Vol. 11, No. 3
(The sermon Brother Houteff delivered November 11, 1944 has been selected for this issue of the Code because it deals with the importance of the Certificate of Fellowship. It is particularly timely since it is now in order for the holders of the Certificate to have theirs renewed, and it explains to new Davidians the significance of being eligible for it.)
Prayer Thought: "God has shown me that at the very time that the signs of the times are being fulfilled around us, when we hear, as it were, the tread of the hosts of heaven fulfilling their mission, men of intelligence, men in responsible positions, will be putting rotten timbers into their character-building, -- material which is consumable in the day of God, and which will decide them to be unfit to enter the mansions above. They have refused to let go the filthy garments; they have clung to them as if they were of precious value. They will lose heaven and an eternity of bliss on account of them." -- Testimonies to Ministers, p. 446.
At the very time that the signs of the times are being fulfilled around us men will be putting rotten timber into their character instead of improving themselves. Why? -- Because Satan needs them as his agents. How long will they continue in their evil course? -- A short time and then it will all be brought to view. This reading says it is men of intelligence who are engaged in God's service that will be putting the rotten timber into their characters. This should be a great warning to us, for right now is the time the servant of the Lord is talking about. Let us not play the fool.
Matt. 24:45-51 -- "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has 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. Verily I say unto you, That He shall make him ruler over all His goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Two types of servants are here described. The servant is the ministry, those appointed to rule over the household, the church. God's servants, the ministry, are to give meat in due season, present Truth -- Truth which is applicable to the time in which we are now living, not 1844. Present Truth from 1844 to our time was not the institution of the Sabbath or the state of the dead, for they have been truths since the beginning. True, they had been lost sight of. The knowledge that since 1844 the Judgment of the Dead has been in progress in the heavenly sanctuary is what has constituted present Truth since 1844. We were made to understand what was going on in our time. But when the Judgment for the Living is about to commence then the Judgment for the Dead is no longer present Truth.
Present Truth comes only from God. Man does not know the seasons, and therefore God Himself must appoint the time for present Truth to be revealed.
There is a special blessing promised to those whom He finds giving meat in due season. But what was meat in due season in 1844 most likely would not be meat in due season in 1944. If we do not desire meat in due season, however, He does not give it to us.
Matt. 24:47 -- "Verily I say unto you, That He shall make him ruler over all His goods."
This is speaking of him who faithfully gives meat in due season. The "goods" is present Truth. We are told in Malachi that before the great and terrible day of the Lord, Elijah is to come. Then when Elijah appears his message will be present Truth. He is to warn and prepare God's people for the great and dreadful day of the Lord. To be sure his message will be present Truth before the great and dreadful day of the Lord as much as Noah's message was present Truth before the flood. It verily will mean the difference between life and death to God's people to whom it is delivered today as Noah's message meant life or death to the people in his day.
The verses we have been studying this afternoon show that there are two classes of servants: the faithful and the unfaithful.
Matt. 24:48-51 -- "But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth His coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
If the servant says, "My Lord delayeth His coming," it would indicate that he had expected the coming of the Lord to occur sooner. The early pioneers among us as Adventists looked for His imminent coming, but now the banners we used to see in our churches foretelling His coming "in this generation" are disappearing. Moreover, we as a people are enjoined to follow a restricted diet, and because the Lord has not come many are eating and drinking with the drunken. The Lord comes to such a servant in an hour he does not expect Him. Then shall the Kingdom of Heaven be likened to ten virgins.
Matt. 25:1-13 -- "Then shall the Kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
Here is represented a church which believes that the Bridegroom is coming, believes in the second coming of Christ. In 1844 the ten virgins went into their place of waiting for His coming, five of whom took no oil with them while the other five took extra oil with them. The lamps aptly symbolize the heart, and it is one's belief in Truth that lights up the heart. Yes, it is Truth which must be indited by the Holy Spirit that gives light.
The message which was meat in due season in 1844 was the Truth Sister White brought -- the Judgment for the Dead -- and it was this message which was represented by the oil that was in the lamps when the ten virgins first went in waiting for the Bridegroom to come. The oil that was in the vessels of the five wise virgins must represent an additional Truth, something other than what was in the lamps. It is this additional Truth which is to supplement the 1844 Truth and thus supply sufficient light to the time of the coming of the Bridegroom. And what must this additional Truth be? -- It must be the truth of the Judgment for the Living, the last message.
In this parable is seen great confusion when at last the virgins, all ten of them, wake up and learn for a certainty that the Bridegroom is on His way. Now they all find themselves in need of light to illuminate the prevailing darkness about them and to light their way to meet the Bridegroom. But to the utter and painful realization of the five foolish virgins who had failed to procure extra oil (truth of the Judgment for the Living) as the five wise did when it was time to do so are now faced with terrible darkness. Frantically they make their pitiful appeal to the five wise virgins that they share their oil with them.
Now they are fully awake to the fact that they had been mistaken in their belief that the message of the Judgment for the Dead was sufficient Truth to carry them to the end.
Do you not see that the old Spirit of Prophecy should have already been in our hearts (lamps), and in order to go through successfully to the coming of the Bridegroom we must also have in our possession and readily accessible to us the "additional message" mentioned in Early Writings, p. 277, the "extra oil," the truth of the Judgment for the Living, the great and dreadful day of the Lord?
Let us say that now we have the extra oil and those represented by the foolish virgins come to us and plead that we share the oil with them. Would any of us refuse to give it to them? -- I think we would not. But in the parable the wise women told the foolish women to go and buy for themselves, for they had only enough oil for their own use. You know the sad story -- that the foolish were unable to go buy the oil and get back before the door was closed.
Who are those who sell the oil? And why would not the wise give to the foolish?
The wise told the foolish to go and buy oil; therefore the wise must also have had to buy theirs. The extra oil being the "additional message," the message of the Judgment for the Living, must have cost something to those who have it, and they must have paid someone for it. Yes, we had to buy the oil and we could not buy it from everybody.
Many have asked who is eligible to lead in the service of the work? The answer that goes out from Mt. Carmel is that anyone not holding a Certificate of Fellowship cannot be a Davidian teacher. He can listen only. Yet just the granting of a Certificate of Fellowship is a cheap thing. That in itself would have no significance. Who receives the Certificate? -- Those who have personally studied all the Message and believe It; those overcoming temptation; those complying with all the requirements; those who put their treasure where moth and thieves cannot enter; those who keep all the commandments; those who are not flesh-eaters, drunkards, or tobacco users; those who do not rob God of tithes and offerings.
We would freely give literature to those who ask for it, but that does not give the light. It is only when one appropriates the oil, the Truth, to his everyday living that the oil becomes transformed into light. It is when one pays this price, and thus becomes eligible to receive a Certificate, signifying he has complied with all the requirements, that he has the light. Hence, though we can freely hand out tracts, we cannot freely hand out the Certificate of Fellowship.
All the parables show different lessons. That is why there are so many parables. The one of the talents shows that we must work, for we are to double our talents. Studying and believing alone does not open the door. We must comply with all the requirements -- pay the price in other words. And we cannot steal the oil. Those desiring the Certificate of Fellowship must pay the price. It does take time and effort, and the individual alone can determine how soon he can get his Certificate, for it all depends on how soon he pays the price.
We individually must watch and pray and be ready always, for we know not the day and hour of our personal visitation to have bestowed upon us God's mark and seal for eternity. Therefore be ready always.