Since Pastor----handed out to all of you his "Comparative Study," and since this letter will deal with the points he covered in his "Comparative Study," I am addressing this letter to him as well as to all of you.
In the first paragraph of this study, you state, "Several of you have come to me asking about the teachings and beliefs of the group known as 'The Shepherd's Rod.' After praying about it, and seeking counsel from our church leadership, I have decided to write this letter explaining some of the beliefs of The Shepherd's Rod."
To begin with, Pastor, how can you explain the teachings and beliefs of The Shepherd's Rod without giving it a firsthand hearing to know what it is all about? As a shepherd of the flock it is your moral responsibility to find out from the Rod publications whether its claims can be substantiated from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, or whether it is one of the many "run-of-the mill ministries" plaguing the Church at the present time. But instead of doing this, by your own admission, you did not read and study The Shepherd's Rod publications but sought counsel from the church leadership-- therefore your conclusions, warnings and denouncement of the several points in The Shepherd's Rod message which you dealt with in your "Comparative Study" are not from your own personal investigation, even though you would like your church membership to believe that the are. On the contrary, your position is borrowed on every point from the literature put out by the Defense Committee of the General Conference.
It is regrettable enough for a lay member to take a stand against a message which comes in the name of the Lord to the Church without personally investigating it, but for a shepherd of a flock to do so is not only regrettable but serious since he stands as one to whom the people are looking for direction. To explain "some of the beliefs" of a message which you do not know, and which you personally acknowledge to others that you do not know anything about, is contrary to the instructions given in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy. Says Inspiration:
"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." Prov. 18:13.
"Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?" John 7:51.
"Prove all things; holdfast that which is good." 1Thess. 5:21.
Again, let it be emphasized, Pastor, that you have attempted to give a comparative study of "The Shepherd's Rod beliefs and the Seventh-day Adventist--E. G. White's beliefs," only after "praying about it, and seeking counsel from our church leadership," but not from personally hearing the matter before judging it. Thus you have judged it solely from the prejudicial counsel you received from others. Not only have you failed to investigate the message for yourself, but you have taken a strong and decided stand against it, and against those in God's Church who are doing exactly what the afore quoted scriptures admonish them to do.
The law of the land does not judge the basest criminal without giving him a hearing. Sentence is never pronounced upon such a one simply because of what is written in the law books.
But you have pronounced judgment on The Shepherd's Rod, simply because of what the General Conference Defense Committee wrote against it years ago, and not from your personal study of the message. Thus you are also promoting the views of others that are time-worn and completely threadbare.
What is the Spirit of Prophecy's counsel to all ministers concerning new views which may come to the Church? Are they instructed to go to the church leadership for the decisions they make concerning a message which comes to them in the name of the Lord? Carefully read the following counsel left on record for you and all ministers:
"Beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men, and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men, and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them.
"No one should claim that he has all the light there is for God's people. The Lord will not tolerate this. He has said, 'I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.' Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time."--TM 106, 107.
Now in the light of the above, read and digest the following important counsels for all the members of God's remnant Church:
"Precious light is to shine forth from the word of God, and let no one presume to dictate what shall or what shall not be brought before the people in the messages of enlightenment that He shall send, and so quench the Spirit of God. Whatever may be his position of authority, no one has a right to shut away the light from the people. When a message comes in the name of the Lord to His people, no one may excuse himself from an investigation of its claims. No one can afford to stand back in an attitude of indifference and self-confidence, and say: 'I know what is truth. I am satisfied with my position. I have set my stakes, and I will not be moved away from my position, whatever may come. I will not listen to the message of this messenger; for I know that it cannot be truth.' It is from pursuing this very course that the popular churches were left in partial darkness, and that is why the messages of heaven have not reached them.
"If a message comes that you do not understand, take pains that you may hear the reasons the messenger may give, comparing scripture with scripture, that you may know whether or not it is sustained by the word of God. If you believe that the positions taken have not the word of God for their foundation, if the position you hold on the subject cannot be controverted, then produce your strong reasons; for your position will not be shaken by coming in contact with error. There is no virtue or manliness in keeping up a continual warfare in the dark, closing your eyes lest you may see, closing your ears lest you may hear, hardening your heart in ignorance and unbelief lest you may have to humble yourselves and acknowledge that you have received light on some points of truth.
"To hold yourselves aloof from an investigation of truth is not the way to carry out the Saviour's injunction to 'search the Scriptures.' Is it digging for hidden treasures to call the results of someone's labor a mass of rubbish, and make no critical examination to see whether or not there are precious jewels of truth in the collection of thought which you condemn? Will those who have almost everything to learn keep themselves away from every meeting where there is an opportunity to investigate the messages that come to the people, simply because they imagine the views held by the teachers of the truth may be out of harmony with what they have conceived as truth? Thus it was that the Jews did in the days of Christ, and we are warned not to do as they did, and be led to choose darkness rather than light, because there was in them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. No one of those who imagine that they know it all is too old or too intelligent to learn from the humblest of the messengers of the living God.
"When asked to hear the reasons of a doctrine that you do not understand, do not condemn the message until you have given it a thorough investigation, and know from the word of God that it is not tenable.
"When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness."--CSW 28-32. (Emphases supplied.)
"Our brethren should be willing to investigate in a candid way every point of controversy. If a brother is teaching error, those who are in responsible positions ought to know it; and if he is teaching truth, they ought to take their stand at his side. We should all know what is being taught among us; for if it is truth, we need it. We are all under obligation to God to know what He sends us. He has given directions by which we may test every doctrine--'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.' If the light presented meets this test, we are not to refuse to accept it because it does not agree with our ideas.
"No matter by whom light is sent, we should open our hearts to receive it with the meekness of Christ. But many do not do this. When a controverted point is presented, they pour in question after question, without admitting a point when it is well sustained. O, may we act as men who want light! May God give us His Holy Spirit day by day, and let the light of His countenance shine upon us, that we may be learners in the school of Christ."--GW 300, 301. (Emphases supplied.)
How different your reply would have been in the "Comparative Study" and the sermons you preached against the Rod had you heeded the following inspired instruction:
"The best way to expose the fallacy of error is to present the evidences of truth. This is the greatest rebuke that can be given to error."--E. G. White, Pacific Union Recorder, Oct. 23, 1902.
Since you believe The Shepherd's Rod to be error, what evidences of truth have you presented in the "Comparative Study" and in your sermons since The Shepherd's Rod has entered your district? What have you been doing for your members who are studying to find out if The Shepherd's Rod is truth, other than to castigate them for investigating and studying it for themselves? You do not know for yourself whether it is truth or error, and therefore you are not in a position to help them because you have not done what the afore quoted Bible and Spirit of Prophecy references have counseled you to do.
In fairness to you and to the members of the church, I am taking valuable time to consider the ten points you unfairly and unscrupulously dealt with in your "Comparative Study." I shall take them up point by point as you listed them:
"1. RE: Enoch and the Flood --Did God show Enoch the truth concerning the Flood? Jude 14, 15.
" 'Jude proves that Enoch was a messenger of God, and that he warned his generation of the destruction of the world by the second advent of Christ when, in fact, the Flood was the event which was to and subsequently did destroy the world of Enoch's time! Enoch simply was not shown the truth of the Flood. Therefore he preached the destruction then in terms of the coming of the Lord.--The Symbolic Code, Vol 1, p. 9-10." (sic)
[Note: Not only have you unfairly judged the Rod on this point by not taking all the writer has to say on the subject, but you have carelessly and incorrectly handled the quotation and have omitted part of the reference which should read, "Vol. 1, No. 10, p. 9."]
Taken in the context of the statement when it was written on April 15, 1935, Brother Houteff was answering a question which someone asked concerning his position on Ezekiel 9, and Sister White's position on the seven last plagues, and therefore he was not dealing primarily with the subject of Enoch and the Flood.
In answering the question, Brother Houteff showed that Sister White was not given the entire message on the prophecy of Ezekiel 9, and therefore was not commissioned to teach it as the central focus of her message, though she made it clear that Ezekiel 9 will take place in "the closing work for the church" (3T 266, 267), and that it was literally to be fulfilled:
"Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be literally fulfilled; yet the time is passing, and the people are asleep. They refuse to humble their souls and to be converted. Not a great while longer will the Lord bear with the people who have such great and important truths revealed to them, but who refuse to bring these truths into their individual experience. The time is short. God is calling; will you hear? Will you receive His message? Will you be converted before it is too late? Soon, very soon, every case will be decided for eternity."--1MR 260:2. (Emphases supplied.)
Just as Sister White was not given all the light on Ezekiel 9, so Brother Houteff reasoned it was in the case of Enoch and the Flood message. Enoch preached of judgment to come, "the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all. . .,"Jude 14, 15, but he did not preach the building of the ark, nor did he give the warning to the antediluvian world in the way that Noah did. The destruction of the antediluvian world by flood was Noah's message to that generation. The truth Enoch had was for his time. This is all that Brother Houteff was dealing with in his statement which you quoted. That the specific message of the Flood was not given to Enoch to preach to the antediluvian world was not evidence that the Lord did not show Enoch that the antediluvian world would be destroyed by the Flood. Without studying the Code statement (naturally so, since you do not have a copy of the Code as a primary source--a serious flaw of scholarship), you picked up what the Defense Committee wrote, and wrongly concluded that The Symbolic Code statement is against what you rightly quote from the inspired writings on your Point Number 1:
" 'God communed with Enoch through His angels and gave him divine instruction. He made known to him that He would not always bear with man in his rebellion--that His purpose was to destroy the sinful race by bringing a flood of waters upon the earth.'--3SG 54:1."
A point to note is that when Brother Houteff wrote the afore quoted Symbolic Code statement in 1935, the Rod message was in its infancy. He, like Sister White, had only a third grade education, and without proper editing help, the statement, without its contextual meaning was left as follows: "Enoch simply was not shown the truth of the Flood."
This statement should say (as other statements in the Rod show, but which you gratuitously failed to quote), "Enoch simply was not shown all the truth of the Flood."
Brother Houteff himself left the following on record concerning Enoch's understanding of the Flood:
"Though. . .through holy angels God revealed to Enoch His purpose to destroy the world by a flood' (PP 85:5), still He did not give Enoch to know all about the flood and the ark of safety, nor to know and to declare just when and how the flood was to come. That preternatural aspect of His end-of-the-world warning, He reserved to Noah's message, timing the end to the 120 years, then the deluge."--At the Eleventh Hour Judgment of the Living, Tract No. 16, p. 52:0.
Do you not see, Pastor , that if you are going to be intellectually dishonest and fail to be fair enough to give the Rod a hearing in full, and take all that it has written on the subject in question, that you are doing the very same thing that the enemies of E. G. White and the Advent message do?
Now to you or any others who would triumphantly cry, "The Rod has had to change its statement because it was wrong!", you need to think about the deeper issue here and apply some badly-needed intellectual and scholastic honesty. The question is, Do we Adventists believe in verbal inerrancy or not? In other words, is the Bible inspired right down to its commas, periods, and colons?
As Adventists, we do not subscribe to the theory of verbal inerrancy, and we do not believe that you accept verbal inspiration either. Adventists hold that not even the Bible is verbally inspired, the best example of this being our position on the erroneous punctuation of Luke 23:43 which, according to believers in the immortality of the soul, proves that the souls of both Jesus and the thief ascended into heaven immediately after their deaths. However, we Adventists rightly reject this idea, reasoning that the text has been subjectively punctuated. Another point we Adventists use to substantiate the view of the nonverbal inspiration of the Bible is our position on Daniel 8:13 regarding the addition of the word "sacrifice" after "daily." It is clear to anyone with a good Bible that the word "sacrifice" is also a subjective addition, as Early Writings, page 74:2, correctly states. One more example will suffice to show that the Bible, and every inspired message it has called forth, is subject to editorial correction. In 2 Samuel 10:18, we are told that David slew the "men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians. . ." whereas in the same account from I Chronicles 19:18, David is said to have slain "seven thousand men which fought in chariots...." As you know, God doesn't make mistakes, but man does, and this discrepancy is a matter of a copyist's error-- what we would today call an editorial mistake.
These and many other examples show conclusively that the Bible is not verbally inerrant (its teachings and doctrines are inerrant, however, and this is what counts) and one must study the Bible in its fullness in order to correctly understand its teachings and doctrines. Likewise, it would be unforgivably presumptuous to elevate the Spirit of Prophecy writings to verbally-inerrant status when they clearly are not. Proof of the validity of this statement is found in a pronouncement Ellen White made early in her ministry, and here quoted:
"Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men."--3SG 75:2.
Now, Brethren, you know as well as we do that what this statement seems to say has never happened in the history of the world: there never has been, nor will there ever be, "amalgamation" between human beings and animals because science and experience show the absurdity of it. (Not even the closely related sheep and goat can naturally crossbreed.) So we are faced with two possibilities here:
(A) E. G. White made a false statement; this false statement is so obviously absurd that she and her message are discredited and no further study of the Advent message is called for; therefore, she was a false prophet.
(B) E. G. White lacked formal education and was not an experienced writer at the time the statement was written; she wrote a statement that needed to be editorially modified; her editors at the time were also not very experienced and let the error slip by; we must take the statement in context and put it together with the rest of her writings before jumping to summary conclusions; when the statement is understood in its broader context and correct grammatical construction, it would read:
"Since the flood there has been amalgamation
between beast, AND THERE HAS BEEN AMALGAMATION between man... " meaning
that various species of animals have mixed, and various races of men have
mixed, as is entirely possible and reasonable. (Incidentally, it is the
Rod which clarifies this issue, showing once again that the Rod defends
and upholds the Spirit of Prophecy writings rather than undermines or contradicts
them. Any honest student of truth can see this for himself in our Answerer,
Book 3, available upon request.)
"2. Did Enoch prophesy of the Second Coming of Christ? Jude 14, 15.
" 'This prophecy by Enoch is not the second coming of Christ in the clouds .... The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 240." (Suspension marks belong to your Study.)
Again, Pastor --, you unfairly compared part of this statement with what Sister White wrote on the subject. Here is another good evidence of superficiality and surface skimming and failing to take the statement in its full context. Says the servant of the Lord:
"How many men in this age of the world fail to go deep enough. They only skim the surface. They will not think closely enough to see difficulties and grapple with them, and will not examine every important subject which comes before them with thoughtful, prayerful study and with sufficient caution and interest to see the real point at issue. They talk of matters which they have not fully and carefully weighed."--4T 361:2.
"Come ... let us reason together." Isa. 1:18.
Enoch's message was concerning judgment to come. When Christ comes the second time, will He come "to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him"? Jude 15.
As you well know, basic SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST teaching on the second coming is that probation is closed before Christ comes since every case has been decided. So at His second coming, He will not be convincing anyone of anything for each case will have already been judged and decided. He is coming to give all their reward-- both the just and the unjust shall receive theirs. What, then, is the meaning of Jude 14, 15?
Because you have again unfairly and unscrupulously quoted only a part of what the Rod has to say on this point, you concluded in Point Number 2 that the Rod contradicts the E. G. White statement, therefore it is error. Let me quote the statement from the Rod in context. Notice the Rod statement is only dealing with part of verse 14 and not the entire verse:
"Said Enoch: 'Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints.' Jude 14. This prophecy by Enoch is not the second coming of Christ in the clouds, for when He shall appear in glory He comes not 'with His saints,' but rather for His saints. Neither could it be of His coming with His saints on the other side of the Millennium, for in such a case it could not have been a message to the antediluvian world. It would have been improper and without object or lesson to that people, if Enoch should have preached to the world Christ's third coming before he preached His second coming for His saints. What then?
"'Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints.' The word 'thousands', being plural, does not reveal the number of saints that come with Him. But if the words 'ten thousands' have no numerical definition of any kind, then the word 'ten' would be vain repetition and foreign to the Scriptures. Therefore, we must look for a symbolical definition of the word. The number 'ten' has the same meaning as the 'ten virgins' of Matthew 25, denoting universality (the Church as a body). Thus it symbolically apprehends the saints collectively--all the saved from Adam to the end. Therefore, the prophecy by Enoch commenced its fulfillment in 1844, at which time 'the Lord came with the names and records of those who are sleeping in the grave [the investigative Judgment of the dead], and when the investigation of the dead is finished, then He comes with the names of the living saints. First, with the 144,000, and afterward with the 'great multitude of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.' Rev. 7:9. Therefore, the complete fulfillment of the prophetic words, 'Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints,' 'shall be realized at the close of probation."--The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, pp. 240, 241.
"While the 14th verse of Jude applies to Christ's coming to the Most Holy apartment in the heavenly sanctuary, and the 15th verse to His second advent, the completeness of the words find their fulfillment after the Millennium, for at that time only can He execute the final 'judgment upon all the ungodly,' from Cain to the end of this present world."--Id., p. 162:1.
Hence by taking these passages in their context, it is clear to see that The Shepherd's Rod in no way contradicts the following E. G. White statement, which you use in your unfair and prejudicial "Comparative Study."
"Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. To him was committed the message of the second coming of Christ. 'And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute Judgment upon all.'"--6T 392:1.
Putting the Rod and the E. G. White statements together as you did, to attempt to show that Brother Houteff is contradicting E. G. White, is a good example of what Brother Houteff wrote long ago about such manipulation:
"Though two passages be inspired by the same Spirit, yet, when treacherously manipulated, they can easily be made to collide with each other. However, when the author's object in making the statement is first considered in every case, then and then only can one rightly interpret his thought, and find it trouble-free."--The Great Controversy Over "The Shepherd's Rod," Tract No. 7, pp. 38, 39.
"3. What does the 7-headed leopard beast of Revelation 13 (with blasphemy on all heads) represent? See Revelation 13:1-3.
" 'The leopard-like beast of Revelation , the scarlet colored beast of Revelation 17, and the non-descript beast of Daniel 7, as being symbols of the papacy, is unbiblical and also illogical.'--The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 148 (1932)." (Brackets supplied.)
Then you made the following comment:
" 'Thus we must come to the conclusion that we as Seventh-day Adventists are also guilty of blasphemy and therefore are included in the seven heads of the leopard-like beast.'--Beasts of Revelation, p. 15,"
[We know of no Shepherd's Rod tract by this name.]
"Note: Once again, subtlety (sic) planting seeds of doubt and mistrust of God's church. Leaving the door open for Satan to enter and cause this seed to grow into rejecting (sic) of the church as being led by God and not by man. Even though God uses men as visible leaders of His church on earth, God is ultimately responsible for His church and will see to it that it will be victorious to the end! The human leadership have and do make mistakes, but they must answer to God for this."
Again, what is the truth concerning this charge? When viewed in the light of the following, one can again quickly see the superficiality and surface skimming of not only your unfair conclusion, but also that the prejudicial comparison of the General Conference Defense Committee (which is the source of your comparison) is a violation of Christian principles. "Come ... let us reason together."
The four metal parts of Daniel 2 coincide with the four beasts of Daniel 7 (lion/gold, bear/silver, leopard/brass, non-descript beast/ iron), which stand for the four great world empires--Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome. It is not by happenstance that the beast of Revelation 13:1-10 is made up of the four beasts of Daniel 7. Says the Rod of God in speaking of the leopard-like beast:
"In this prophetic four-beast symbolism, along with its historical fulfillment, we see the passing political events and the consequent changing political status of the world from the time of ancient Babylon on down to the time of Christianized Rome. The great image, however, brings us down to the present, the time in which we find ourselves ruled by its toe-kings. But as Daniel's series of beasts delineates only part of the world's history, another series is necessary to complete it. The only other such series is in the Revelation, the first symbol of which is the leopard-like beast [Revelation 13:10]."--The World Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Tract No. 12, p. 19:3.
A careful reading of Revelation 13:1-10 will show "the composite makeup of this beast-mouth of a lion, feet of a bear, body of a leopard, and ten horns-is faithful witness that he is a descendant of Babylon (lion), Medo-Persia (bear), Grecia (leopard), and pagan Rome (ten horns). Hence this beast is the melting pot of the four ancient world-empires, and must, along with its seven heads and ten crowned horns, characterize the world today."-- Id., p. 21:1.
The horns in Daniel's prophecy represented the civil government of the world, while the head (horn-head) represented the ecclesiastical body of the world at that time. Being composite in makeup, how then could the beast of Revelation 13:1-10 represent a man or the papacy? The papacy's being apart of both beasts, horn-head on one (Dan. 7) and simply a wounded head on the other (Rev. 13), the leopard-like beast could not itself be termed the papacy.
"The beast's forty-and-two-month period falls in the time of ecclesiastical Rome-- the empire after pagan Rome; whereas its wounded state (Revelation 13:3) symbolizes her during the Protestant period. Moreover, the beast represents three periods--(I) the period prior to its wounded state; (2) the period during its wound; and (3) the period in which its wound is healed."--The World, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Tract No. 12, pp. 21, 22. (For a more definitive study on the leopard-like beast of Revelation 13:1-10, and the papacy, request further literature.)
The Great Controversy statement (page 445:2) which you lifted from A Reply to The Shepherd's Rod would contradict not only Revelation 13:1-10, but also another statement Sister White made on the subject, if taken by itself. Thus, in your strenuous efforts to discredit the Rod, you would put not only the Rod statement against the E. G. White statement, but two of her statements against each other!
Consider the following two passages, the one you quoted under "Point Number 3," from The Great Controversy, page 445, and another statement also from The Great Controversy, page 442, which, of course, you did not quote since it does not support your position (Would not an impartial scholar quote both statements?):
"The 'beast' mentioned in this message, whose worship is enforced by the two-horned beast, is the first, or leopard-like beast of Revelation 13-- the papacy."--GC 445:2.
"The prediction that it will speak 'as a dragon,' and exercise 'all the power of the first beast,' plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopard-like beast."--Id., 442:1.
From reading this entire chapter of The Great Controversy, it is clear that Sister White was not giving a detailed interpretation of the beasts of Revelation 13. For although on page 445 she refers to the leopard-like beast as the "papacy," on page 442, she refers to the same beast as representing the "nations."
Can you reconcile these two statements, Pastor--? Or will you put Sister White against herself. The burden of proof then, is on you and the General Conference Defense Committee. Will you not be honest enough to admit that the statement from page 445 is simply a synopsis whereas the statement from page 442 gives the full picture and is therefore correct? Or will you be so anxious to disprove the Rod that you refuse to be an honest, objective scholar and refuse to accept the broader meaning of the "leopard-like" beast as page 442 describes it and which is in full agreement with Revelation 13:1-10? "Come ... let us reason together."
Since Sister White was not giving a definitive verse-by-verse interpretation of Revelation 13:1-10, by prophetic license she referred to the beast of Revelation 13:1-10 as being the papacy, meaning the dominant figure wielding power in that period of time.
Instead of putting Sister White's two statements at odds with each other, when they are put together, along with the Rod's statement on the subject, it is clear to see that the Rod is in perfect harmony with the entire prophecy of Revelation 13:1-10 and with The Great Controversy statements. The question is: "How readest thou?"
"4. RE: The sealing; What is the Seal of the Living God? Rev. 7:1-4, and Ezekiel 9.
"NOT SABBATH: 'This sealing of the 144,000 is not a Sabbath Seal.' --The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 1, p. 29."
This seizing of a statement out of its context to misrepresent the writer's intent, is not only superficial, but is a gross injustice and flagrant violation of Christian ethics and principles. Only the one who is in the condition such as described in Revelation 3:14-18, would stoop so low as to pick statements out of context, over and over and over again, with the intent and purpose of making the Rod contradict the Spirit of Prophecy. Far from the Rod's contradicting the Spirit of Prophecy writings, it supports and defends them in every way, as we have already shown. It is regrettable that you leaders of the Church misrepresent the Rod as ever being against the Spirit of Prophecy since it actually champions it. Here is the passage in context from which you unscrupulously quoted:
"The sealing of the 144,000 is the separation of the faithful from the disloyal ones; the purification of the Church. Those who do not keep the truth, and indulge in the sins and abominations, who try to throw a cloak over the existing evils, will fall under the figure of the five men with the slaughter weapons of Ezekiel 9.
"The Sabbath has been present truth since 1845, and being the seal of the law of God, has been sealing the law among the people of God ever since that year. . . . The angel of Revelation 7 has a seal in his hand. Ezekiel calls him the man with the writer's inkhorn who is to set a mark upon the men who sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof (the Church). This is the seal of the 144,000, but all the saved under the third angel are sealed with the Sabbath seal. The 144,000 having this seal [the Sabbath seal] are also marked (sealed) by the angel of Revelation 7, which is the same as the one of Ezekiel 9. In other words, it [the sealing] may be termed a double seal.
"This sealing of the 144,000 is not a Sabbath seal. However, those who are sealed must be Sabbathkeepers. It is a seal, or mark, that separates the two classes in the Church, and those who are sealed, or marked, are not marked because they keep the Sabbath only, but because they sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the Church."--The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 1, p. 29:1, 2.
In 1944, speaking on the subject of the sealing, Brother Houteff, the author of The Shepherd's Rod, had this to say in answer to the question, "What is the seal?"
"Question No. 21:
"What is the seal of God upon the foreheads of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:3)? Is it the Sabbath seal or something else?
"Being sealed in Christ 'with the Holy Spirit of promise,' after having 'heard the word of truth' (Eph. 1:13; 4:30), the saints are consequently sealed by present truth-the truth preached in their own day.
" 'The seal of the living God,' the truth by which the 144,000 are sealed (Rev. 7:2) is a special seal, being the same as 'the mark' of Ezekiel 9. (See TM 445; 3T 267; 5T 211.) It demands one's sighing and crying over the abominations which defile him, and which desecrate both the Sabbath and the house of God, especially against selling literature and raising goals during Sabbath services. As the saints have this seal or mark on their foreheads, the angels will pass over them, not slay them. It is equivalent to the blood on the doorpost on the night of the passover in Egypt. The angel is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who by sighing over their own sins, and over the sins in the house of God, show fidelity to the truth. Then the destroying angels will follow, to slay utterly old and young who have failed to receive the seal. (See 5T 505:2.)
"So, the former seal [the Sabbath seal] enables the receiver to rise from the dead in the resurrection of the just, while the latter seal [the seal of Revelation 7] enables the sighing, crying one to escape death and forever to live for God."--The Answerer, Book 2, pp. 31-33, 1944 Edition. (Emphases and brackets supplied.)
Hence it is clear to see that The Shepherd's Rod is in perfect harmony with the Spirit of Prophecy, for whereas Sister White was speaking of the Sabbath seal, Brother Houteff was speaking of a special seal with which the 144,000 are to be sealed. Since it is well understood that they must be Sabbathkeepers, they must be sealed not only with the Sabbath seal, but also with the seal of present truth--in effect, a double seal.
Regarding this point, Pastor, the following statement which you made ("A subtle undermining of the importance of the Sabbath, and also laying the groundwork for further doubting and error in other areas") is ruthless, unconscionable, and dishonest, and is only meant to keep the honest in heart from further investigating the message of the hour and thus to prevent them from taking their stand with it.
So, far from "undermining" the Sabbath, the Rod message gives it new clarity and validity, and to charge otherwise, as you have done, is not only poor scholarship, but a clear sign of your desperation to fight the Rod through outright fabrications.
"5. RE: What about the slaughter spoken of in Ezekiel 9?
"Note: The Shepherd's Rod believe that Seventh-day Adventists who reject the message of the Rod movement will be slaughtered before the loud cry and the close of probation.
"'Had the Church as a body, or at least the leaders of the SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST denomination accepted the message of reform as presented to them in The Shepherd's Rod, Volume 1, there would be no necessity for that class to fall by the figure of the five men with the slaughter weapons. It is the reception or rejection of the message that will fix the destiny of the two classes as described in the following testimony: (they quote Early Writings, page 270) [Honesty and integrity should have compelled you to quote this passage and not just refer to it. Are you afraid that if you had quoted Early Writings, page 270, the people would have no trouble in seeing the relationship between the shaking and the slaughter of Ezekiel 9?]--The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 218." (Bracketed statement supplied.)
After quoting this statement from the Rod, you made the following comment: "Note: E. G. White teaches that Ezekiel 9 is fulfilled after the close of probation, and is part of the general destruction of the wicked at the coming of Christ." We challenge you and the General Conference Defense Committee to produce any such statement from E. G. White to show that the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 comes "after the close of probation, and is part of the general destruction of the wicked at the coming of Christ."
By putting the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 "at the general destruction of the wicked at the coming of Christ," are you teaching that the seven last plagues are to precede the slaughter? If it does not precede the slaughter, where will you place it? Six men with slaughter weapons are not seven angels with seven vials containing the seven last plagues.
The statement to which you referred in the "Note" afore quoted "the general destruction of the wicked," is taken from Testimonies, Volume 3, page 267:1. This statement as well as many other references, prove conclusively that the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 takes place in the "general destruction of the wicked" in the Church. To place it in "the general destruction of the wicked when Christ comes," is not only to take it out of its context (3T 267), but to do violence to the contextual meaning of the entire chapter. Bear in mind that the title of this chapter is "The Laodicean Church." Please reread pages 253-278 of Testimonies, Volume 3, and take careful notice of pages 266, 267. Again, come. . .let us reason together."
Ezekiel 9 speaks of six men with slaughter weapons in their hands who come from the way of the higher gate to the "city," to "Jerusalem:' to perform the marking or the sealing followed by the slaying. Revelation 15 and 16 speak of seven angels who came out of the temple with the seven last plagues to be poured out on Babylon. Jerusalem is not Babylon.
Furthermore, Sister White identifies the events of Ezekiel 9 as taking place in the Church. Since the Church is the first to feel the "stroke of the wrath of God" (5T 211:2), then it shows that there must be some others still around to feel the wrath of God. These could only be Babylon, on whom God's wrath is to be poured out by the angels with the seven last plagues. It is wrong to place the slaughter in the time of the seven last plagues. Furthermore, six men with slaughter weapons are not seven angels with seven vials containing the seven last plagues. Since six comes before seven and is one short of completeness, it clearly shows that the Church is to be judged first by the six men of Ezekiel 9 with slaughter weapons and Babylon is then to be judged by the seven angels with the seven last plagues.
"For the time is come that judgment must first 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?" I Pet. 4:17.
Is it any wonder that the servant of the Lord placed the following inditement on record:
"False doctrine is one of the satanic influences that work in the church, and brings into it those who are unconverted in heart .... Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan."--TM 48:1, 409, 410.
Since we don't stand in SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST pulpits, and since we don't bring people into the Church, who is doing this work?
Again, if judgment is to first begin at the house of God, then it shows clearly that there must at least be a second time for God's judgment to fall on others, and Peter asks the question, "what shall the end be of them which obey not the gospel of God?" So again, before the seven last plagues are poured out on Babylon, Ezekiel 9 falls on the wicked in Laodicea and God frees the Church from sin and sinners before Christ comes. Thus the Church is prepared to take the Gospel of the Kingdom to all the world in the time of the loud cry.
"Satan will work his miracles to deceive, he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out [during the purification, not destroyed at Christ's second coming, as is erroneously taught]. The chaff is separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony [of truth] will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths [the 144,000]. The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy.
"The great issue so near at hand will weed out those whom God has not appointed [here is the Judgment, the harvest, the separation of the tares from the wheat (TM 234, 235)], and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain."--E. G. White, B-55, 1886.
"His church is to be a temple built after the divine similitude, and the angelic architect has brought his golden measuring rod from heaven, that every stone may be hewed and squared by the divine measurement, and polished to shine as an emblem of heaven, radiating in all directions the bright, clear beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The church is to be fed with manna from heaven, and to be kept under the sole guardianship of His grace. Clad in complete armor of light and righteousness, she enters upon her final conflict. The dross, the worthless material, will be consumed, and the influence of the truth testifies to the world of its sanctifying, ennobling character."--TM 17, 18.
"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' (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer."--PK 725:1.
All of this takes place before "the coming of Christ." Therefore in the light of logic, reason and the more sure word, Ezekiel 9 cannot take place "at the coming of Christ."
"6. RE: Time Setting-- What about time setting after 1844?
" 'If we were to mark out the exact time of the beginning of this sealing, we would say it began sometime during 1929.--The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 1, p. 32."
Then you wrongly accused the Rod movement of time setting with the following statement:
"Note: In the Rod movement, there have been several times when they have set dates for certain events to take place. One such illustration was a prediction that on April 22, 1959, the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 would take place in the SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST Church and the 144,000 Shepherd's Rod would be transported to Jerusalem where they would set up Christ's kingdom."
Thus you gleefully wrote as though you have the "goods" on the Rod movement. But again, "come ... let us reason together."
We categorically deny that there have been "several times when they have set dates for certain events to take place," and we challenge you to produce any other time, other than the one you cited, when any dates were set. A little bit of history will serve to open the eyes of the honest and to show your complicity with the General Conference Committee in making such a statement, for the purpose of making the Rod appear as gross error.
In 1955, after the death of Brother V. T. Houteff, his wife and her Executive Council took control of the headquarters of the Rod message contrary to the instruction of the Constitution and By-Laws of The Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association. Shortly after, they came up with an interpretation of Revelation 11 that Ezekiel 9 would take place on April 22, 1959. But her interpretation is not to be found in the entire writings of The Shepherd's Rod message. So the faithful and loyal worldwide adherents of the Rod message protested against their private interpretation by their time setting and by their putting the Rod on the altar. Bear in mind that Brother Houteff was dead and long gone when this was done. Ignoring our pleas and several efforts to show them the error of their way, we sent on April 9, 1959, a disclaimer to the General Conference President and the Executive Committee as follows:
To The General Conference
"Dear Elder _____ and Committee Members:
"On the 17th of February, 1959, a letter purporting to be from The General Association of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists was addressed to you brethren. It was signed, 'By the Executive Council.' We deeply deplore and regret the letter and consequent necessity which the Council thereby thrust upon us of entering categorical disclaimer that the letter was from The General Association of Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists, or that the Council was representing the Association either in the position which they took in the letter or in their addressing it to the General Conference Committee. They were not authorized by the General Association of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists either to interpret Revelation 11 or any other part of the Bible or to deliver themselves of any pronouncement of any kind to you brethren or to anyone else, to say nothing of delivering to you a combined ultimatum and appeal to end all appeals to you from Davidians. In doing so, they represented strictly themselves and their associates, and none others; and the views they expressed were strictly their own, not those of the Association. Thus it speaks for neither the Association nor the ROD, but exclusively for the nine who unconstitutionally authored it and the doctrinal fallacy which it presumptuously trumpets forth and lays on the altar in showdown test in the name of God and the ROD.
"In thus presenting their own views on Revelation 11:2-13 as an integral part of The Shepherd's Rod message, then assuming to place the ROD, which they profess to exalt as the Word of God in present Truth, 'on the altar' of test by placing perforce their own run-out 42-month teaching in the balance for Time to judge, they thereby willingly risk dooming and sacrificing the ROD with and to their own foredoomed private interpretation of Revelation 11:2-13. Against this false representation, we voice a steadily mounting chorus of protest from the worldwide fellowship of the genuine ROD believers comprising the voluntary Association of Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists, and in unison we vigorously disclaim any part for the Association in the Council's colossal effrontery to God in their placing the ROD 'on the altar.' As if God vouchsafes any uninspired mortal the prerogative of placing on the altar of test a message from the word of God. All that these falsely exhilarated, out-of-place brethren can do and are doing is to place their own private interpretation of Revelation 11:2-13-- a gross misrepresentation of the ROD--in Time's balance.
"The ultimatum which their letter delivered to you brethren is the voice, let it again be repeated, not of the ROD of God, but strictly of the new-Carmel group, speaking exclusively for themselves and their retainers, and not for 100% ROD believers comprising the free, worldwide fellowship of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists, who take this regrettable occasion to appeal to you burdened brethren to restudy and reevaluate the ROD's own treatment of the grave issue before us-- the inexorably approaching denouement of Revelation 11:2-13 and correlative prophecies.
"Surely, Brethren, you will agree that prudence dictates that you take no chance in a matter of such gravity as invests this issue. Too much is at stake, and 'time and chance' are fast spending. Most earnestly, therefore, we pray you dispassionately to reassess the subject as it is treated of in the ROD. To facilitate your doing so with the least possible expenditure of time and effort we are accompanying this disclaimer and appeal with a definitive presentation of the ROD'S treatment of the key phase and of kindred aspects of the subject.
"Finally, Brethren, know that it is the earnest prayer of the fundamentalist Davidians represented hereby, that you will give this subject the prayerful, sober, and reflective hearing not only that prudence dictates but also that the weightiest interests of your own and a million other souls demand.
"Sincerely yours to 'hear ... the ROD, and who hath appointed it' (Mic. 6:9) and 'to witness the demonstration of God's leading' through it,
"The Fellowship of Fundamentalist Davidian Seventh-day Adventists.
"P. S. We may pardonably emphasize the fact that when the Council's predictions and program as set forth in Codes, Vol. 14, Nos. 6, 8, and 9, come to naught shortly (the 30th day of this April  is the absolute limit of the 31/2 years embraced in their own pronouncement: ". . . we have already [November 1955] entered the period of forty-two months, . . ." -- 11Code 1:13:3, it will be the private predictions and the private program of the new-Code and the new-Carmel), not the inspired program of the ROD which will thus be denuded of integrity, discredited, and humiliated. The ROD and genuine ROD Davidians will endure to the end to finish their Heaven-ordained mission to the Church and to the world."--Calling 144,000 Nathaniels, pp. 8-10. (All emphases and parentheses belong to letter.)
Any honest Adventist will quickly see that blaming the ROD for the time setting on April 22, 1959 in the light of the above quoted letter could only be charged to malicious intent to blacken the ROD in every way possible. This is why, Pastor, that although you may not have known about the afore quoted letter, the General Conference Defense Committee knew about it, but in spite of this knowledge, they continue to accuse the Rod message of time setting. If you had not depended on the counsel of the leadership to know whether The Shepherd's Rod is error or truth, but had made a personal investigation of it, you would not have fallen in the trap of accepting and perpetrating such falsehoods of accusing the Rod with the time-setting of April 22, 1959. Says the servant of the Lord, "Every error is sin."--TDWG 163:2.
Your effort to spread disinformation that the Rod has set time is just as dishonest and biased as the allegations of those who hate the Adventist Church and who charge that the failure of the 1844 prophecy marks the Advent movement as false. By parity of reasoning, if you accept the groundless charge that the Rod has set dates, then you will have to be consistent and accept the charge that Adventism was guilty of setting a date, for an event that failed, in 1844.
As for setting the time that the sealing began in 1929, here is another false accusation which we categorically deny. If an event is predicted, and time is set for the event beforehand, then that is setting time. In this case, however, Brother Houteff did not set the time for the sealing prior to 1929. The statement you quoted from The Shepherd's Rod, Volume 1, page 32, under Point Number 6 was written in 1930-1931, after the sealing message came in 1929, and looking back on the event, Brother Houteff wrote, "If we were to mark out the exact time of the beginning of this sealing, we would say it began sometime during 1929 [the time when the sealing message of Revelation 7 and Ezekiel 9 came to the Church]."The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 1, p. 32:1 (fireside edition).
"7. Who is the Messenger of the Covenant spoken of in Malachi 3:1?
"The messenger is not the Lord Himself, but note that he is the one who shall prepare the way for the Lord. He is called the 'messenger of the covenant' (agreement or promise).--The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 240:2."
In order to make the laity believe that this statement contradicts what Sister White says, you quote the following from The Ministry of Healing:
" 'To all people, rich and poor, free and bond, Christ, the Messenger of the covenant, brought the tidings of salvation:--MH 22:1; See DA 34:1, 161:1:'
Once again, Pastor -- , your scholarship is faulty and you have not only obviously failed to study the Rod in its entirety, but you have not even studied or quoted all of Sister White's statements on this subject.
There are other passages in the Spirit of Prophecy which deal with the messenger of the covenant. Consider the one in Gospel Workers, page 42:2.
As far back as 1934 Brother Houteff was asked the following question, and he gave the following answer:
"Please explain how to harmonize The Shepherd's Rod, Volume 2, page 240:2, with Gospel Workers, page 42:2-- subject, 'The Messenger of the Covenant.'
"To the surface reader The Shepherd's Rod and Gospel Workers appear to be in direct opposition to each other, but when the subject is well studied, then they will be found to be in perfect agreement. Such apparently conflicting statements are not found only in these two publications, but in Gospel Workers itself, for while Christ is named the 'Messenger of the covenant' on page 44, this same title is applied to Moses on page 20. Here follows the comparison:
"When Moses was chosen as the messenger of the covenant, the word given him was, 'Be thou for the people to Godward.'" -- GW 20:1
"Christ, the Messenger of the covenant brought the tidings of salvation" -- GW 44:2
"If we conclude that The Shepherd's Rod is wrong by its saying that the promised Elijah's message of Malachi 4:5 is the 'messenger of the covenant,' and Gospel Workers for applying the same title to both Christ and Moses, then we might as well infer that Christ likewise misapplied the same scripture, for 'Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John.... But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come' (Matt. 11:7, 9, 10, 14).
"Here we see that Jesus applied the message of Malachi three to that of John the Baptist .... As Christ was the 'Messenger of the covenant' at His first advent; also Moses, while leading Israel out of Egypt; in like manner, John the Baptist's message; and the one to the Laodiceans-- all four were compared to the message of Malachi 3:1. Here we see that the title, 'messenger of the covenant: referred to by Malachi, is applied to more than one person, in the same manner as the promises which were made to ancient Israel are now applicable to modern Israel-- the 144,000.
"Says the Spirit of Prophecy, '. . .It is necessary now that the minds of God's people should be open to understand the Scriptures. To say that a message means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God.'--R & H, October 21, 1890.
"As God had made a written covenant with His ancient people that He was to send them the Messiah, Christ came in fulfillment of that covenant, and having brought a message by His teachings, He was the 'Messenger of the covenant.' But the words of Malachi in chapter three, verse one, make plain that before the Lord comes 'to His temple,' He will send a messenger to prepare the way, at which time He is to purify the sons of Levi--those who minister in 'His temple'--the Church. As he that 'is filthy' at the moment probation closes must remain 'filthy' (Rev. 22:11), it follows that this work of purification which the Lord is to perform at His coming must be accomplished in probationary time, and long before the gospel work is finished, for He cannot finish it with the impure 'sons of Levi'--the ministry. This particular coming of the Lord is also predicted in Testimonies, Volume 5, pages 80:0, 690:0.
"In view of the fact that Christ at His coming to purify the Church will not in person preach the message as He did before the crucifixion, but send someone other than Himself, how could He at this time be the 'messenger of the covenant'? There is but one answer to this the one who brings the message must be the 'messenger of the covenant,' and when the Lord sends him he will fulfill the promise of Malachi 4:5. Having prepared 'the way,' the Lord will 'sit as a refiner and purifier of silver' (Mal. 3:3), 'and it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is Written among the living in Jerusalem: when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion' (Isa. 4:3, 4).
"Furthermore, though the title, 'messenger of the covenant,' is applied to more than one messenger, it rightfully belongs to the Holy Spirit, and only for the reason that the Spirit of God is in them are they designated by that title. For example, we call the reader's attention to I Peter 3:18-20. There it is stated that Christ went and preached to the antediluvian by the same 'Spirit' Who 'quickened' Him. Being stated that He went by the Spirit and not in person, it proves that Christ accomplished this by that same Spirit through Noah. Hence, Christ being the 'Messenger of the covenant,' and He being in Noah by the Spirit, compels us to acknowledge that the title, 'messenger of the covenant,' belongs not only to those mentioned in this article, including Noah, but to all God's chosen messengers in whose message is Christ, by that same Spirit.
"It is for the fact of this union the Spirit in the messengers, that the Word says, 'holy men of God spake, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' 2 Pet. 1:21. Briefly summarized, the words, 'messenger of the covenant ' 'mean nothing more or less than to say, The Holy Spirit in Heaven's visible representative, or the invisible Christ in the message." --The Symbolic Code, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 4, 6.
Although the burden of proof concerning the messenger of the covenant is upon Sister White's writings since two of her statements seem contradictory, the Rod does not artificially exploit this seeming contradiction (an attempt, however, which you make), but like the honest and faithful mouthpiece of truth that it is, it actually clarifies and reconciles Sister White's statements, thereby strengthening faith in the Spirit of Prophecy writings.
"8. RE: The Holy Spirit and the Two Rains--Is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and falling of the two rains (early and latter rain) different or identical events? See Joel 2:23-29.
"'Note that the 'rain' comes first and the pouring out of His Spirit afterwards. Therefore, the rain is one thing, and the pouring out of the spirit is another.' The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2, p. 256:1. 'The former rain being the writings of Sister White, and the 'latter rain' being the [Shepherd's] Rod.'--The Answerer, Book 1, pp. 87, 88, 1944 Edition; p. 81:0, 1983 Edition.
Then under this point you continued:
"'The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the 'former rain: and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant.--Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 21:2.
"'The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the 'former rain' was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the up-springing of the precious seed, so the 'latter rain' will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest.'--The Desire of Ages, p. 611:2. [This reference you wrongly credited to The Desire of Ages. It is found in The Great Controversy.] (Bracketed statement supplied.)
"Note: from this teaching the idea grows that Victor Houteff's writings are even more important than E. G. White's and this becomes apparent as we see when his writings contradict hers, they simply ignore Sister White's in favor of V. T. Houteff's as we have already seen. [Here again is another groundless accusation, for anyone who reads this letter can see that Brother Houteff does not "ignore" Sister White's writings, neither do his writings contradict hers, but clearly uphold and support them. The solemn and important question here is: "How readest thou?" It is you and the Defense Committee who are ignoring all that Sister White has written by blindly rejecting and fighting the Rod message that God has sent to His imperiled Church.] This is a follow-through on the teaching mentioned earlier that Enoch did not understand all the truth in his day, obviously Sister White didn't either, and Mr. Houteff understands more??" (Bracketed statement supplied.)
No, Pastor, this is not a "follow-through" on the question raised about the Rod's position on Enoch as you can clearly see from rereading pages 7-11 of this letter. What is a "follow-through" is your superficial and prejudicial way of taking the Rod statements out of context which you continue to do in point after point in your so-called "Comparative Study," and then manipulating them so as to make the unsuspecting soul believe that the Rod is contradicting the E. G. White doctrines. From the biased and superficial way you have handled these points, it should be clear to all that neither you nor the Defense Committee nor the General Conference have ever given The Shepherd's Rod message an unprejudiced and unbiased hearing, but you are adamantly fighting it, and your performance in the pulpit from Sabbath to Sabbath since you have taken this stand is anything but "love" for the "little ones" in your flock whom you think are going astray. You are blindly fighting what you have never investigated for yourself so you do not know whether the Rod message is truth or error.
Again you have quoted out of context The Answerer, Book 1, pages 87, 88, and then, not being satisfied, you made your biased and unconscionable statement in the "Note" afore quoted. Again, I am going to quote for you the full text of the question and answer on this subject and let the Rod speak for itself, in but a few of the many statements it has made on the subject of the latter rain:
"Question No. 11:
"'The Shepherd's Rod' says that the former rain is the publications of the Spirit of Prophecy, and that the latter rain is the closely related pre-Pentecostal message, or 'teacher of righteousness,' which the Church is now receiving [and rejecting!], and that the Pentecostal 'power' is still another thing. But The Great Controversy says that the 'former rain' was the 'outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days,' and the 'latter rain,' the Pentecostal outpouring itself, is to occur in the last days. What is one to believe?
"Both books are endeavoring to say what the Bible says, and in order to bring harmony we must restudy the subject directly from the Bible, specifically from Joel's prophecy. 'Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.' Joel 2:23.
"No one should fail to see that Joel's prophecy calls for double fulfillment. Although those who are promised the latter rain are told that they have already been given the former rain, and yet that when the latter rain falls upon them, it will bring the former rain with it, both rains coming upon them in the first month. The marginal rendering for the rain designates it a 'teacher of righteousness.' Now, if the former rain repeats and comes down with the latter rain in the same month, then the fact stands out in bold relief that whereas 'the former rain: comprehending the rain in the apostles' day, is the one of which The Great Controversy speaks; 'the former rain' which falls in the month of the latter rain, is the one of which the Rod speaks.
"In the natural realm, the former rain bursts and sprouts the seed and the latter rain brings the blade to full development. So in the spiritual realm, 'the former rain' must denote a heaven-sent message to germinate the spiritual seed, and 'the latter rain' a subsequent message to ripen the grain for the spiritual harvest. In thus bringing the receiver to full maturity of righteousness, the former and the latter rains represent two teachers of righteousness. Therefore in the complete application, the two latter-day rains, 'the former' and 'the latter' of Joel 2:23 are, respectively, not only the outpouring of the first pre-Pentecostal truth, the teachings of Christ in His day, the type, but are also the initial outpouring of the last pre-Pentecostal truth, the advanced Truth in our day, the antitype. First there must be the revelation of Pentecostal truth before there can be given the Pentecostal power to proclaim it: 'And it shall come to pass afterward [after the former and the latter rain],' declares the Giver of the rain, 'that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh.' Joel 2:28.
"Accordingly, these two manifestations of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:23, 27) are seen to be sequential. The first develops a people by teaching them in righteousness; the second fully matures them, and clothes them with power to proclaim the truth in righteousness. In consequence, there is given in the first phase of the work (verse 23) 'a teacher of righteousness' who trains an army of under-teachers of righteousness for the carrying out of the second phase (verse 27).
"Since there was to be a revelation of truth in the apostles', in Sister White's, and in our day, The Great Controversy is correct in saying that, at that time (when it was written), the former rain comprehended the 'rain' of truth in the apostles' day. But as today 'the former rain' is not only the truth of the apostles' day but also that of Sister White's day, the Rod is correct in saying that her writings are 'the former rain' today, and that the latter rain, as Joel shows, is directly applicable to the last message--the message of today (Joel 2:23). Thus only (with 'the former rain' writings of Sister White, and the 'latter rain' in the Rod) can both former and latter fall at the same time, as required by Joel 2:23. And the Spirit's power, subsequent to the former and latter rain, is therefore yet future."--The Answerer, Book 1, pp. 85-88, 1944 Edition; pp. 79-81, 1983 Edition.
"The latter rain of Truth, therefore, is the very last, the one that is to develop the people of God for the harvest, for the time in which God separates the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:30), the wise virgins from the foolish ones (Matt. 25:1-12), the good fish from the bad (Matt. 13:47, 48), and the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32, 33). In short, the harvest is the day of cleansing, the day of Judgment, the antitypical Day of Atonement, the day in which the sinners are cut off. This spiritual latter rain is, therefore, to do to the Church just what the natural latter rain does to the field. Without this latter rain the saints could not develop for the heavenly garner, neither could the tares for the fire. By the 'latter rain,' therefore, is illustrated the last shower of Truth. And, too, this last portion of Truth must come as freely to every member of the Church who lives just prior to the harvest time as does the rain come to every grass in the field. Just as soon as this final touch of development is accomplished, the sickle is to be put to the precious golden grain. Let us remember, however, that it is not left in the field to rot but is put into the 'barn' (Kingdom), while the tares are burned, so says the Lord (Matt. 13:30). What is symbolized by the 'latter rain'? Is it miracle-working Truth, or is it miracle-working power? The prophet Joel explains that the miracle-working power comes after both the 'former and the latter rain.'
" 'And it shall come to pass afterward [after the former and the latter rain--Joel 2:23], that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.' Joel 2:28, 29.
"Plainly then, the 'latter rain' is miracle-working Truth that causes the saints to mature for the harvest of which the 144,000 are the first fruits (Rev. 14:4). Then, in order to quickly gather the second fruits, God pours His Spirit upon every first fruit saint (upon 'every one grass'), old or young, boy or girl-- not upon one here and upon another there."--Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 17, pp. 3, 4.
"9. RE: Second Coming, Will there be Two Comings of Christ?
"The separation which takes place when Christ comes the second time, is His taking the saints to Heaven with Him (John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:17) and leaving the wicked dead here on earth. In this way His second coming does bring about a physical separation. But the preliminary separation that takes place before the second advent of Christ, is at His invisible coming, when He puts the 'sheep' on His right and the 'goats' on His left (Matt. 25:32, 33)."--The Answerer, Book 2, p. 39:1, 1944 Edition.
"(Note: The Rod teaches that the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 will take place before the close of probation for the world when Christ will come for this purpose invisibly."
Again, you make a desperate effort to make The Shepherd's Rod teaching on Ezekiel 9 seem fanatically absurd and farfetched and contrary to mainline Adventist teaching on the second coming of Christ.
But what is the truth, Pastor? Both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy support the invisible coming of Christ to His temple (Mal. 3:1) to "purify the sons of Levi," to separate the sheep from the goats, the tares from the wheat, the bad fish from the good fish, the dross from the gold. The invisible coming of Christ to effect this separation is in no way negating the second coming of Christ. Over and over the pages of The Shepherd's Rod literature speaks of this coming of Christ to His temple for judgment. Again, though, we shall quote the entire text from The Answerer, Book 2, along with the statement you unethically quoted out of context:
"Question No. 24:
"Christ's Object Lessons, page 123:2 says: 'When the work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation between the good and the evil.' Does not the separation here mentioned take place at the second advent?
"The separation which takes place when Christ comes the second time is His taking the saints to Heaven with Him (John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:17) and leaving the wicked dead here on earth (2 Thess. 2:7, 8). In this way His second coming does bring about a physical separation. But the preliminary separation that takes place before the second advent of Christ is at His invisible coming, when He puts the 'sheep' on His right and the 'goats' on His left (Matt. 25:32, 33; 13:30; Rev. 18:4; Matt. 13:48).
"'I saw the saints,' writes Sister White, 'leaving the cities and villages, and associating together in companies, and living in the most solitary places. Angels provided them food and water, while the wicked were suffering from hunger and thirst. Then I saw the leading men of the earth consulting together, and Satan and his angels busy around them. I saw a writing, copies of which were scattered in different parts of the land, giving orders that unless the saints should yield their peculiar faith, give up the Sabbath, and observe the first day of the week, the people were at liberty after a certain time, to put them to death. But in this hour of trial the saints were calm and composed, trusting in God, and leaning upon His promise that a way of escape would be made for them. In some places, before the time for the decree to be executed, the wicked rushed upon the saints to slay them; but angels in the form of men of war fought for them. Satan wished to have the privilege of destroying the saints of the Most High; but Jesus bade His angels watch over them. God would be honored by making a covenant with those who had kept His law, in the sight of the heathen round about them; and Jesus would be honored by translating, without their seeing death, the faithful, waiting ones who had so long expected Him.'--EARLY WRITINGS 282, 283.
"The fact that the saints were prophetically seen in companies by themselves before the second coming of Christ, again proves that the separation between saint and sinner takes place before His appearing. The separation that is effected by Christ's second coming, however, is still greater.
"So, though the message in Christ's Object Lessons, page 123:2, does apply to the separation (the righteous being taken to Heaven and the wicked being left on earth) at the second advent of Christ, yet it does not obviate at all the separation of the 'tares' from the 'wheat' (Matt. 13:30), or the 'sheep' from the 'goats' (Matt. 25:32).
"And now, since the distinctive truth of the Investigative Judgment in Heaven is the Seventh-day Adventists' doctrinal touchstone, let us use it on the subject of the separation.
"That part of the Investigative Judgment of the living, by which is determined who are to have their sins blotted out and, as a result, be given eternal life, is paralleled on earth by the work of the angel with the 'writer's inkhorn who is charged to 'mark' (seal) everyone who sighs and cries for all the abominations in Judah and Israel--the Church. And the work of the five others who follow on to slay all who have not the 'mark' (seal) is paralleled in Heaven by the blotting out of the sinners' names from the Book of Life. (See Ezekiel 9; TM 445:2; 5T 211:1.)
"Thus we see that this dual prophetic work of separating the names of the sinners from the names of the righteous in the Sanctuary, and separating the sinners from the righteous in the Church, is the same as the work decreed in the parables: separating the tares from the wheat (Matt. 13:30); the bad fish from the good (Matt. 13:48); those who have not the wedding garment from those who have it (Matt. 22:1-13); those who have not improved their talents from those who have (Matt. 25:20-30).
"As all these equivalent separations take place during the Investigative Judgment, before the wedding, the coronation, the reception of the Kingdom (Dan. 7:9, 10, 13, 14), it is evident that the harvest and the Judgment are counterparts, and that they take place before probation closes--when the Lord suddenly comes to His temple to 'purify the sons of Levi.' Mal. 3:1-3. And as the Judgment of the dead is followed by the Judgment of the living, so the Judgment of the Church is followed by the Judgment of the world. And 'if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?' (I Pet. 4:17)-- when the Great Judge sits upon the throne of His glory, when all the nations gather before Him, when as a shepherd He divides His sheep (Matt. 25:31-46)."--The Answerer, Book 2, pp. 38-42, 1944 Edition.
Now compare these words with the following statement from the Spirit of Prophecy, and witness for yourself who is out of line with the teachings of the Spirit of Prophecy:
"Jesus has left us word: 'Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.' We are waiting and watching for the return of the Master, who is to bring the morning, lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping. What time is here referred to? Not to the revelation of Christ in the clouds of heaven to find a people asleep. No; but to His return from His ministration in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, when He lays off His priestly attire and clothes Himself with garments of vengeance, and when the mandate goes forth: 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.' "--2T 190, 191.
Now for your tenth and last point In comparing
three statements from The Shepherd's Rod publications,you use a statement
from The Great Controversy, and one from Early Writings. Here is what you
say on Point Number 10, the final, in your biased, prejudicial, scholastically
unsound and unfair "Comparative Study":
"'The eleventh-hour message has been timed and designed to reveal the Davidian Kingdom rising anew before the appearing of Christ in the clouds.'--The Answerer, Book 2, p. 77:3, 1944 Edition.
"'This prophesied era of absolute righteousness, peace, and knowledge of God (in the Kingdom) under the reign of the 'rod' (David) and of the Branch (Christ), must begin before the close of probation.'-- 'Behold, I Make All Things New,' Tract No. 9, p. 45:2, 1942 Edition."
"'The Promised Land (Old Jerusalem) will be reinhabited by the Lord's own converted people.'--The Answerer, Book 2, p. 75:1, 1944 Edition."
You have done grave injustice to this final statement by adding the words "(Old Jerusalem)" without even mentioning the fact that you made this addition. Since the Rod used the words "the Promised Land," you had no moral right to tamper with it by adding "Old Jerusalem." Thus you have again shown your true spirit--that you are resorting to any means to fight the Rod. Your gratuitous addition of these words is evidence of your unethical, unsound scholarship as well as proof that you are not a Christian gentleman of integrity. Clearly, your dishonest addition of these words is one more example of your frantic efforts to make this message say what you want it to say, not what it actually says. In sum, you (and the General Conference, the source of your "Comparative Study") are practicing the old propaganda techniques of misinformation and disinformation. We are sorry to see that basic journalistic ethics are not followed much less Christian honesty and decency.
Here are two additional statements from the Spirit of Prophecy which you quoted to discredit belief in a premillennial kingdom:
"'Not until His work as mediator shall be ended will God "give unto Him the throne of His father David," a kingdom of which there shall be no end.'--GC 416:3.
" 'Then I was pointed to some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes. Such a view is calculated to take the mind and interest from the present work of the Lord, under the message of the third angel; for those who think that they are yet to go to Jerusalem will have their minds there, and their means will be withheld from the cause of present truth, to get themselves and others there. I saw that such a mission would accomplish no real good.'--Early Writings, 75:1. See Hebrews 12:22."
You and the Defense Committee from whose booklet you quote, have again done an unconscionable job of butchering the Rod statements you quoted on this point. If there is a shred of honesty left in you and those whom you have poisoned against the Rod message, we pray that you will be honest judges, and read dispassionately and unbiasedly the following statement from The Answerer, Book 2, in its entire context:
"Question No. 42:
"The Great Controversy, pages 322, 323, teaches that 'not until the personal advent of Christ can His people receive the kingdom. . . . But when Jesus comes, He confers immortality upon His people; and then He calls them to inherit the kingdom of which they have hitherto been only heirs.' Will you please help harmonize the Bible and The Shepherd's Rod with these and other passages in Sister White's writings in regard to the setting up of the Kingdom?
"Although the doctrine of the Kingdom does not appear as complete under the lens of Sister White's writings as under the lens of the Rod, one dare not thus superficially reject either, but must the more studiously compare both views of the doctrine under the superlens of the Bible. One must ever keep in mind that we are not given license to harmonize the Bible with any other writings, but are charged to measure all others by It.
"First of all, in order to do justice to the Scriptures, to Sister White's writings, and to the Rod, the position of each on the subject must be viewed in the light of the Scriptures, which incontrovertibly teach that the Promised Land will be reinhabited by the Lord's own converted people. (See Isaiah 2; Micah 4; Ezekiel 36, 37; Jeremiah 31-33.)
"As to Sister White's statement in The Great Controversy, she is there speaking of the Kingdom complete, after the dead are raised, at the time the saints receive it. This was the only phase of the subject-- the consummate phase-- that Providence had made known when she wrote. Now as the scroll of prophetic Truth has unrolled further since her day, the Kingdom in reality is seen to have an intermediate, Davidian phase, as well as the final one, heretofore known.
"Besides the prophecies relating to the literal-- the Davidian-- Kingdom, the Bible contains many other prophetic subjects which the writings of Sister White do not even mention, let alone treat of. And if the Lord does not now reveal them to the Church to meet her need today, she will not be prepared for their fulfillment, but will be left to perish in her undone Laodicean condition. These prophecies must therefore be revealed in order to strengthen the Church in her final warfare. Otherwise, for what purpose were they written?
"No prophet of God has ever forged a complete prophetic chain of events, with no links missing. It has taken many inspired writers to complete the long chain of prophecy. The mind, therefore, which takes the position that Sister White has done what no prophet in or out of the Bible has ever done, does so at the utter disregard of actual biblical procedure and also of revealed Truth.
"She herself says that 'no man, however honored of Heaven, has ever attained to a full understanding of the great plan of redemption, or even to a perfect appreciation of the Divine purpose in the work for his own time. Men do not fully understand what God would accomplish by the work which He gives them to do; they do not comprehend, in all its bearings, the message which they utter in His name.'--GC 343:2.
"Some persons, being of the parrot kind, utter parrotlike statements, never stopping to think what they say, and seemingly never caring whether their statements stand or fall. Such are they who say that no other event or events can come before, between, or after those set forth in Sister White's writings.
"Should one insist that the continuity of events recorded in Early Writings, pages 15-17, must be taken as absolute, and that no other event or events can be sandwiched in, then he is getting himself into deep water, for the pages mentioned in no wise even intimate either the seven last plagues or the Millennium!
"Again, the Jews rejected the Lord because not all of what the prophets taught and wrote was found in the teachings of Moses. 'We know,' they said, 'that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence He is.' John 9:29.
"As no prophet's writings ever predicted the entire Truth needed by the Church to carry her clear through to the Kingdom, and as other prophets followed, either enlarging upon or adding to the prophecies already recorded in the Scriptures, then for anyone to turn down the good tidings of the Kingdom on the grounds that this phase of the Kingdom is not found in Sister White's writings, is for him to take the same inexcusable and fatal stand as did the Jews. It is to say, 'I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.' Rev. 3:17. it is this attitude that compels God to spue out of His mouth the lukewarm, satisfied Laodiceans.
"The eleventh-hour message has been timed and designed to reveal the Davidian Kingdom rising anew before the appearing of Christ in the clouds. Having no direct light, however, on this phase of the Kingdom, The Great Controversy could no more have expressed itself in the definite terms which the message today uses, than could William Miller have expressed himself on the subject of the cleansing of the Sanctuary, in such terms as we read in The Great Controversy.
"Of necessity, any statements relative to a subject which is still out of sight in the unfolding of the scroll is made only in terms in which it is at the time perceived or commonly understood. And if the common understanding of these incidental statements be wrong, the writer cannot be held responsible for that which he has borrowed from others, or seen but dimly and therefore expressed very indefinitely.
"For example, in Christ's day 'the doctrine of a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection was held by many of those who were listening to Christ's words. The Saviour knew of their ideas, and He framed His parable so as to inculcate important truths through these preconceived opinions. He held up before His hearers a mirror wherein they might see themselves in their true relation to God. He used the prevailing opinion to convey the idea He wished to make prominent to all....--COL 263:2.
"This circumstance is natural and common to every writer treating of Present Truth, beginning with the Old Testament writers, and continuing ever since, and will thus be until every component part of the Truth is made known. This is borne out in the work of John the Baptist. He was to proclaim, not the setting up of the Kingdom, but the coming of the King. But in announcing the one, he incidentally had to answer questions concerning the other. When speaking of the coming King, he expressed himself in terms of revealed Truth. But when circumstantially alluding to the coming Kingdom, on which there was no special light in his day, he necessarily expressed himself in terms of the doctrines as then commonly understood.
"Nevertheless, when the further unrolling of the scroll revealed that the Kingdom was not to be set up at that time, then the honest, truth-seeking ones did not accuse either John or Christ, but joyously watched the scroll unfold, and jubilantly marched on with the Truth. Not so, though, with the vast majority of the Jews. Their pride of opinion, forbidding them to forego their errors and to embrace advancing Truth, led them deeper into error.
" 'Thus it was: says the Spirit of Prophecy, 'that the Jews did in the days of Christ, and we are warned not to do as they did, and be led to choose darkness rather than light, because there was in them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.--TSW 66:0; CSW 30:0.
"So The Great Controversy and Early Writings make the subject of the Kingdom just as clear as the then partial unrolling of the scroll permitted the writer to view it in only one of its phases at the time she wrote both books.
"While The Great Controversy may omit showing that the establishment of the Kingdom and the inheriting of it are two different events, elsewhere the Spirit of Prophecy does do so: While the apostles, it says, 'were not to behold the coming of the kingdom in their day, the fact that Jesus bade them pray for it, is evidence that in God's own time it will surely come.
" 'The kingdom of God's grace is now being established, as day by day hearts that have been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovereignty of His love. But the full establishment of the kingdom of His glory will not take place until the second coming of Christ to this world. "The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven,' is to be given to "the people of the saints of the Most High " Dan. 7:27.--MB 108:1.
"Every Christian should remember that as the Truth is ever advancing, It will not be found today where It was yesterday, and that therefore Christ's followers must advance with It. They will not follow the examples of the Jews and the Romans.
"When Moses wrote the first part of the Bible, he was not given all the light which God intended to reveal to His people through the ages. With each approaching hour for the Truth to advance came first one prophet, then another, in a long succession ending with John the Baptist. Then came Christ, the apostles, the reformers, William Miller, and Sister White, each one in turn teaching truths which could not be borne out entirely by the writings of any one predecessor. To find all the Truth thus progressively revealed, the writings of all must be collaborated.
"For instance, in setting forth the law of the Passover, and in commanding its observance, Moses wrote: 'Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.' Ex. 12:5, 6.
"The reason which Moses assigns for the Passover observance is that it is to commemorate Israel's going out of Egypt (Deut. 16:1-3). John the Baptist, however, imputes its significance to the coming of Christ, 'the Lamb of God' (John 1:29), while the apostles assign it to His crucifixion: 'For even Christ our passover,' says Paul, 'is sacrificed for us.' 1 Cor. 5:7. And the significance of keeping the Passover, he then attaches to the ordinance of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:26).
"Similarly, Moses did not explain that the Levitical priesthood in the earthly sanctuary (Ex. 40:15) was only a provisional and thus a temporary one, a figure of Christ's priesthood in the heavenly Sanctuary, as the apostles explained (Heb. 6:19, 20; 9:12, 26).
"Failing to advance with the advancing Truth, each generation of Jews found fault with its respective prophets, culminating with the apostles and the very Son of God Himself. The Jews justified their criminal actions on the ground that the claims of their prophets, of Christ, and of the apostles, were not founded upon Moses' writings. So while boasting of Moses' writings, they denied and killed the prophets who came after him--a solemn warning to us, lest doing as they did, we meet their fate!
"The main question therefore is not as to whether Sister White's or Moses' or this one's or that one's writings contain all the messages for this day, but rather simply whether they are found in and thus supported by the Bible.
"The Rod consequently does not claim that its message is found in its entirety in the writings of any one particular prophet, but rather in the writings of all the prophets--'here a little, and there a little.' Isa. 28:13.
"Let none, therefore, treacherously use Sister White's writings, as the Jews used Moses' writings, against the advance of Truth, and to their own eternal loss. From every angle approached, the Bible clears the subject of the Kingdom, making impossible one's erring if he follows precisely what the Word says concerning It.
"The Rod does not teach either that Jerusalem is to be rebuilt, or that it is not to be rebuilt, as the capital city of the Kingdom, but only that the Kingdom in its beginning is to be set up in the Promised Land. And in confirmation of this truth, Ezekiel prophesies of
"A New Division of the Land.
"The prophet presents a division of the land entirely different from that in Joshua's time (Josh. 17): it is to be in strips from the east to the west; Dan is to have the first portion in the north, and Gad, the last portion in the south; between the borders of these two are to be the portions of the rest of the tribes; the city is to be in the midst of the land (Ezek. 48).
"The fact that such a division of the Promised Land has never been made shows that it is yet future. Also the fact that the sanctuary is to be there, whereas it is not to be in the earth made new (Rev. 21:22), again proves that this unique set-up is pre-millennial.
"In addition, the twofold fact that the name of the city is 'The Lord Is There' and that its location, according to the division of the land, necessarily must in some respects be different from that of Old Jerusalem, shows that Jerusalem of today, the city proper, may not at all be rebuilt as a capital city of the coming Kingdom. (See Tract No. 12, The World Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, pp. 52, 53, 1941 Edition.)
"If the Bible makes Itself clear on any subject, It certainly does so on the subject of the Kingdom. And rightly so, for the Kingdom is the Christian's crowning hope,
"Satan's Constant Target, the People's Repeated Stumbling Block.
"That the great controversy between Christ and Satan is over this crowning hope, the Kingdom, is seen from the Lord's repeated instructions in the prophecies, in the types, and in the parables; from Satan's constant effort to keep the human race out of it; and last, from human beings repeatedly being defeated in their warfare to become heirs of it.
"Working determinedly from the beginning to plunge all humanity into hell, Satan conceived his major strategy of misleading them concerning the Kingdom. He succeeded with most of the Jews because they wanted the Kingdom set up before its appointed time or not at all. And he is succeeding with many of the Laodiceans today because now, when the time appointed actually has come, they want to have it later or not at all! What a paradox! What an irony! Indeed, as history repeats itself, so does folly!
"The Bible says: 'In the days of these kings [the kings that are symbolized by the ten toes of the great image] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed .... It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms.' Dan. 2:44.
"Observe that 'the stone' (the Kingdom) does not become a great mountain until after it Smites the image, showing that the Kingdom begins in its infancy with only the first fruits, who soon stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb, and who later, after they have garnered in the second fruits of the living, Smite the nations; then, finally, there come from the grave the saved of all ages fully to make up the 'great mountain'-- the Kingdom complete!
"In the face of these clear-cut and repeatedly chronicled prophecies, may no one be so foolish as to say, as did the Jews in response to Ezekiel's prophecies, 'The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are afar off' (Ezek. 12:27), thereby bringing upon his head the same dreadful doom.
"Will Old Jerusalem Be Rebuilt?
"Question No. 43:
"How do you reconcile The Shepherd's Rod teaching that the Davidian Kingdom is again to be set up in Palestine, with Early Writings, pages 75, 76: 'Old Jerusalem never would be built up'?
"The context of the Early Writing's statement reveals that it refers to the Jewish Zionist Movement, and it shows that the Movement's avowed purpose to reestablish a national Jewish Homeland, centered in Jerusalem proper, will never be realized; that never will Old Jerusalem be rebuilt in accordance with the Zionist interpretation, and never will the non-Christian Jews be the subjects of the Kingdom. (See Tract No. 8, Mount Zion at 'The Eleventh Hour.')"--The Answerer, Book 2, pp. 74-86, 1944 Edition. (All emphases and parentheses belong to quotations.)
In your summation, you protest that you did not present your "Comparative Study" as "condemnation but in love." On the authority of all that is written herein, the honest judge can quickly see that the statements you quoted out of context every time, starting from your Point Number 1 from The Shepherd's Rod publications, along with your "notes" and unscrupulous comparisons with the Spirit of Prophecy, are anything but written in love. Love? Love for whom? All that you have taken out of the Rod writings, along with your comments, are condemnatory, accusatory, prejudicial and biased, and are anything but love. Is this your concept of expressing love for The Shepherd's Rod whom you regard as your enemy? What is the Bible's injunction about loving your enemies? Does that mean to falsely condemn and accuse them? What influence do your actions have on those of your flock whom you think are wandering away from the fold? What a strange and incongruous way of expressing "love"!
Then you continued in your summation: "I must say that the General Conference has looked at the teachings of the 'Rod's' (sic) many years ago, and rejected them. I feel in looking at their teachings, that I too cannot accept them as truth." (Italics supplied.)
Apart from the Spirit of Prophecy's quotations which you used, this statement is one of the few truthful and objective statements you have made in your "Comparative Study." For "looked" and "looking" at The Shepherd's Rod teachings are all that you and the General Conference have done with them. You have not only never investigated its claims (again reread pages 3-7 herein) in a systematic way, but you have blindly taken the position that it is error, and that the church members must be warned and prevented from investigating it for themselves, and if they dare refuse to take your warnings, you label them as "offshoots," "heretics," etc., and then, as you continue to "lord it over God's heritage," the next obvious thing you will do is to threaten them with unlawful disfellowshipment from God's remnant Church, if you haven't done so as yet. Isn't this the same spirit of persecution that truth-seekers have had to meet from their mother churches upon becoming Adventists? Are you so intent upon fighting the Rod that you are not deterred from following in the footsteps of Rome and others who have not accepted freedom of conscience and diversity of belief? Is it the Spirit of Christ to expel truth-seekers from the Church or is it the spirit of the Sanhedrin? If you come to the place of disfellowshiping those who are investigating the Rod message, then you and the church board must know that you do not have the power to take their names off the Lamb's Book of Life, where they will remain registered if they are faithful. You will also be conscious of the fact that your disfellowshiping them will not be because they have openly violated any of the commandments of God, or that they are in rebellion on any of the fundamental principles upon which they were baptized. You will be taking this step against them solely because they have followed the Lord's counsels to "prove all things" and to "hold fast" to "that which is good." In this connection you should carefully digest the following:
"The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.' We see here that the men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be teachers of Bible doctrine. There are many today who feel indignant and aggrieved that any voice should be raised presenting ideas that differ from their own in regard to points of religious belief. Have they not long advocated their ideas as truth? So the priests and rabbis reasoned in apostolic days: What mean these men who are unlearned, some of them mere fishermen, who are presenting ideas contrary to the doctrines which the learned priests and rulers are teaching the people? They have no right to meddle with the fundamental principles of our faith.
"But we see that the God of heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrines. Because those who were once the depositories of truth became unfaithful to their sacred trust, the Lord chose others who would receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and would advocate truths that were not in accordance with the ideas of the religious leaders. And then these leaders, in the blindness of their minds, give full sway to what is supposed to be righteous indignation against the ones who have set aside cherished fables. They act like men who have lost their reason. They do not consider the possibility that they themselves have not rightly understood the word. They will not open their eyes to discern the fact that they have misinterpreted and misapplied the Scriptures, and have built up false theories, calling them fundamental doctrines of the faith.
"But the Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler, has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions, because I do not believe them. That wonderful 'I' may attempt to put down the Holy Spirit's teaching. Men may for a time attempt to smother it and kill it; but that will not make error truth, or truth error. The inventive minds of men have advanced speculative opinions in various lines, and when the Holy Spirit lets light shine into human minds, it does not respect every point of man's application of the word. God impressed His servants to speak the truth irrespective of what men had taken for granted as truth."--TM 69, 70.
"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.
"Blessed are ye, 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. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets." Luke 6:22, 23.
By manipulating Brother Houteff's writings and over and over again quoting it out of context, you have tried to put the Rod teachings at variance with the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. But in spite of all you have done, whether through your "Comparative Study," or your sermons from the pulpit, or through the anger expressed to those who dare to investigate The Shepherd's Rod message for themselves, you have not succeeded in deceiving any honest seeker of truth, but only yourself. Every church member should clearly see the irresponsible way in which you have handled this matter from reading these lines. It is our prayer that the Lord will have mercy on you and all who are blindly following you in opposing that which they know nothing of. We pray that every honest one who reads these lines will see their God-given responsibility to "prove all things" and will "hold fast to that which is good" (I Thess. 5:21), before firing for or against The Shepherd's Rod message.
May all prayerfully ponder these important Spirit of Prophecy counsels:
"Men, women and youth, God requires you to possess moral courage, steadiness of purpose, fortitude and perseverance, minds that cannot take the assertions of another, but which will investigate for themselves before receiving or rejecting, that will study and weigh evidence, and take it to the Lord in prayer."--2T 130:1.
"Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth can not receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true--in harmony with God's word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas, that they will not examine the Scripture evidence, with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.
"The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits --because it is truth.
"The Bible must not be interpreted to suit the ideas of men, however long they may have held these ideas to be true. We are not to accept the opinion of commentators as the voice of God; they were erring mortals like ourselves. God has given reasoning powers to us as well as to them. We should make the Bible its own expositor."--TM 105, 106.
"No one should claim that he has all the light there is for God's people. The Lord will not tolerate this. He has said, 'I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.' Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time."--Id. 107:1.
"We must study the truth for ourselves. No man should be relied upon to think for us. No matter who he is, or in what position he may be placed, we are not to look upon any man as a criterion for us. We are to counsel together, and to be subject one to another; but at the same time we are to exercise the ability God has given us, in order to learn what is truth. Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment. We must individually develop a character that will stand the test in the day of God. We must not become set in our ideas, and think that no one should interfere with our opinions.
"When a point of doctrine that you do not understand comes to your attention, go to God on your knees, that you may understand what is truth, and not be found as were the Jews, fighting against God. While warning men to beware of accepting anything unless it is truth, we should also warn them not to imperil their souls by rejecting messages of light, but to press out of the darkness by earnest study of the word of God."--TM 109, 110.
"The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see Thy name: hear ye the Rod, and Who hath appointed It." Mic. 6:9.
"Feed Thy people with Thy Rod, the flock of Thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old." Micah 7:14.
"And I will cause you to pass under the Rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant." Ezek. 20:37.
Sincerely yours to heed Gamaliel's counsel:
"Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.--Acts 5:38, 39.
Jemmy E. Bingham
Note: You can Read Tract Number 7 which is a documentation of the so-called hearing which the General Conference gave Brother Houteff in 1934. It is on our website.
(All emphases and parentheses belong to the "Comparative Study." All other emphases and brackets in the Spirit of Prophecy quotations supplied unless otherwise indicated.)