Vol. 12, No. 3
Isa. 62:1 -- "For Zion's sake will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth."
This verse denotes that it will take much speaking and effort on God's part before righteousness and salvation will go forth out of Zion and Jerusalem. It is because God's people need a work to be done for them that will cause Him to continue speaking and working until righteousness and salvation are accomplished. We may be certain also that in this process we as a body will win; but some as individuals will lose out because they, like rebellious Israel of old, will not submit themselves to the necessary requirements that God lays before them. They refuse to exchange their ways for His ways and their thoughts for His thoughts.
Isa. 62:2 -- "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name."
A new name is to be given to His people as a body, and perhaps even as individuals also just as it was in the cases of Abraham, Sarah, and Jacob. For after our characters are changed God may wish to give us names that would be indicative of that fact if our present names should not then be fitting. God is going to make His people so glorious that kings who now glory in their power will then acknowledge the glory of His people. Consequently, if we are to be among that people, then we are going to be made known in all the world even to all kings at the time when God makes His people known, and our names will be classed forever among the names of the great men of the Scriptures. Do you actually realize that?
Isa. 62:3 -- "Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God."
We are also to be a crown of glory in the hands of God.
Isa. 62:11 -- "Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him."
This glorious announcement is to be made just before we receive our reward. And of what will our reward consist if we are faithful? -- Eternal life; a place in the Kingdom of Christ; a complete cleansing of body, soul and spirit, thus making us a people without guile, a crown of glory unto God; and everything else that goes with it.
Let us now turn to
Joel 2:1 -- "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand."
Here a command is given to someone to blow a trumpet and sound an alarm. Why?--"For the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand."
Joel 2:2 -- "A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations."
In this day of gloominess and thick darkness there is also to be a great and strong people. If they are to be greater and stronger than any in the past, then they will exceed in strength even Samson. What is it that will make that people so strong? -- The very first requisite is faith. The second is courageous action.
We must continue to believe even in the face of the severe circumstances that will present themselves to challenge our faith. We must realize, therefore, that not a little faith but very much faith is required of any who would be among this great people. Ever remember that the Israelite multitude and later the whole nation completely lost out simply because of their unbelief which led to their rebellion against God's ways until there was no remedy.
As an incidental thought we might mention also that Samson was obedient to a strict diet and a specific injunction concerning his hair; and his strict adherence to these requirements did prove to be the provisions he had to meet in order to possess superior muscular strength. This example teaches us that if God requires of us something which He may even require of no others, the purpose in it can be served in no other way than by our strictly adhering to it. If God, for instance, has given us dietary and other requirements to follow in order to keep us separate from the world so that He can deliver us from the evils in the world, then we must obey them if we would be delivered.
Now let us return our attention to Joel's prophecy by reading
Joel 2:3 -- "A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the Garden of Eden before them and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them."
What will make the land before them as a garden and behind them a desolate wilderness? -- They will leave nothing behind but desolation, for they will gather out all the saints into the Kingdom of God which is ahead of them.
Let us turn to
Isa. 33:14 -- "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"
Fire is both before and behind, and only those, therefore, who are insulated then with the righteousness of Christ will be able safely to stand between these two fires.
Isa. 33:15-19 -- "He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers? Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand."
We do not now see the great men joining themselves with God's people, and moreover, God's Truth does not come to us in a deeper speech than we can perceive, neither in a tongue which we cannot understand. God's people will be able to understand and they will also be able to live in the midst of the fire. Besides all this their bread and water will be sure.
Let us reread verses 15 to 19 and include verse 20.
Isa. 33:15-20 -- "He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers? Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand. Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken."
This is why kings shall at last seek our glory.
Joel 2:4 -- "The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run."
The appearance of horses is that of strength, nobility, and even graceful beauty.
Joel 2:5, 6 -- "Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness."
When the Israelites went out of Egypt, all the nations trembled. So will it be with us in the ingathering of the saints.
Joel 2:7, 8 -- "They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded."
This army will act in perfect unity, and each will tend well to his own given part of the work. Moreover, none will suffer harm.
Joel 2:9 -- "They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief."
In the time of the image of the beast when harm will threaten God's army, they will nevertheless fearlessly go out to carry the Gospel everywhere.
Joel 2:10 -- "The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining."
This suggests that His people will have power of the kind which Joshua and Hezekiah and Elijah had.
Joel 2:11 -- "And the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His Word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?"
We must be righteous if we would abide it.
Joel 2:12 -- "Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning."
For this reason we should now turn to God with all our hearts, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. This is what God calls for now from each of us individually.
Joel 2:13 -- "And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil."
When we rend our hearts we will in other words be inwardly repentant, and it will be our experience only if we are genuine believers, knowing what we believe, and believing what we know.
Joel 2:14-18 -- "Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them; wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
"Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people."
Not the heathen, but God is to rule over His people. Nevertheless, in order to obtain this blessing it will require the most earnest supplication and effort on the part of His people.
Joel 2:19 -- "Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto His people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen."
These are God's promises to us.
Micah 4 and Isaiah 2 clearly outline the great blessings God has in store for those who choose to serve Him. For our further encouragement today, let us turn to
Mic. 4:1 -- "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it."
God s Kingdom, which Daniel in his second chapter said would be set up "in the days of these kings," is here referred to as "the mountain."
Mic. 4:2 -- "And many nations shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
To continue our reading, let us now skip a few verses and read very carefully
Mic. 5:1-15 -- "Now gather thyself in troops O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will He give them up until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
"And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
"And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee and I will destroy thy chariots: and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: and I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen such as they have not heard."
God has determined that He will cut out all wickedness, and when He does it His people will then be made great through it. In Isaiah chapters 32 and 34 a further description is given of what the Lord has done and will yet do, and then, speaking of His righteous people, we read in
Isa. 35:1, 2 -- "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God."
His land will yet blossom abundantly and bring forth fruit, and there will also be rejoicing, joy, and singing when the Lord's glory and excellency will be seen.
Isa. 35:5-7 -- "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes."
In the time of the Loud Cry signs and wonders and miracles will follow the believers. All this awaits those who are awake to these facts and who devote their main interests and even their very lives to the furtherance of God's cause, His Kingdom.
David applied himself well to his work, and God saw It and made him king, for in order to be a good king a man must tend well to his business. In God's work as in everything else, men can succeed only if they take real and sustaining interest in the work He gave them to do. It would be profitable for each of us to examine ourselves closely for the purpose of determining whether we are in every respect seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness. If we have a clear vision of what God is to do, and if we really want to receive the promised blessings we will in no wise find ourselves guilty of hindering or delaying there which makes possible their fulfillment.
"Often the Christian life is beset by dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before, and bondage or death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, 'Go forward.' We should obey this command, even though our eyes cannot penetrate the darkness, and we feel the cold waves about our feet. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obedience till every shadow of uncertainty disappears, and there remains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey at all. Unbelief whispers, 'Let us wait till the obstructions are removed and we can see our way clearly;' but faith courageously urges an advance, hoping all things, believing all things." -- Patriarchs and Prophets, page 290.
To those who wish to know when the living in the church will be judged in the books of heaven we give you the benefit of Brother Houteff's clear-cut statements which he wrote in answering specific questions on the subject:
1. "As to whether this work of separation, or investigation of who has and who has not the 'wedding garment,' is now taking place, I may say that it is not, for the reason that we are now in the marking time of Ezekiel chapter nine, not yet in the time of investigation of who has the mark, and who has it not. The marking itself is not the separation, not a work of the sanctuary in Heaven. It takes place in the church on earth as well as in the home. Each one for himself decides his own case either by sighing and crying for the abominations in the midst there of, or by not so doing. Thus they themselves determine whether to be marked, or to be left without the mark and be cut down by the angel's slaughter weapons. The only judging which the sanctuary in Heaven does in regard to these is to give the right for one class of the dead to arise either in the first resurrection, or in the second resurrection; and to give right for one class of the living to stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb for translation, and for the other to die at the slaughter weapons of the angels, and to arise in the second resurrection.
"Thus it is seen that the time of the sanctuary judgment among the living first fruits starts at the time of the slaughter, and continues thereafter during the time of the second fruits."
2. "In our conversation I meant to explain that we are not in the sanctuary-judgment of the living, not in the time for our sins to be blotted out, but in the time for us to decide (judge ourselves) either to receive the mark and be saved, or to remain without it and be taken by the slaughter weapons of the angels. We are not in the seventh seal; the half hour silence is yet future.
"I tried to explain that we have not advanced far enough in the harvest of the first fruits to have the tares cut down from the ground where they are rooted (the church), or to have the wheat put into the 'barn' (the Kingdom); but that we are in the time when the distinction between the tares and the wheat is becoming more and more apparent while the stocks of wheat are being 'marked' so that when the reapers of the tares pass by they will leave the wheat on its stocks until all the tares are cut out. Then the wheat will be gathered and put into the 'barn' (the Kingdom). The great harvest, the harvest of the second fruits, is to follow after."
3. "The Judgment of the Living on earth commences with Ezekiel 9, but in heaven (in the books) after Ezekiel 9. The Judgment of the Living is in two phases: The first phase is a separation that takes away the wicked from among the righteous, Ezekiel 9. The second phase is the book work when the investigation takes place, and when the sins of the righteous and the names of the wicked are blotted out of the records in Heaven. This second phase, the judicial session in heaven, is what commences after Ezekiel 9."
4. "It is true that The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 172, reveals that we are entering into the time of the Judgment of the Living, but it does not say that we have entered into it, neither does it say that the Judgment of the Living has already begun, not that part which we as Seventh-day Adventists call Judgment, blotting out sins and sinners from the books of records, -- the separation. The very fact that we are still together, commingled the good with the bad, itself speaks the Truth."
5. "The reason that you have not been able to ascertain from the publications how we are to know when the Judgment will pass from the dead to the living is that you have failed to study the message in its entirety. The trumpet is even now blowing, but as yet the day has not been announced. We can, however, say that the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 is what marks the Judgment passing from the dead to the living."
6. "Regarding the Judgment, although the message of The Shepherd's Rod does announce the Judgment of the Living a number of times, yet according to The Answerer, Book No. 2, pp. 38-42, we are still in the time of the Judgment of the Dead. You will also notice that in the reference you mentioned (The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 162), it says the Investigation of the living 'commences after the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9.'"
7. "With regard to your answers to the questions in the Sabbath School Quarterly, we want you to know that you got along just fine throughout the entire lesson with the exception of your passing mention that the Judgment of the Living began in 1929. You will find that the message consistently teaches that the Judgment of the Living has not yet commenced, that we are still living in the time of the Judgment of the Dead, and that the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 is what marks the judgment passing from the dead to the living. Read the White-House Recruiter."
8. "The commencement of the Judgment of the Dead was marked by 'lightnings and thunderings and voices' (Revelation 4:5), whereas the commencement of the sanctuary phase of the Judgment of the Living is marked by 'voices, and thunderings, and lightnings and an earthquake' (Rev. 8:5). See The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, pp. 220, 221, and Tract No. 15, p. 64."
9. "As to the time of the commencement of the Judgment of the Living, see The Answerer, Book No. 1, pp. 94, 95, and The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 220 which says: '...when the seal is opened, and the Judgment of the Living begins, we must know it... The date of that glorious event...will be made known at the fulfillment of Revelation 8:5.'"