Vol. 1 Timely Greetings Nos. 42, 43
THE ONLY PEACE OF MIND
Numbers 42, 43
Copyright, 1953 Reprint
All rights reserved
ZION'S REWARD AND GOD'S MIGHTY EFFORT
THE YEAR OF HIS REDEEMED--
THE SIGN OF THE DAY OF VENGEANCE
Timely Greetings, Vol.1,No.42 1
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Our Only Hope of Overcoming
I shall read from "The Mount of Blessing," beginning on page 205, the last paragraph:
"The only hope for us if we would overcome is to unite our will to God's will, and work in cooperation with Him, hour by hour, and day by day. We can not retain self, and yet enter the kingdom of God. If we ever attain unto holiness, it will be through the renunciation of self, and the reception of the mind of Christ. Pride and self-sufficiency must be crucified. Are we willing to pay the price required of us? Are we willing to have our will brought into perfect conformity to the will of God? Until we are willing, the transforming grace of God can not be manifest upon us."
We shall now kneel and pray for understanding that our hope of having a home in God's Kingdom depends upon uniting our will with His will, and upon laboring in cooperation with Him; that holiness depends upon renouncing self and accepting Christ; that pride has no place in the Christian's heart; that the transformation of the grace of God is obtained by our conforming to His Word.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 2
ZION'S REWARD AND GOD'S MIGHTY EFFORT
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, MAY 24, 1947
- CARMEL CHAPEL
This afternoon we shall study the sixty-second chapter of Isaiah. The very first things we need to know about this chapter is whether it was written especially for the people of today or especially for the people of yesterday, and whether its message is to be given to the church or to the world. To find out we shall read the eleventh verse:
"Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him." Isa. 62:11.
"Behold," says the Lord," I have proclaimed unto the end of the world," not unto some other time. This Divine proclamation, therefore, is for those who are living in the time of end. To them the chapter is now unsealed, and their commission is to take it to the daughter of Zion, to the church. You cannot therefore, afford to excuse yourself from this call for service.
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."
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 3
Here we are told that the Lord will continue thus to speak, not for the sake of the world, but for the sake of the church so that she may eventually stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb; that He will thus continue "until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth."
This implies that the righteousness of His people at the proclamation of this chapter is but dimly, if at all, going forth, and that "the salvation thereof" is not now as a lamp that burneth, but as a lamp the light of which is gone out. His mighty effort is nevertheless to bring forth a great change: The righteousness of Christ is to shine forth as bright as the sun. The conclusion then is that without this additional message the church will never reach her goal, and any one's unconcerned attitude in this urgent call for service is sure to bring his doom. God's true people are, nevertheless, to awaken and embrace the call. To them, as a church, says the Lord:
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."
The righteousness of Zion shall be so pronounced that the Gentiles shall be attracted by it, and all their kings by her glory. It is for this very reason that the present church name will not then be befitting her.
As you know, there are now hundreds of church names in the world, -- as many names as there are isms, all of which are named by the mouth of men, although God recognizes but one church. Many of the names even suggest Divine competition. For instance, do not the names, "Church of Christ," and "Church
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 4
of God," make Christ and God competitors?
Whatever the "new name" be, it will entirely befit the church in her righteousness as here projected.
We are now living in a confused world. Some are of Paul and some of Apollos, of Cephas, Peter, John, and James, some of God and some of Christ. Christians are thus bickering and quarreling among themselves, one speaking against the faith of another, and at the same time all are trying to convert to Christ the non-Christian world! What darkness! To the church, which God is now creating, He says:
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."
The church here projected is to be made up only of a righteous spirit-led people, her new name is doubtless to express this fact. Wonderful, indeed, to be the Lord's "crown of glory," and His "royal diadem." You certainly cannot afford to let this glory get away from you. Act today.
Isa. 62:4 -- "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
Because the Lord is to delight in her, and also because her land is to be married to her, she is also to be called Hephzibah, and her land Beulah. The church, in times past, has been forsaken a number of times -- once in Egypt, then in Babylon, in Rome, and so on -- but she is never again to be forsaken, and
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 5
her land is never again to be left desolate.
Isa. 62:5 -- "For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."
Marriage signifies an everlasting union. Thus the church has the promise that her homeland shall now forever be her's, and her sons (converts) shall never part from her.
Isa. 62:6, 7 -- "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."
Not that He will set, but that He has already set watchmen that shall never neglect their duty night or day. And so you that now make mention of the Lord ought not to keep silence, but praise Him and speak of His wonderful love and Truth. Now is your opportunity to promote His cause, to make it your chief business, your chief interest, your highest joy. Now is the time to say, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy." Psalms 137:5, 6. To this end pray and work. Give Him no rest until He makes Jerusalem a praise "in the earth." Let this be your delight as you are His delight.
Isa. 62:8, 9 -- "The Lord hath sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 6
which thou hast laboured: but they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of My holiness."
God's people have been robbed time and again, and the most outrageous and unreasonable robbery that they have suffered has been, and still is being done by their own brethren in the faith! How? -- At every upward step in Truth throughout church history and down to this day, those who have ever embraced new, unpopular truths, have in every instance been thrown out of the church which they helped build. This has been done only because on the one hand the majority have ever ruled, and on the other hand only the minority have ever been susceptible to present Truth, to "meat in due season." The time is here, though, in which all manner of robberies shall cease. To those who are being cast out, this encouraging counsel and promise is given:
"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.
Isa. 62:10 -- "Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people."
The Lord now repeatedly asks everyone within the hearing of His Voice to fearlessly go through Zion's gates and say to her, "Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him."
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 7
We therefore cannot do otherwise but go through, for it is our God-given duty to prepare the way for the people. We must build a highway, a way for them to come over to the light of God and thus to His Kingdom. We must gather out every obstacle that stands in the way, and must lift up a standard for the people, a standard which they can see and follow as it leads ahead. What could the standard be? -- The very standard which the people are to see and to follow is Jesus in His Truth.
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 verse, as we learned at the beginning of our study, clears two things: First, that this chapter definitely contains a message to the church at the end of the world; second, that since it proves that this chapter is now for the first time being unsealed and brought to our attention, we are sent with a message to the church, and definitely shows that we have come to the time of the end, the time in which man-made institutions are forever to pass away.
The word "behold" suggests that we should now take notice and be able to see that our salvation cometh and that while His reward is with Him, His work is still before Him. What is His reward? -- What else could it be but life forevermore? So it shall be that the first fruits, the 144,000, the servants of God who are soon to stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb shall be the first to be rewarded. As servants of God they shall carry on the work that is "before Him," the work of gathering the second fruits. As set forth by Isaiah the prophet:
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 8
"And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape [from the slaying of the Lord, verse 16] of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord." Isa. 66:19, 20. The choice is now yours, either to line up with God's Truth for this time, to accept His salvation and to prepare for the work that is before Him, for the gathering of His saints, or to remain aloof and to be spued out.
Let us make the better choice now lest we soon find ourselves in outer darkness, there to weep and to gnash our teeth.
Isa. 62:12 -- "And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken."
If you do all that the Spirit of God bids you to do, you shall be of "the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord," "sought out," "not forsaken."
And now to summarize: The study opens with the words, "Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed to the end of the world," to the church of today. She is to be the Lord's "crown of glory" and His "royal diadem." No longer will she be called "Forsaken," nor will her land be called "Desolate"; that these titles are to be changed respectively to Hephzibah and
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 9
Beulah, meaning God will delight in His people and their land; that God is to rejoice over His church as a bridegroom rejoices over His bride; that He has now set watchmen upon the walls of Jerusalem, who shall never neglect their duty; that they shall not keep silence, but they shall praise the Lord, and be zealous to do whatever they can in the furtherance of His Kingdom; that He has sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength, that He will no longer give His children's meat to the enemy, that strangers will no more rob them of that which they worked for, that what they produce will indeed be their own; that His people have again and again been robbed of their spiritual light; that when the light of God came to them, the enemies barred the light away from them at least for a time; that we are now admonished to "hear the Word of the Lord," for which cause the brethren (fellow church members) hate us so that they cast us out from among them. This they do in the name of the Lord, but they shall be "ashamed" when He appears to our joy and to their shame; that we are commanded to go through the gates of Laodicea and to prepare the way for the people; to cast up the highway, to remove the barriers, to raise a standard for the people, to show to them that the Lord has "proclaimed unto the end of the world," to tell the "daughter of Zion" that her salvation is coming, that His reward is with Him, and His work before Him; that those who escape the slaying of the Lord will be sent to all nations and to the isles of the sea, to the people who have not heard of the Saviour; that they shall bring all their brethren to the house of the Lord.
You certainly now see Zion's reward and God's mighty effort to inform you of this Truth. You surely will do all you can to escape God's vengeance and to join this laymen's movement for the gathering of the people.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 42 10
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43
THE YEAR OF HIS REDEEMED--
THE SIGN OF THE DAY OF VENGEANCE
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, MAY 31, 1947
- CARMEL CHAPEL
We are to study the sixty-third chapter of Isaiah. In this chapter we find recorded a prophetic conversation among three persons: the prophet, the Lord, and a person living at the time the prophecy of this chapter is fulfilled. The subjects of the conversation are Edom, ancient Israel, their deliverance from Egypt, and the people's redemption in the day this scripture is fulfilled. The part that should concern us most is to know the time. To gain this information, I shall read verse 16. "Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer; Thy name is from everlasting." Isa. 63:16.
The words of the person speaking in behalf of the people who are brought face to face with the revelation of this chapter, reveal that he and his people are unknown to Abraham. Since Abraham well knew of the rise of ancient Israel, but understood practically nothing of the rise of the Christians, then the Christians must be the people of whom he is ignorant. The truth, then, stands out clearly that the chapter finds its fulfillment in the Christian era. Now to find whether it is concerning the early or latter day Christians we
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 11
shall read verses 18 and 19; also Isaiah 64:10, 11, for the subject matter of chapter 64 is but a continuation of chapter 63:
"The people of Thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down Thy sanctuary. We are thine: Thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by Thy name." Isa. 63:18, 19.
"Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised Thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste." Isa. 64:10, 11.
Here is seen that the longing of the people is for the restoration of the temple, and for their repossession of the promised land. Now the fact that the "temple" and the "land" are still in the hands of Arabs and unbelieving Jews (those who were never called by His name, never called Christians) is proof positive that chapters 63 and 64 are fulfilled in the latter part of the Christian era, the part in which the time of the Gentiles in the promised land is fulfilled. Moreover, that these chapters are now unveiled to us, and also the fact that the message for today has caused us to cry to the Lord for just such a deliverance, the facts are that the time for the fulfillment of the prophecy that is in these chapters is already here.
Since you now positively know that these chapters are concerning you and me, we are ready to start the study of the chapters, verse by verse--
Isa. 63:1 -- "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 12
His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
In vision the prophet saw someone with bloodstained garments hastily returning from Edom and Bozrah. To the prophet's question, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?" came the answer, "I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
Who else could this person be but the Lord Himself, the Saviour of the world, the Mighty One to save?
Again the prophet asked,
Isa. 63:2 -- "Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?"
The answer to these questions introduces a series of solemn events, the events recorded in
Isa. 63:3-5 -- "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. For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine Own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me."
The statements, "I have trodden the winepress alone," "I looked, and there was none to help; and I
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 13
wondered that there was none to uphold" (all in the past tense) show the Saviour's zeal and determination to save His misled people at His first advent, though there was no one with Him to help; that is, all the priests and religious leaders -- the General Conference of His day (the Sanhedrin) were against Him instead of helping Him in His work. But the statements, "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; for the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come"; and "I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine Own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me" (all in future tense) -- show the present church's condition not only equally as bad as at His first coming, but even much worse. How true that history repeats! As the day of vengeance approaches, those who are supposed to uphold and help in the work of redemption, the ministers and religious leaders, the antitypical Sanhedrin of today (the General Conference), are seen to be hindering, standing in His way of reaching the people. Thus they incur His displeasure, and necessarily He girds Himself to free His people from the hands of unfaithful shepherds. They cause Him to stain His garments with their blood as He tramples them in His fury.
Isa. 63:6 -- "And I will tread down the people in Mine anger, and make them drunk in My fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth."
The Lord's brief explanation of the situation is amplified by the prophet Ezekiel. Says He:
"He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 14
in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; and the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." Ezek. 9:1-6.
Ezekiel's prophecy plainly reveals that this cleansing work takes place in the church (in Jerusalem), in the time to separate the unfaithful from among the faithful, the time to destroy the "tares" (Matt. 13:30), to cast out the bad fish (Matt. 13:47-49), to purify the church ("Testimonies," Vol. 5, pg. 80), to purify the ministry (Mal. 3:1-3); to cleanse the sanctuary (Dan. 8:14) -- the Judgment work for the Living. The Spirit of Prophecy in our day has this to say:
"...But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place, we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 15
The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that his fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor....
"Here we see that the church -- the Lord's sanctuary -- was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil. He is too merciful to visit his people in judgment. Thus peace and safety is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children, all perish together." -- "Testimonies," Vol. 5, pp. 80, 211.
And the apostle Peter adds: "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 1 Pet. 4:17, 18.
Since God's people of today are not in the land of Edom, south of Palestine, but are scattered throughout the earth, and since the Lord is to slay their enemies in order to free them, the truth is obvious: These are antitypical Edom and Bozrah.
After Esau of old sold his birthright for a mess of
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 16
pottage he was called Edom; and the name Bozrah means "sheepfold." Plainly, then, the Edomites of Isaiah 63:1 are those who in our day have sold their birthright, and who at the same time are persecuting (as did Esau persecute Jacob) those who have bought it, so to speak. Thus it is that as God's people had to be delivered from the Sanhedrin in Christ's day, they must now be delivered from the General Conference, the antitypical Edomite brethren, in order to be led into all Truth, and into their fathers' land.
The words, "the year of My redeemed is come," and "the day of vengeance is in Mine heart," clearly says that the Lord's strange work in Edom and Bozrah is the day of vengeance and a sign of antitypical Israel's (the church purified) returning to the home land.
Isa. 63:7-10 -- "I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, Surely they are My people, children that will not lie: so He was their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed His holy Spirit: therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them."
The testimony of this person reveals that a complete transformation has taken place in him, that he has caught a vision of the Lord's goodness, of His longsuffering and of His tender mercy -- he is convinced
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 17
that the Lord will not acquit the guilty. From his testimony is also seen that the Lord is not a cruel, brutish person, seeking to kill and to destroy, but that He is kind and merciful, patient and just, that He is worthy to be praised. This person endeavors to prove this to others by calling attention to the Lord's dealings with His ancient people, showing that He bore long with them, that only for their own good did He punish them -- to bring them back to Him, and away from idolatry and eternal ruin.
Moreover, the scripture plainly shows that the need of deliverance today is similar to that of Moses' day.
Isa. 63:11-15 -- "Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is He that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of His flock? where is He that put His Holy Spirit within him? that led them by the right hand of Moses with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make Himself an everlasting name? that led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest: so didst Thou lead Thy people, to make Thyself a glorious name. Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of Thy holiness and of Thy glory: where is Thy zeal and Thy strength, the sounding of Thy bowels and of Thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?"
Since there is in prophecy a cry for a similar deliverance as was seen in Moses' time, the facts are obvious: The church has been led into bondage and now needs to be delivered. Years ago Inspiration forewarned:
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 18
"The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader, and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from his word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us." -- "Testimonies," Vol. 5, pg. 217.
Isa. 63:16, 17 -- "Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer; Thy name is from everlasting. O Lord, why hast Thou made us to err from Thy ways, and hardened our heart from Thy fear? Return for Thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance."
The people that are crying deliverance are those whom Abraham did not know, and whom Israel of today (the Denomination) does not acknowledge. That is, as pointed out at the beginning of our study, Abraham was ignorant of the Christians, and the people that cry out for deliverance at the fulfillment of this prophecy are not by antitypical Israel (the Denomination), acknowledged as such. Thus it is that though Abraham of old does not know us, and though the Denomination does not acknowledge us, yet we know that God has given us a message, and that a change has taken place in us: that we are no longer satisfied, lukewarm, and that we are no longer unconscious of our Laodicean wretchedness, misery, poverty,
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 19
blindness, and nakedness. We know that this is the work of God in our hearts, that we are truly being "born again," born through the Holy Spirit -- that we are now better Seventh-day Adventists than we were before. We can, therefore, with confidence say: Doubtless Thou are our Father, our Redeemer, Thy name is everlasting, though we are constantly and sarcastically told by our brethren, "No, you are not Seventh-day Adventists."
Isa. 63:18, 19 -- "The people of Thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down Thy sanctuary. We are thine: Thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by Thy name."
True, our ancestors were in the land and enjoyed the sanctuary service for a number of years, yet considering that they were to possess it forever, then the statement, "The people of Thy holiness have possessed it but a little while," is altogether true. Arabs and unconverted Jews who now possess the land are not Christians; they are not called by Christ's name, and never have been.
Isa. 63:17 -- "O Lord, why hast Thou made us to err from Thy ways, and hardened our heart from Thy fear? Return for Thy servants' sake, the tribes of Thine inheritance."
Here is one who recognizes that the people of God are in error -- not following God's ways and that they do not fear Him. The messenger's plea is, therefore, for God to return to them, not to forsake them forever.
The prayer of chapter sixty-three continues
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 20
throughout chapter sixty-four, and gives a good example as to what our prayers should be about at this very time. Let us read it through.
Isa. 64:1-12 -- "Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make Thy name known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Thy presence! When Thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, Thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at Thy presence.
"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him. Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy ways: behold, Thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon Thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee: for Thou hast hid Thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
"But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand. Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech Thee, we are all Thy people. Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 21
fathers praised Thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. Wilt Thou refrain Thyself for these things, O Lord? wilt Thou hold Thy peace, and afflict us very sore?"
Now is our opportunity; now is our privilege to make this prayer personally our own. Now we can intelligently say, Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. Now we can wholeheartedly exclaim: "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let My right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let My tongue cleave to the roof of My mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above My chief joy. Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof." Psa. 137:4-7.
Now that you plainly see the signs and the time of our redemption and of the day of God's vengeance against unrepented sinners fast approaching, you are urged to make ready, to sigh and cry against the abominations, to receive the mark of deliverance, to be among the firstfruits. Now you can happily and understandingly seek the Kingdom of Heaven and Its righteousness, and assuredly know that the material things of life should not predominate over the spiritual, that they shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:25- 34). Heaven, therefore, expects you without delay to definitely and openly take your stand on the side of Truth. Now that the year of His redeemed is come, that the signs of the day of vengeance are here, now is the opportune moment to make your decision. You cannot afford to procrastinate for says the Spirit of all Truth: "Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years. Wherefore I was
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 22
grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known My ways. So I sware in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day [not yesterday, not the day of Miller or of White]; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; while it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." Heb. 3:7-19.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 43 23