personality and character, a child must properly develop the physical and the mental as well as the spiritual faculties. To this end, his training should begin very early in life--just as soon as he is able to walk and speak--because if he is left to squander his time until grown older, he will acquire a zebra-like nature--one impossible to change from doing nothing to doing something.
To avert this character deformity with the virtually irreparable lifetime damage which results, early assign him certain home duties, and when he learns to master one thing promote him to another. The home should be a school, not a playhouse. Neither should he be left to play so much of the time outside of the home as to habituate himself only to life of play and mischief.
And by all means never allow your children to fall into the slothful habit of leaving the morning's duties for the afternoon, or one day's work for the next. Dishes should be washed immediately after each meal; never should the food be left to dry and to harden on them. "Six days," says the Lord, "shalt thou labor, and do all thy work." Ex. 20:9.
Where there are several children in the home the daily home-duties should be divided among them, and the parents assume the duties of teacher. In this way each youngster will not only keep himself from mischief and bad company but will also become useful and industrious, at the same time building a strong physique, a noble character, and a happy personality. Insured this sort of childhood growth, one will rarely if ever drift into vagabondage of infidelity.
But, allow your child to fall into the wretched habit of getting something done only after you have coaxed or scolded him, and you will surely teach him to hate both yourself and the work. And hence, instead of training him to love a life of industry that will make him happy and independent, you will be driving him into idleness, the very thing that you are trying to keep him from, and even predisposing him to quarrelsomeness. But let him know that what you say, you mean, and he will then be far less likely to think you wrong, and in turn still less likely to contest your word and to think any disobedience to it not only justifiable but even commendable.
Then, too, strive to lead your children to love their work by keeping up their interest in it. Be as God. Teach them in the same manner in which He is teaching you. In it written that “whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.” Heb. 12:6. He explains the right and wrong sides of life, and plainly warns you of the results that will follow from whichever course you may purse--a blessing from the one and a curse from the other. Do likewise with your children. But be careful that in so doing, you do not turn them against God by threatening them that if they are not good, He will punish them in this way or in that way. Rather teach them that He is pleading with them to avoid the evil course because it, of itself, will lead them to reap curses rather than blessings.
In impressing upon the young mind these two consequences, use simple illustrations. Show for example, that if one fails to remove the food bacteria from his teeth by regularly brushing them after meals, they will become bacteria-eaten, as fruit becomes worm-eaten when the trees are not sprayed and cared for, and the result ultimately will be aches, loss of teeth, ugliness, and expense. From this specific sequence of cause and effect, lead the child's mind to see its universal application--that violating the laws of God in any respect will naturally result in pain, sorrow, bad character, a dishonorable life, and an untimely death.
To be reckoned with also in this vital and urgent concern, is the ironical fact that children incline naturally toward wrong habits instead of right ones, as carnivorous animals naturally seek flesh instead of herbs. "Foolishness," we are reminded, "is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Prov. 22:15. He must be patiently and wisely trained, disciplined, chastened. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." Prov. 22:6. But if he becomes casehardened and intractable, refusing to be trained then "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." Prov. 19:18; 13:24. Indeed, "withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod and shalt deliver his soul from hell." Prov. 23:13, 14.
Up to five or six years of age, depending upon the individual temperament, children may be subjected to corporal punishment when other measures of discipline and correction have been exhausted without success. If on such occasions, the rod is properly used, the child may so respond that he will never need it again. If, however, the necessity should again arise, then be exceedingly careful what you do. For such children as require more drastic punishment than the average child, may become incorrigible and develop a fear complex and corresponding hatred of their chasteners. So, while such chastisement is calculated to prevent a recurrence of a major evil in them, it is likely to bring in an even worse evil, unless carefully studied steps are taken to insure against its brutalizing effect. It must be administered with a commensurate and convincing demonstration of such deep-felt love and yearning over the erring one that he will not lose filial affection and respect for his chasteners, and his home-life becomes such a hunting nightmare to him as to drive him to run away at the opportune moment.
Parents "should first reason with their children, clearly point out their wrongs, show them their sin, and impress upon them that they have not only sinned against their parents, but against God. With your own heart subdued and full of pity and sorrow for your erring children, pray with them before correcting them. Then your correction will not cause your children to hate you. They will love you. They will see that you do not punish them because they have put you to inconvenience, or because you wish to vent your displeasure upon them; but from a sense of duty, for their good, that they may not be left to grow up in sin."--Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 398.
At all costs, they must always be influenced to feel that their chasteners are their best friends, not bullies and enemies.
"The mother may ask, 'Shall I never punish my child?' Whipping may be necessary when other resorts fail; yet she should not use the rod if it is possible to avoid doing so. But if milder measures prove insufficient, punishment that will bring the child to its senses should in love be administered. Frequently one such correction will be enough for a lifetime, to show the child that he does not hold the lines of control."--Counsels to Teachers, p. 116.
But habitually to grab children on any and every provocation, and angrily shake, cuff, slap, spank, or whip them, and between times hold over their heads the threat to strike them, is the most damaging folly, abhorred alike by every consideration of intelligence, decency, and humanity. Its continuance will harden and brutalize, ruin instead of save. It will make its victims vicious little animals instead of noble God-like children.
"Some parents correct their children severely in a spirit of impatience, and often in passion. Such corrections produce no good result. In seeking to correct one evil, they create two. Continual censuring and whipping hardens children and weans them from the parents."--Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 398.
When, however, you do have to discipline, be serious, mean business, and do a good, sensible job of it. See that you do it so well that you will not have to do it over.
Today, as never before, youth are asserting a premature self-confidence, to such an extent that they even threaten to leave home if they are not granted their every wish. But do not compromise with them at this critical period, or they will finally force things to such an issue that they will eventually have to run away in order to make good their bluff. Do not give in. Assure them that if they want to go, you will help them to get started out openly and honorably, but that they need not shamefacedly and sneakingly run away.
Finally, do not make them lose respect for you or for your religion. They do not need so much of the doctrines at first as they do the simple lessons of life religiously imprinted daily upon their minds. Make them love your religion by helping them to understand it, to see its truth and beauty. Never try to force them to take it; they will only hate it. And never forget that if your course leads them to rule over you instead of you over them, or you to rule over them with force instead of with love, it will eternally ruin them and, yes, you, too. Then when God asks, "Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" you will be speechless.
Let every parent or guardian, by word and by example instill in the minds of the young the fact that
Time Is Precious
"The life of Christ from His earliest years was a life of earnest activity."--Christ's Object Lessons, p. 345.
"Our time belongs to God. Every moment is His, and we are under the most solemn obligation to improve it to His glory. Of no talent He has given will He require a more strict account than of our time.
"The value of time is beyond computation. Christ regarded every moment as precious, and it is thus that we should regard it. Life is too short to be trifled away. We have but a few days of probation in which to prepare for eternity. We have no time to waste, no time to devote to selfish pleasure, no time for the indulgence of sin. It is now that we are to form characters for the future, immortal life. It is now that we are to prepare for the searching Judgment.
"The human family have scarcely begun to live when they begin to die, and the world's incessant labor ends in nothingness unless a true knowledge in regard to eternal life is gained. The man who appreciates time as his working day will fit himself for a mansion and for a life that is immortal. It is well that he was born.
"We are admonished to redeem the time. But time squandered can never be recovered. We can not call back even one moment. The only way in which we can redeem our time is by making the most of that which remains, by being co-workers with God in His great plan of redemption.
"In him who does this, a transformation of character takes place. He becomes a son of God, a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King. He is fitted to be the companion of the angels.
"Now is our time to labor for the salvation of our fellow-men. There are some who think that if they give money to the cause of Christ, this is all they are required to do; the precious time in which they might do personal service for Him passes unimproved. But it is the privilege and duty of all who have health and strength to render to God active service. All are to labor in winning souls to Christ. Donations of money can not take the place of this.
"Every moment is freighted with eternal consequences. We are to stand as minute men, ready for service at a moment's notice.
The opportunity that is now ours to speak to some needy soul the word of life may never offer again. God may say to that one, 'This night thy soul shall be required of thee, and through our neglect he may not be ready. In the great Judgment-day, how shall we render our account to God?
"Life is too solemn to be absorbed in temporal and earthly matters, in a treadmill of care and anxiety for the things that are but an atom in comparison with the things of eternal interest. Yet God has called us to serve Him in the temporal affairs of life. Diligence in this work is as much a part of true religion as is devotion. The Bible gives no indorsement to idleness. It is the greatest curse that afflicts our world. Every man and woman who is truly converted will be a diligent worker.
"Upon the right improvement of our time depends our success in acquiring knowledge and mental culture. The cultivation of the intellect need not be prevented by poverty, humble origin, or unfavorable surroundings. Only let the moments be treasured. A few moments here and a few there, that might be frittered away in aimless talk; the morning hours so often wasted in bed; the time spent in traveling on trains or railway cars, or waiting at the station; the moments of waiting for meals, waiting for those who are tardy in keeping an appointment,--if a book were kept at hand, and these fragments of time were improved in study, reading, or careful thought, what might not be accomplished. A resolute purpose, persistent industry, and careful economy of time, will enable men to acquire knowledge and mental discipline which will qualify them for almost any position of influence and usefulness.
"It is the duty of every Christian to acquire habits of order, thoroughness, and dispatch. There is no excuse for slow bungling at work of any character. When one is always at work, and the work is never done, it is because mind and heart are not put into the labor. The one who is slow, and who works at a disadvantage, should realize that these are faults to be corrected. He needs to exercise his mind in planning how to use the time so as to secure the best results. By tact and method, some will accomplish as much work in five hours as another does in ten. Some who are engaged in domestic labor are always at work, not because they have so much to do, but because they do not plan so as to save time. By their slow, I dilatory ways, they make much work out of very little. But all who will, may overcome these fussy, lingering habits. In their work let them have a definite aim. Decide how long a time is required for a given task, and then bend every effort toward accomplishing the work in the given time. The exercise of the will power will make the hands move deftly.
"Through lack of determination to take themselves in hand and reform, persons can become stereotyped in a wrong course of action; or by cultivating their powers they may acquire ability to do the very best of service. Then they will find themselves in demand anywhere and everywhere. They will be appreciated for all that they are worth.
"By many children and youth, time is wasted that might be spent in carrying home-burdens and thus showing a loving interest in father and mother. The Youth might take upon their strong young shoulders many responsibilities which some one must bear."--Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 342-345.
"It is the very essence of all right faith to do the right thing at the right time."--Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 24.
(All italics ours)
WHAT SHALL YOUR NEXT STEP BE?
Now if you have enjoyed, appreciated, and profited by this question-and-answer excursion through Book No. 4, and if you desire to continue, then send for Book No. 5. It will be mailed as a Christian service without charge or obligation.