The Teachings of the Shepherd’s Rod in the Light of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy
(This book was written and published many years ago. Reprinted with permission of the author.)
The Shepherd’s Rod teachings came to me in the autumn of 1933. A book was sent to me which I was asked to read through twice before saying anything to anyone. I received it with joy, for across the page were the words, “The 144,000—A Call for Reformation.” Just what I was interested in!
I became an ardent supporter of the Shepherd’s Rod. Though I had read the Bible through at least three times and the Testimonies and other writings of the Spirit of Prophecy almost as many times, I could not see that this new teaching was false; so the words and entreaties of friend and ministers fell as stones at my feet. I worked all the more to give this doctrine to others.
I realize now why I could not see the falsehoods the Shepherd’s Rod teachings contain. I was so busy searching through the Spirit of Prophecy writings to find quotations and statements to harmonize with the Shepherd’s Rod that the thought never came to me that I was taking the truth out of its setting and placing it in the framework of error. How differently I would approach the matter now! I would leave the quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy just were they belonged and read from cover to cover and from book to book, then judge between truth and error. I would bring the teachings to the light of the Spirit of Prophecy.
It took seven years to bring me to my senses. Seven years of perplexity, confusion, heartache, darkness, gloom, loneliness, and suffering, mentally, physically, and spiritually, finally brought me to the place where my eyes could be opened. But as I cried out for the Lord to open my eyes and let me see what was wrong, whether I was untrue to the Shepherd’s Rod or to the Seventh-day Adventist church, I began to receive light.
The following blessed assurances were realized in my experience:
“Satan can present a counterfeit so closely resembling the truth that it deceives those who are willing to be deceived;…but it is impossible for him to hold under his power one soul who honestly desires, at whatever cost, to know the truth.” The Great Controversy, 528
“God will open the eyes of honest souls to understand the cruel work of those who scatter and divide. He will mark those who cause divisions, that every honest one may escape from Satan’s snare.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 334
I send this booklet out with a prayer that it will be of some help to those who have been led astray, as well as to those who have remained upon the true platform. My heart goes out to those in deception; for I know just how they were ensnared, and how hard it is to get free. I had declared many times that if the Shepherd’s Rod were not true, nothing was. But sincerely and honestly believing a lie does not make it true.
“God will not condemn any at the judgment because they honestly believed a lie, or conscientiously cherished error; but it will be because they neglected the opportunities of making themselves acquainted with truth.” Testimonies to Ministers, 437
Let us study the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as we have never studied before, and may truth be so embedded in our minds and hearts that we will stand unshaken against the delusions of these last days. My desire now is to help those who have been deceived, and to redeem the time that is past. I pray and beseech all those who are now in the clutches of the enemy of truth to step back upon the platform of the three angels’ messages, that the prayer of Christ may be fulfilled: “That they all may be one.”
Appreciation is hereby expressed for the hearty reception accorded the first edition of this booklet and for the many expressions of gratitude from those who have been helped by it to avoid or renounce this Shepherd’s Rod delusion.
With some clarifying revisions this edition is sent forth with the prayer that it may continue to be a blessing to the remnant church. May God help us all to realize that “God has a church upon the earth, who are his chosen people,” that “He is leading, not stray offshoots,…but a people.” (Testimonies to Ministers, 61); and to believe what Ellen White wrote to the General Conference session before her death, that “the God of Israel is still guiding His people, and that He will continue to be with them, even to the end.” The Remnant Church, 70
[Italics are mine throughout unless otherwise noted.—H.H.]
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20
“We are forewarned that there would be false prophets in the last days, and the Bible gives a test by which to try their teachings, in order that we may distinguish between the true and the false. The grand test is the law of God, which is applied both to the prophesyings and to the moral character of the prophets. If there were to be no true prophesyings in the last days, how much easier to have stated the fact, and thus cut off all chance for deception, than to give a test by which to try them, as if there would be the genuine as well as the false.”—R.F. Cottrell in Early Writings, 138
Because in the last days there are the true as well as the false prophets, we are not to despise prophesyings, for we have the promise, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Joel 2:28
“The words of a true prophet will harmonize with the law of God and the testimony of all previous prophets of God. One who claims to be a prophet may fulfill every other test, but if his instruction is contrary to the Bible and the testimonies, he proves himself to be false.” S.N. Haskell, Bible Handbook, 138, 139
“Truth is straight, plain, clear, and stands out boldly in its own defense; but it is not so with error. It is so winding and twisting that it needs a multitude of words to explain it in its crooked form.” Early Writings, 96
Chapter 1: When is the Kingdom Set Up?
The culmination of the teachings of the Shepherd’s Rod is the setting up of the kingdom of God during the loud cry and before the second, visible coming of Christ. Many texts of Scripture are quoted along with passages from the Spirit of Prophecy to try to prove this point, but let the Spirit of Prophecy speak for itself without any other interpretation, and we shall see the truth.
Will the kingdom of God, the kingdom of glory, be set up wholly or in part, at any time before the second, visible coming of Christ?
The Shepherd’s Rod—”‘And in mercy shall the throne be established: and He shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.’ Isaiah 16:5
“The fact that the establishment of Christ’s throne, according to this scripture, is yet in the future, and that He is to set His throne in the tabernacle of David on the earth, which He did not at His first coming, it proves that this time in the antitypical reign He will sit on the throne of David; and as He is to judge, and seek judgment, and hasten righteousness while sitting on the throne, it further proves that He will do this before the close of probation, for He cannot hasten righteousness after the door of probation (righteousness) has been closed to all nations.” Tract 8, 86
The Spirit of Prophecy—”Not until the personal advent of Christ can his people receive the kingdom. The Saviour said: ‘When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ We have seen by the scriptures just given that when the Son of man comes, the dead are raised incorruptible, and the living are changed. By this great change they are prepared to receive the kingdom; for Paul says, ‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.’ Man in his present state is mortal, corruptible; but the kingdom of God will be incorruptible, enduring forever. Therefore man in his present state cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 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.” The Great Controversy, 322, 323
“So the throne of glory represents the kingdom of glory; and this kingdom is referred to in the Saviour’s words, ‘When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations.’ This kingdom is yet future. It is not to be set up until the second of advent Christ.” Ibid., 347
“About His coming cluster the glories of that ‘restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.’ Then the long-continued rule of evil shall be broken; the ‘kingdoms of this world’ will become ‘the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.’ ‘The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.’ ‘The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.’ He shall be ‘for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people.’
“It is then that the peaceful and long-desired kingdom of the Messiah shall be established under the whole heaven.” Ibid., 301, 301
The Spirit of Prophecy plainly tells us that the kingdom of God will not be set up in part or wholly before the second, visible coming of Christ; that man cannot enter the kingdom until he is changed from mortal to immortal, which change cannot take place until Christ comes.
The Throne of David
The Shepherd’s Rod quotes many Bible texts that speak of David and Israel, to prove the setting up of the kingdom of God before the close of probation. To the surface reader, to the inexperienced, and to those who do not “dig deep” it is confusing, but if one will bear in mind what the Spirit of Prophecy says, it is clear that the kingdom of God cannot be set up until the Second Advent. Let us take some of the texts that are quoted by the Shepherd’s Rod and see what light the Spirit of Prophecy throws on them.
The Shepherd’s Rod—”Again we read in Hosea 3:4,5 that the children of Israel were to ‘abide many days without a king;’ which has been their lot unto our time ever since from the days when they were led into Babylonish captivity. But ‘afterward,’ some time in the future says the Scripture, ‘shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.
“When this prophecy was made, David, the king of ancient Israel, had been dead for many years. Therefore, the David of Hosea’s prophecy can only be the antitypical king who reigns in the ‘latter days’—our time. Thus we see that, out of the twelve tribes, all those, and only those, who ‘fear the Lord and His goodness’ (not the unconverted Jews who even deny the divinity of Christ) shall be gathered together, and shall appoint themselves one ‘head’ or ‘king’—David in antitype.” Tract 8, 11, 12
The Spirit of Prophecy—”The prophecies of judgment delivered by Amos and Hosea were accompanied by predictions of future glory. To the ten tribes, long rebellious and impenitent, was given no promise of complete restoration to their former power in Palestine. Until the end of time, they were to be ‘wanderers among the nations.’ But through Hosea was given a prophecy that set before them the privilege of having a part in the final restoration that is to be made to the people of God at the close of earth’s history, when Christ shall appear as King of kings and Lord of lords. ‘Many days,’ the prophet declared, the ten tribes were to abide ‘without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.’ ‘Afterward,’ the prophet continued, ‘shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.’’ Prophets and Kings, 298
“To the ‘profane wicked prince’ had come the day of final reckoning. ‘Remove the diadem,’ the Lord decreed, ‘and take off the crown.’ Not until Christ Himself should set up his kingdom was Judah again to be permitted to have a king. ‘I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it,’ was the divine edict concerning the throne of the house of David; and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him,’” Ibid., 451
“He ‘shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne.’ Not now ‘upon the throne of His glory;’ the kingdom of glory has not been yet ushered in. Not until His work as a mediator shall be ended, will God ‘give unto Him the throne of His father David,’ a kingdom of which ‘there shall be no end.’” The Great Controversy, 416
We see by the above quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy that there is to be no king on the throne of David until Christ Himself shall receive it when He appears as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the one raised up to sit on David’s throne. See Acts 2:29-30.
The Cleansing Fountain
The Shepherd’s Rod—”Speaking of the time when the descendants of the two ancient kingdoms, Judah and Israel, are to be gathered together with the antitypical David as their king, the prophet Zechariah says: ‘In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness.’ Zechariah 13:1
“The fact that ‘to the house of David’ there is a fountain opened ‘for sin and for uncleanness,’ proves that the consolidation of these two kingdoms is accomplished, and that then the gospel is proclaimed in all the world, because no one can by that ‘fountain’ have his sin and uncleanness washed away after the close of probation.” Tract 8, 17, 18 (Italics theirs.)
In other words, the Shepherd’s Rod teaches that there can be no “house of David” until the kingdoms of Judah and Israel are literally reunited on this earth, and that after this union takes place, the gospel is proclaimed to all the world. But according to the Spirit of Prophecy, a spiritual “house of David” is referred to, and the “fountain” signifies the divine provisions for our salvation.
The Spirit of Prophecy—”In order to gain a proper knowledge of ourselves, it is necessary to look into the mirror, and there discovering our own defects, avail ourselves of the blood of Christ, the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, in which we may wash our robes of character and remove the stains of sin. But many refuse to see their errors and correct them; they do not want a true knowledge of themselves.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 58, 59
“To Jeremiah, Christ is ‘the fountain of living waters;’ to Zechariah, ‘a fountain opened…for sin and for uncleanness.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 413
“Christ came as the Great Physician to heal the wounds that sin has made in the human family, and His Spirit, working through His servants, imparts to sin-sick, suffering human beings a mighty healing power, that is efficacious for the body and the soul. ‘In that day,’ says the Scriptures, ‘there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.’ (Zechariah 13:1) The waters of this fountain contain medicinal properties that will heal both physical and spiritual infirmities.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 227
The Ensign of Isaiah Eleven
The Shepherd’s Rod—”The above quoted scriptures [Isaiah 11:2-5; Revelation 22:16] plainly show that from the ‘stem’ of Jesse came the ‘rod’ (David), and that from the rod sprang the Branch (Christ). Therefore, ‘in that day’—in our time—David the visible king and Christ the invisible King of kings shall constitute the ‘ensign,’ and ‘to it shall the Gentiles seek,’ and His ‘rest’ (or His resting place,—the location, where the ‘rod’ or ensign stands), and ‘it’ (the kingdom) ‘shall be glorious,’ proving that the church, or kingdom, shall be without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Saith the Lord, ‘I will make the place of My feet glorious.’ (Isaiah 60:13)” Tract 8, 42
These passages are used by the Shepherd’s Rod to prove that Judah and Israel will be united into a literal kingdom under David as king. But the Spirit of Prophecy gives no such idea.
The Spirit of Prophecy—”The groups of missionaries in heathen lands have been likened by the prophet to ensigns set up for the guidance of those who are looking for the light of truth.
“’In that day,’ says Isaiah, ‘there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious; and it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people….And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.’” Isaiah 11:10-12 Prophets and Kings, 375, 376
Broken in Pieces
The Shepherd’s Rod—”The Prophet Daniel plainly declares that ‘in the days of these kings,’ and not after their destruction, ‘shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom,’ and that instead of Christ’s second advent, as understood by some, it is ‘the kingdom’ that ‘shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms,’ and thus it shall fill ‘the whole earth.’” Tract 8, 56. Daniel 2:44, 35
Thus the Shepherd’s Rod teaches that a kingdom which is set up before Christ’s second coming will break in pieces and consume all these other kingdoms before Christ appears.
The Spirit of Prophecy—”Our kingdom is not of this world. We are waiting for our Lord from heaven to come to earth to put down all authority and power, and set up His everlasting kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 360, 361
Where and When Perfect Safety?
The Shepherd’s Rod—”The following scripture reveals the fact that at the time God shall use this spiritual kingdom to smite the nations, it will be in perfect safety as though in heaven. ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the cow. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’ Isaiah 11:6-9″ Tract 8, 57, 58
The Spirit of Prophecy—”Those who accept the teachings of God’s Word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. And yet, ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.’ Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God.
“In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called a country. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters….’My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.’…There ‘the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.’ ‘Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree.’ ‘the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;…and a little child shall lead them.’ ‘They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,’ saith the Lord.” The Great Controversy, 675, 676
The Shepherd’s Rod places the above pictured scene, which the Spirit of Prophecy says is in the new earth, or Paradise of God, in a kingdom on this earth before the second coming of Christ. As the Spirit of Prophecy has plainly stated that the kingdom cannot be set up before the second, personal coming of Christ nor the saints receive the kingdom, the Shepherd’s Rod falls before the test. Does it not seem ridiculous to claim that the Shepherd’s Rod teachings are in perfect harmony with the Spirit of Prophecy?
The Shepherd’s Rod also endeavors to bolster its theory of a temporal kingdom of David before the close of probation by Jesus’ parable of the pounds.
The Shepherd’s Rod—”but as they ‘sent a message after Him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us,’ it is plain that before Christ’s return, the kingdom is to be set up….There is to be a ‘man’ in Christ’s visible stead reigning over them. Hence, while probation lingered, and while by ‘simple means’ He is ‘taking the reins in His own hands’ (Testimonies to Ministers, 300), they said to Christ in their message, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ Hence ‘this man’ is the antitypical David, the ‘simple means’—the visible king, and Christ the invisible King, as He was in the exodus movement—the type.” Tract 8, 63 (Italics theirs.)
Note that when one goes into error, to what length it will take him, as the above application of Luke 19:14 shows. But let the Spirit of Prophecy speak again:
The Spirit of Prophecy—”The whole wicked world stand arraigned at the bar of God, on the charge of high treason against the government of Heaven. They have none to plead their cause; they are without excuse; and the sentence of eternal death is pronounced against them….All see that their exclusion from heaven is just. By their lives they have declared” ‘We will not have this Jesus to reign over us.’” The Great Controversy, 688
“On whose side are we? The world cast Christ out; the heavens received Him. Man, finite man, rejected the Prince of life; God, our Sovereign Ruler, received Him into the heavens. God has exalted Him….We must all think candidly. Will you have this man Christ Jesus to rule over you, or will you have Barabbas?” Testimonies to Ministers, 139
“This man” referred to is none other than Christ Himself, and not a human man reigning in His stead, as the Shepherd’s Rod would have us to believe.
In a careful study of the teachings of the Shepherd’s Rod as compared with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, one can see that the restoration of a literal Israel and the promises to them on condition of the obedience, and the promises and prophecies of the restoration of spiritual Israel, have been confused and intermingled and mixed in with one another. From this intermingling and twisting and misapplication, the doctrine of the setting up of the kingdom before the second, visible coming of Christ is obtained. But if the reader will carefully study the book, Prophets and Kings, which deals with the restoration of literal and spiritual Israel and the promises made to both, all will made plain.
Let us note some examples of misapplication of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy by the Shepherd’s Rod. Take the old and the new covenant. The old covenant is found in Exodus 19:5-8, and the new is found in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Please read these texts in your Bible.
The Shepherd’s Rod—”The old ‘covenant or agreement between God and His people was upon the promises of both parties based thus….[Deuteronomy 28:1-9 and Exodus 19:8 are quoted in the tract. Please read them.]
“The above paragraph describes the first covenant, which covers the period from the time it was made to the imminent and final ingathering of the twelve tribes as a kingdom, and which covenant has been broken by the Old and New Testament churches until this very day….But the new covenant, which the Lord is now about to make, is to be unlike the old. The commandments of God (Exodus 20:1-17) will not be written on tables of stone (Exodus 31:18), but ‘in fleshy tables of the heart,’ and at that time all shall ‘know the Lord,….from the least of them unto the greatest of them’—exhibiting a church without tares. Jeremiah 31:34
“This is the second covenant, which God is about to make, and the law God, being written on the heart, will be perfectly kept; then, and not before, will the blessings, which His ancient people failed to realize, be fully ours.” Tract 8, 68-70 (Italics theirs.)
Notice that the Shepherd’s Rod says that the old covenant is the only one in existence and that the new covenant is yet to be made; that the old covenant covers the period from the time it was made to the gathering in of the twelve tribes into a kingdom. The Spirit of Prophecy will correct this false teaching and give the truth of the matter. To state that the new covenant is yet future is virtually to deny that Christ has come in the flesh, which we are told false prophets do. 2 John 7
The Spirit of Prophecy—”As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The covenant of grace was first made with man in Eden, when after the Fall, there was given a divine promise that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. To all men this covenant offered pardon, and the assisting grace of God for future obedience through faith in Christ. It also promised them eternal life on condition of fidelity to God’s law. Thus the patriarchs received the hope of salvation.
“This same covenant was renewed to Abraham in the promise, ‘In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. This promise pointed to Christ….
“Though this covenant was made with Adam and renewed to Abraham, it could not be ratified until the death of Christ. It had existed by the promise of God since the first intimation of redemption had been given; it had been accepted by faith; yet when ratified by Christ, it is called a new covenant. The law of God was the basis of this covenant, which was simply an arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the divine will, placing them where they could obey God’s law.
“‘Another compact—called in Scripture the ‘old’ covenant—was formed between God and Israel at Sinai, and was then ratified by the blood of a sacrifice. The Abrahamic covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, and it is called the ‘second,’ or ‘new’ covenant, because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant. That the new covenant was valid in the days of Abraham, is evident from the fact that it was then confirmed both by the promise and by the oath of God,—the ‘two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 370, 371
“Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep his commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.’” The Desire of Ages, 407
Here, as is so often true, the teaching of the Shepherd’s Rod is in absolute contradiction to the Spirit of Prophecy. The Shepherd’s Rod doctrines cannot be additional light, as it is claimed, for whatever new light may come will not contradict what God has given before.
Let the reader bear in mind that all these texts of Scripture referred to or quoted by the Shepherd’s Rod are to substantiate the theory of the setting up of a kingdom before the second coming of Christ; but please keep in mind the statements of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that the kingdom is not set until the second coming of Christ. The kingdom cannot be established before that time because it is incorruptible and eternal, and flesh and blood cannot inherit it. Man is mortal and will not receive immortality until Christ comes. The second coming of Christ cannot be counterfeited, “for as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall the coming of the Son of man be.”
Light to the Gentiles
The Shepherd’s Rod—”‘And He said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel’ only: ‘I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.’ (Isaiah 49:1-6) In other words, those (of ‘Israel’) who declare the sealing message of the 144,000 to the church, shall also declare God’s glory among the Gentiles, thus be His salvation unto the end of the earth, and bring all their brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations. Isaiah 66:19, 20
Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to him whom man despiseth’ (that is, the one whom they called, ‘this man,’ (Luke 19:14…) ‘to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose thee.’” Tract 8, (Rev. Ed.), 86
The Spirit of Prophecy—”The prophet was permitted to look down the centuries to the time of the advent of the promised Messiah….This glorious light of the world was to bring salvation to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Of the work before Him, the prophet heard the eternal Father declare: ‘It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.’ ‘In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee: and I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.’ ‘Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west: and these from the land of Sinim.’
“Looking on still farther through the ages, the prophet beheld the literal fulfillment of these glorious promises. He saw the bearers of the glad tidings of salvation going to the ends of the earth, to every kindred and people. He heard the Lord saying of the gospel church, ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream….’
“Jehovah declared to the prophet that He would send His witnesses ‘unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud,…to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off’….
“The prophet heard the voice of God calling His church to her appointed work, that the way might be prepared for the ushering in of His everlasting kingdom. The Message was unmistakably plain: ‘Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee….’ These prophecies of a great spiritual awakening in a time of gross darkness, are today meeting fulfillment in the advancing lines of mission stations that are reaching out into the benighted regions of earth.” Prophets and Kings, 373-375
Let us consider the statement the Shepherd’s Rod makes concerning “Him whom man despiseth” (Isaiah 49:7), interpreting it to mean “this man” whom they would not have rule over them (Luke 19:14). This is interpreted by the Spirit of Prophecy as follows:
“The work of redemption involves consequences of which it is difficult for man to have any conception….As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus….Great as is the shame and degradation through sin, even greater will be the honor and exaltation through redeeming love. To human beings striving for conformity to the divine image there is imparted an outlay of heaven’s treasure, an excellency of power, that will place them higher than even the angels who have never fallen.
“‘Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth,…Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose thee.’
“‘For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’” Christ’s Object Lessons, 162, 163
The Two Pipes
Let us now take up some of the statements made concerning the symbols found in Zechariah. Please read Zechariah 4:1-6, 12-14.
Following are the comments made by the Shepherd’s Rod. Note the idea conveyed as compared with that expressed by the Spirit of Prophecy:
The Shepherd’s Rod—”The two pipes through which the oil is carried into the bowl, can only represent the channels (prophets) through whom the oil is transferred from the Bible into the bowl, in the period during which both olive trees (Old and New Testaments) live—in the Christian Era.
“Let the reader take a searching look at the visual illustration on page 19, and he will see the utter impossibility of the candlestick’s (the church membership’s) and the tubes’ (ministers’) themselves, extracting oil direct from the olive trees. The interpretation of the Scriptures, therefore, being entrusted to the two pipes (prophets) in the Christian Era shows that ‘no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation,’ but is of inspiration only….
“The interpreters (the two golden pipes), therefore, are the only ones who are enabled to bring forth meat in due season (golden oil) from the Scriptures (olive trees) into the storehouse (golden bowl) of present truth, and by the aid of the ministers (seven tubes) to pass on the oil to the church (candlestick), that it might illumine with the light of life this dark and dying world of ours.” Tract 6, revised, 23, 24
The Spirit of Prophecy—”The continued communication of the Holy Spirit to the church is represented by the prophet Zechariah under another figure, which contains a wonderful lesson of encouragement for us….
“From the two olive trees, the golden oil was emptied through golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God’s presence, His Spirit is imparted to human instrumentalities that are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate light and power to God’s people. It is to receive blessing for us that they stand in God’s presence. As the olive trees empty themselves into the golden pipes, so the heavenly messengers seek to communicate all that they receive from God. The whole heavenly treasure awaits our demand and reception; and as we receive the blessing, we in our turn are to impart it. Thus it is that the holy lamps are fed, and the church becomes a light bearer in the world.
“This is the work that the Lord would have every soul prepared to do at this time, when the four angels are holding the four winds, that they shall not blow until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads….We should daily receive the holy oil, that we may impart to others….From the two olive trees the golden oil of goodness, patience, longsuffering, gentleness, love….The dispensation in which we are now living is to be, to those that ask, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit.” Testimonies to Ministers, 509-511
“Let every man who enters the pulpit know that when he has angels from heaven in his audience. And when these angels empty from themselves the golden oil of truth into the heart of him who is teaching the word, then the application of the truth will be a solemn, serious matter. The angel messengers will expel sin from the heart, unless the door of the heart is padlocked and Christ is refused admission….
“The Holy Spirit is doing its work on the hearts. But if the ministers have not first received their message from heaven, if they have not drawn their own supplies from the refreshing, life-giving stream, how can they let that flow forth which they have not received?…A man may lavish all the treasures of his learning, he may exhaust the moral energies of his nature, and yet accomplish nothing, because he himself has not received the golden oil from the heavenly messengers….If the Christian minister receives the golden oil, he has life.” Ibid., 338
The Shepherd’s Rod says that it is impossible for the people or ministers to obtain the oil directly from the Bible, but that they must obtain it through a prophet; but the Spirit of Prophecy tells us that the minister must obtain the golden oil directly from the heavenly messengers, or angels. The teaching of the Shepherd’s Rod on this point is a subtle device of the enemy to cause men to trust in the arm of flesh.
“The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Thus the Spirit is represented in the prophecy of Zechariah….Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His Word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 407, 408
The author of the Shepherd’s Rod would convey the thought to God’s people that they can obtain knowldege of the Scriptures only through him. According to his teachings on this very point, the thought he wishes to convey in his tract is that the two pipes represent Mrs. E.G. White and himself; and as Mrs. White is dead, that leaves him to communicate the “oil” to the church. He claims that the church, was without the Spirit of Prophecy from 1915 to 1930, that is, from Sister White’s death to the beginning of his revelations. The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that the “oil” represents the Holy Spirit, and each one of us can obtain this “oil” only through faith and prayer. Each one is to ask for it of God, and when it is obtained, then the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the character.
The Shepherd’s Rod—”The church of the Laodiceans, being the last of the seven churches, is the last section of the Christian church in which the wheat and the tares are commingled. The overcomers, the marked ones, from it, those who hear the Rod, begin the eighth section of the church—the one symbolized by the ‘barn’ (Matthew 13:30) and by the ‘vessels’ (verse 48), also by the ‘golden candlestick, of Zechariah 4. Of her the Lord says:… ‘The Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.’” Tract 9, 61, 62 (second revised edition)
The Spirit of Prophecy—Now note the application of Isaiah 62:3 in the Spirit of Prophecy. “There is the new Jerusalem, the metropolis of the glorified new earth, ‘a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a diadem in the hand of thy God.’ ‘Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.’ ‘The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.’ Saith the Lord, ‘I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people.’ ‘The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.’” The Great Controversy, 676
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.” Revelation 3:12
In the quotation from the Shepherd’s Rod, the author states that the overcomers, or marked ones, are those who hear the Rod and who are gathered into the kingdom, “barn,” or place of safety, before the second coming of Christ; and that the church shall be called by a new name and shall “be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” (Isaiah 62:3) But the Spirit of Prophecy definitely places this scene after the coming of Christ, and says that it is the New Jerusalem, that is “a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God,” and it is at that time that the overcomers receive their new name.
Prophecies Concerning Literal and Spiritual Israel
Theories concerning the setting up of a temporal kingdom of David are due to a misinterpretation of Old Testament prophecies. The Jews of the time of Christ misunderstood these prophecies and so were expecting the Messiah to set up an earthly kingdom at that time. Likewise, thousands of Christians of our day have fallen into a similar error, and are expecting the literal fulfillment of these prophecies by the establishment of a kingdom of David in old Jerusalem.
The Shepherd’s Rod has taken the prophecies concerning literal Israel, including promises given to them on the condition of obedience, and uses all of them to apply literally to spiritual Israel, thus forming the theory of the setting up of the kingdom on this side of the second of Christ.
Few seem to realize the great purpose of God to be fulfilled through Israel, His chosen people. In the introductory chapter of Prophets and Kings we are told that “it was God’s purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel men should be drawn unto Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. All who….turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God, were to unite themselves with His chosen people.” And the astonishing statement is made that “As the numbers of Israel increased, they were to enlarge their borders, until their kingdom should embrace the world.” (Prophets and Kings, 19) Through Jeremiah the Lord had told His people that if they would be faithful to God in the observance of the Sabbath, Jerusalem would “remain forever.” Jeremiah 17:24, 25
How different would have been the history of our world had Israel fulfilled God’s great purpose for them. “But,” says Mrs. White, “ancient Israel did not fulfill God’s purpose. The Lord declared: ‘I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?’ (Jeremiah 2:21) ‘Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself.’ (Hosea 10:1).” Ibid.
We are also told that “the withdrawal of divine favor during the period of the exile led many to repentance; yet after their return to the land of promise, the Jewish people repeated the mistakes of former generations.” Ibid., 21. Thus Israel failed, and many glorious promises made on condition of obedience have never been fulfilled nor ever will be. Finally, Israel, as a nation, rejected and crucified their Messiah, and ceased to be the chosen people of God; and the kingdom of David shall be no more “until he comes whose right it is.” Ezekiel 21:27. At that time—His second coming—”the Lord shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32, 33. Not a temporal kingdom with some earthly representative of King David on the throne, but the eternal kingdom of Christ in the earth made new. Let us review some of the promises to Israel and see where and when they apply to spiritual Israel.
The Shepherd’s Rod—The Shepherd’s Rod teaches that “the Scriptures plainly point out that the Gentiles will be driven out of the Holy Land. [Zechariah 1:19-21 quoted.] ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts: My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.’ Zechariah 1:17
“Zechariah then saw the powers that had ‘scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem,’ symbolized by four horns. Immediately afterward he saw four carpenters, representing the agencies used by the Lord in restoring His people and the house of His worship….See Zechariah 18-21.
“God had commanded that Jerusalem be rebuilt; the vision of the measuring of the city was an assurance that He would give comfort and strength to His afflicted ones, and fulfill to them the promises of His everlasting covenant. His protecting care, He declared, would be like ‘a wall of fire round about;’ and through them His glory would be revealed to all the sons of men. That which He was accomplishing for His people was to be known in all the earth. ‘Cry out and shout, thou inhabitants of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.’ Isaiah 12:1-5” Prophets and Kings, 580, 581
Concerning the time when Nebuchadnezzar’s armies were about to take the walls of Zion by storm, the Spirit of Prophecy says:
“The city was soon to fall into the hand of the Chaldeans; its gates and palaces were to be set on fire and burned; but, notwithstanding the fact that destruction was imminent, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem were to be carried away captive, nevertheless the eternal purpose of Jehovah for Israel was yet to be fulfilled. In further answer to the prayer of His servant, the Lord declared concerning those upon whom His chastisements were falling:
“‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in Mine anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away form them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul.’ (Jeremiah 32:37-41)…
“In confirmation of these assurances of deliverance and restoration, ‘the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
‘Thus saith the Lord the Maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is His name; call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;…I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first….
“‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.’ Jeremiah 33:1-14.
“Thus was the church of God comforted in one of the darkest hours of her long conflict with the forces of evil. Satan had seemingly triumphed in his efforts to destroy Israel; but the Lord was overruling the events of the present, and during the years that were to follow, His people were to have opportunity to redeem the past….
“Humbled in the sight of the nations, those who once had been recognized as favored of Heaven above all other peoples of the earth were to learn in exile the lesson of obedience so necessary for their future happiness. Until they have learned this lesson, God could not do for them all that He desired to do….To the prophet was given the message:
“‘He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.” Jeremiah 31:10-12 Ibid., 471-476
The reader will notice that the above quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy were promises made to Israel at the time they were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Turn to page 551 of Prophets and Kings, where begins the story of “The Return of the Exiles.” The promises made through Jeremiah are beginning to be fulfilled. Please read this and following chapters to get the complete history.
“‘At the end of the years of humiliating exile, God graciously gave to His people Israel, through Zechariah, the assurance: ‘I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.’ (Zechariah 8:3)…
“These promises were conditional on obedience. The sins that had characterized the Israelites prior to the captivity, were not to be repeated.” Ibid., 704 (Italics supplied.)
But the Israelites failed, and thus separated themselves from God.
“Through messages such as those borne by Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, as well as through oppression from heathen foes, the Israelites finally learned the lesson that true prosperity depends upon the obedience to the law of God. But with many of the people, obedience was not the outflow of faith and love. Their motives were selfish. Outward service was rendered as a means of attaining national greatness. The chosen people did not become the light of the world, but shut themselves away from the world as a safeguard against being seduced into idolatry….Thus ‘going about to establish their own righteousness,’ they built themselves up in a self-sufficient formalism….Thus Satan had succeeded inn preparing the hearts of the people to reject the Saviour when He should appear. Their own pride of heart, and their false conceptions of His character and mission, would prevent them from honestly weighing the evidences of His Messiahship.” Ibid., 708-710.
“Christ would have averted the doom of the Jewish nation if the people had received Him….They determined that they would not receive Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. They rejected the Light of the world, and henceforth their lives were surrounded with darkness as the darkness of midnight. The doom foretold came upon the Jewish nation. Ibid., 712
In the previous quotations we have been studying the history of literal Israel and the promises made to them upon condition of obedience. Israel failed, and thus received the promises only in part. Now let us study spiritual Israel and see how these promises will be fulfilled in them.
Promises to be Fulfilled to Spiritual Israel
“That which God purposed to do for the world through Israel, the chosen nation, He will finally accomplish through His church on earth today. He has ‘let out His vineyard unto other husbandmen,’ even to His covenant-keeping people, who faithfully ‘render Him the fruits in their seasons.’ Never has the Lord been without true representatives on this earth who have made His interests their own. These witnesses for God are numbered among spiritual Israel, and to them will be fulfilled all the covenant promises made by Jehovah to His ancient people.
“Today the church of God is free to carry forward to completion the divine plan for the salvation of a lost race….God’s church on earth was as verily in captivity during this long period of relentless persecution, as were the children of Israel held captive in Babylon, during the period of the exile.
“But, thank God, His church is no longer in bondage. To spiritual Israel have been restored the privileges accorded the people of God at the time of their deliverance from Babylon. In every part of the earth men and women are responding to the Heaven-sent message which John the revelator prophesied would be proclaimed prior to the second coming of Christ: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’
“No longer have the hosts of evil power to keep the church captive; for ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city,’ which hath ‘made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication;’ and to spiritual Israel is given the message, ‘Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’ (Revelation 14:8; 18:4) As the captive exiles heeded the message, ‘Flee out of the midst of Babylon,’ and were restored to the Land of Promise, so those who fear God today are heeding the message to withdraw from spiritual Babylon, and soon they are to stand as trophies of divine grace in the earth made new, the heavenly Canaan.” Ibid., 713-715.
“‘Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.’ (Isaiah 60:1) Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory, and with the glory of the Father. And the holy angels will attend Him on His way. While all the world is plunged in darkness, there will be light in every dwelling of the saints. They will catch the first light of His second appearing. The unsullied light will shine from His splendor, and Christ the Redeemer will be admired by all who have served Him. While the wicked flee, Christ’s followers will rejoice in His presence.
“Then it is that the redeemed from among men will receive their promised inheritance. Thus God’s purpose for Israel will meet with literal fulfillment. That which God purposes, man is powerless to disannul. Even amid the working of evil, God’s purposes have been moving steadily forward to their accomplishment. It was thus with the house of Israel throughout the history of the divided monarchy; it is thus with spiritual Israel today.
“The seer of Patmos, looking down through the ages to the time of this restoration of Israel in the earth made new, testified:
“’I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.’ (Revelation 7:9-10)” Ibid., 720, 721.
Could the truth be more clearly expressed that the restoration of Israel is “in the new earth,” and not in old Jerusalem?
Peace and Safety
In misleading the people to believe that God’s people will be in a kingdom, set up before the close of probation, in a place of “perfect peace and absolute safety,” the Shepherd’s Rod is joining in the last day “peace and safety” cry foretold by the apostle Paul. (1 Thessalonians 5:3) What a different picture is given by the Spirit of Prophecy!
“When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honor the law of God, there will be, in different lands, a simultaneous movement for their destruction….
“The people of God—some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains—still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen….
“With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow, shining with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to encircle each praying company….
“It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people.” The Great Controversy, 635, 636 (Italics supplied.)
“The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air.” Ibid., 645.
In Early Writings we have the same scene pictured again. One does not find the saints of God in a kingdom of “perfect peace and absolute safety,” but quite the contrary. Not until they stand around the throne in heaven, do we see them in perfect peace and safety.
“I saw the saints 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, giving 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….
“Soon I saw the saints suffering great mental anguish. They seemed to be surrounded by the wicked inhabitants of the earth. Every appearance was against them. Some began to fear that God had at last left them to perish by the hand of the wicked….
“It was an hour of fearful, terrible agony to the saints. Day and night they cried unto God for deliverance….Like Jacob, they were wrestling with God….
“As the saints left the cities and villages, they were pursued by the wicked, who sought to slay them. But the swords that were raised to kill God’s people broke and fell as powerless as a straw. Angels of God shielded the saints. As they cried day and night for deliverance, their cry came up before the Lord.” Early Writings, 282-285
Foundations of Our Faith
The Shepherd’s Rod group claims to believe in the inspiration of Mrs. White’s writings, but confronted with such explicit quotations as these from her pen, the only possible answer is that she did not understand about the setting up of the kingdom of David. For instance, the leader of this group was asked how he harmonized his exposition of Zechariah 14:4, concerning the Lord descending on the mount of Olives before the close of probation, with the statement in Early Writings, pages 51 and 53, that this will be fulfilled at the close of the thousand years, when the New Jerusalem descends to the earth. His answer was that what Sister White said was all right, but that hers was a secondary application. Christ would descend at the end of the thousand years, said he, but the primary application of this passage is to the coming of David. He did not explain how the Mount of Olives could twice part asunder and become a great valley.
Is this new doctrine of the kingdom of David being set up in Jerusalem before the close of probation a part of this Advent message? Perhaps the greatest and most comprehensive revelation that came through Ellen White was the wonderful representation of the great conflict between good and evil, from the fall of Satan to the restitution of the new earth. She tells us how in the early days of this message, the little group of believers earnestly prayed for guidance in their search for truth, and how at times, explanations would be made to her in vision. She said: “A line of truth extending that from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me.” In telling of this, she said further: “Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid.” Series B, no. 2, 57, 56
Let us consider what the acceptance of this central doctrine of the Shepherd’s Rod, “present truth” (falsely so-called), would mean to “the foundations of our faith.”
In 1856 Mrs. White was given a vision in which most of what she had been shown ten years before was repeated, concerning this “line of truth,” covering the last events in the great conflict. She was then instructed to write it out. In obedience to this instruction we have that remarkable series of books on the conflict of the ages. How clearly and specifically the closing events are delineated—the sealing, the loud cry, the time of trouble, the seven last plagues, the second coming of Christ, the judgment of the wicked dead, when the saints shall reign as priests and kings, to the parting of asunder of the Mount of Olives and the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, the second resurrection, the second death, and the purification of the earth by fire, on to the earth made new with New Jerusalem as the capital of the universe.
Is it conceivable, after a hundred years of preaching this revealed “line of truth,” more than half of that time under the instruction and counsel of the Lord’s messenger that God would now reveal to us that one of the most important events in the history of the great conflict had been omitted: namely—the setting up of a temporal kingdom of David before the close of probation and the second coming of Christ? Certainly some “do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid.”
The Return to Palestine
This false doctrine of the establishment of a kingdom of David in Palestine before the close of probation leads this Shepherd’s Rod group into an error against which we were warned in the early days of the Advent Movement. While, as far as we know, this particular fantastic theory of “the land of our fathers” becoming “our final and superb dressing chamber” for entrance into heaven, had not been advanced at that time, the truths stated and the warning given are certainly pertinent at this time. The Lord’s messenger wrote:
“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 that 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 also saw that old Jerusalem never would be built up; and that Satan was doing his utmost to lead the minds of the children of the Lord into these things now, in the gathering time, to keep them from throwing their whole interest into the present work of the Lord, and to cause them to neglect the necessary preparation for the day of the Lord.” Early Writings, 75, 76
Believers in the Shepherd’s Rod are doing the very things against which the Spirit of Prophecy here warns us. Some whom I know are saving up their means to get to Palestine, and their minds and interests are centered there. To be sure, they give many reasons that may be different from those stated above, but the evil results are just the same whatever the inducement. Satan certainly would present other reasons to deceive, and this false doctrine of the kingdom is his strongest.
A False Foundation
The setting up of the kingdom before the close of probation and, therefore, before the second coming of Christ, is the foundation of all the Shepherd’s Rod teachings; and as it is contrary to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, as has been clearly shown, it is a false doctrine. Thus, all the other points of doctrine presented by the Shepherd’s Rod which lead up to this main issue of the kingdom, can be proved false in like manner.
A Solemn Warning
Let everyone prayerfully consider the following statement and solemn warning from the Spirit of Prophecy. What is said here fits into my own experience to the very detail:
“My soul is much burdened, for I know what is before us. Every conceivable deception will be brought to bear upon those who have not a daily, living connection with God. In our work no side issues must be advanced until there has been a thorough examination of the ideas entertained, that it may be ascertained from what source they have originated. Satan’s angels are wise to do evil, and they will create that which some will claim to be advanced light, will proclaim as new and wonderful things, and yet while in some respects the message is truth, it will be mingled with men’s inventions, and will teach for doctrines the commandments of men. If there was ever a time when we should watch and pray in real earnest, it is now. There may be supposable things that appear as good things, and yet they need to be carefully considered with much prayer; for they are specious devices of the enemy to lead souls in a path which lies so close to the path of truth that it will be scarcely distinguishable from the path which leads to holiness and heaven. But the eye of faith may discern that it is diverging from the right path, though positively right, but after a while it is seen to be widely divergent from the path of safety, from the path which leads to holiness and heaven. My brethren, I warn you to make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.” Testimonies to Ministers, 229
Let us now take up some of the separate issues that lead to the false doctrine of the kingdom.
Chapter 2: Ezekiel 9
A subject of which the Shepherd’s Rod makes an issue almost as strongly and as falsely as the kingdom, is Ezekiel 9. Let us bring this also to the light of the Spirit of Prophecy:
The Shepherd’s Rod—”According to Ezekiel 2:3; 3:1, 4, 5, 7, the prophet was to bear his message to the whole ‘house of Israel’ (the term ‘house of Israel,’ denoting either all twleve tribes or only the ten tribes as the case might be). Yet he did not understand the meaning of the vision. Had he, he would have explained it, rather than declaring: ‘I came to them of the captivity of Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.’ Ezekiel 3:15
“Since at the time of the vision, the house of Judah, the two-tribe kingdom, was in captivity in the land of the Chaldeans, and the house of Israel, the ten-tribe kingdom, was in dispersion among the nations whither it had been carried away and scattered some years before (2 Kings 17:6), there was no possibility of Ezekiel’s delivering the message to them. And as it is to both the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Ezekiel 9:9),—the twelve tribes,—consequently it was prophetic in Ezekiel’s time….
“And finally as no slaughter such as the one described in Ezekiel 9 has ever occurred, its fulfillment is obviously yet future.” Tract 1, 11, 12, second revised edition. (Italics theirs.)
These are rather astonishing statements. Is it true that Ezekiel did not understand the meaning of the message he was sent to deliver? Is it true that he did not go to those to whom he was told to go? And is it true that the dire predictions of punishment to be visited upon those who led God’s people into idolatrous worship were never fulfilled? Let us see.
Ezekiel’s Vision and Predictions
The Spirit of Prophecy—”While Jeremiah continued to bear his testimony in the land of Judah, the prophet Ezekiel was raised up from among the captives in Babylon, to warn and to comfort the exiles, and also to confirm the word of the Lord that was being spoken through Jeremiah. During the years that remained of Zedekiah’s reign, Ezekiel made very plain the folly of trusting to the false predictions of those who were causing the captives to hope for an early return to Jerusalem. He was also instructed to foretell, by means of a variety of symbols and solemn messages, the siege and utter destruction of Jerusalem.
“In the sixth year of the reign of Zedekiah, the Lord revealed to Ezekiel in vision some of the abominations that were being practiced in Jerusalem, and within the gate of the Lord’s house, and even in the inner court. The chambers of images, and the pictured idols, ‘every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel’ (Ezekiel 8:10)—all these in rapid succession passed before the astonished gaze of the prophet.
“Those who should have been spiritual leaders among the people, ‘the ancients of the house of Israel,’ to the number of seventy, were seen offering incense before the idolatrous representations that had been introduced into hidden chambers within the sacred precincts of the temple court. ‘The Lord seeth us not,’ the men of Judah flattered themselves as they engaged in their heathenish practices; ‘the Lord hath forsaken the earth,’ they blasphemously declared. Ezekiel 8:11, 12.
“There were still ‘greater abominations’ for the prophet to behold. At a gate leading from the outer to the inner court he was shown ‘women weeping for Tammuz;’ and within ‘the inner court of the Lord’s house,…at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east.’ Ezekiel 8:13-16.
“And now the glorious Being who accompanied Ezekiel throughout this astonishing vision of wickedness in high places in the land of Judah, inquired of the prophet: ‘Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke Me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.’ (Verses 17, 18)…
“The day of doom for the kingdom of Judah set before them the hope of averting the severest of His judgments. ‘Should ye be utterly unpunished?’ He inquired. ‘Ye shall not be unpunished.’
“Even these words were received with mocking derision. ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth,’ declared the impenitent. But through Ezekiel this denial of the sure word of prophecy was sternly rebuked. ‘Tell them,’ the Lord declared, ‘I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, the days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God.’
“’Again,’ testifies Ezekiel, ‘the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, behold they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are afar off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God.’” Ezekiel 12:26-28 Prophets and Kings, 448-450.
The second section of the book of Ezekiel, chapters eight to nineteen, opens with the account of the vision given “in the sixth year; in the sixth month; in the fifth day of the month.” The eighth chapter consists of a series of scenes of the heathen abominations that were being practiced in the holy temple of God in Jerusalem. The last words of this chapter introduce the account in the ninth chapter, of the punishment to be meted out to the perpetrators of this terrible desecration of God’s house of worship. The Lord said to Ezekiel: “Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet I will not hear them.” Ezekiel 8:17, 18.
It is very plain to be seen that chapter nine is a continuation of chapter eight, where under the symbol of “men” with slaughter weapons, the execution of God’s judgment is foretold. First a mark was to be placed on the foreheads of those in the city who were sighing and crying for the abominations that were done, and then they went forth to slay, without mercy, all upon whom no mark had been placed.
Shepherd’s Rod Claims Refuted
It is certainly evident from these considerations that Ezekiel understood the message to be given, and gave it: He was raised up to “warn” and “comfort” the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah. The Lord said to Ezekiel: “All my works that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.” Ezekiel 3:10. That surely indicates understanding of all God’s messages, including Ezekiel 9.
We are told that “through Jeremiah in Jerusalem, through Daniel in the court of Babylon, through Ezekiel on the banks of the Chebar, the Lord in mercy made clear His eternal purpose, and gave assurance of His willingness to fulfill to His chosen people the promises recorded in the writings of Moses.” Prophets and Kings, 464. It is also said in Prophets and Kings that “Ezekiel made very plain” the falsity of predictions that the exiles would soon return to Jerusalem. Evidently he understood and made plain all that God revealed to him.
As to whether Ezekiel really went to those to whom the Lord commissioned him to deliver His message, we learn that three times in chapters two and three he was commanded to go. “I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation.” (Verse 7) “Then,” says Ezekiel, “I came to them of the captivity of Telabib.” Verse 15.
Certainly there is no reason to assume that Ezekiel’s message did not reach the whole house of Israel then residing in the region of that eastern country where the prophet himself was an exile.
We have here some rather strange reasoning on the part of the leader and spokesman of the Shepherd’s Rod. On the basis of Ezekiel’s statement that at Telabib, he “sat where they sat, and remained there astonished [overwhelmed,—A.R.V.] among them seven days,” he concludes that Ezekiel did not understand the meaning of the vision, and that “had he, he would have explained it.” Does the fact that he remained among them seven days prove that the Lord’s messenger was dumb? Mrs. White says that the visions received by Ezekiel had “in rapid succession passed before the astonished gaze of the prophet.” The very thought of the utter destruction of the city of God and the slaughter of the priests, princes, and people because of their apostasy must have been terrible to contemplate, both to Ezekiel and the other exiles. Doubtless, too, Ezekiel’s astonishment was due to the fact that the captives did not accept his message, even though he had been warned that they would not hearken unto him. Verse 7.
The final argument of the Shepherd’s Rod on their theory of Ezekiel nine is that this prediction has never been fulfilled; therefore it must be in the future. Incidentally, it may be said that this Shepherd’s Rod theory sounds like an echo of what was being said in Jerusalem by those who were resisting the warnings of Ezekiel. The vision, they said “is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are afar off.” What was the Lord’s answer? “Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 12:27, 28) Ezekiel nine is among the words which God had spoken, and there is abundant evidence that all these predictions were fulfilled.
As already quoted from Prophets and Kings “the day of doom of the kingdom of Judah was fast approaching” and there was no longer any “hope of averting the severest of His judgments.” And what judgment could be more severe than the slaughter of the religious and civil leaders and the people? the Lord told Ezekiel to say, “The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.” (Ezekiel 12:23) Ezekiel nine is an integral part of one of those evil men and women in Jerusalem who had engaged in sun worship and practiced other heathenish abominations were marked for slaughter in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel’s message was given by means of symbols. It is clear from the record that the Lord used human agents in carrying out His decree. Again and again the slaughter of the impenitent in Jerusalem is foretold, a reiteration of the prediction in Ezekiel nine. In chapter 21 we read: “Thus saith the Lord; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: it is sharpened to make a sore slaughter.” (Verses 9, 10) “This sword is sharpened,….to give it into the hand of the slayer.” (Verse 11) “It shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon My people.” (Verse 12) “It is the sword of the great men that are slain.” (Verse 14) “I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for their slaughter.” Verse 15.
It was the Lord’s decree, and He chose Nebuchadnezzar to execute the decree. “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchanezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof.” Jeremiah 25:9.
Predictions Literally Fulfilled
We find the history of the fulfillment of these prophecies in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The writer of Second Chronicles thus sums up the causes and the final outcome in this tragic episode in the history of God’s chosen people.
“All the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all that abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by His messenger, rising up betimes, and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy. Therefore He brought upon them the king of the Chaldees who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: He gave them all into his hand.” 2 Chronicles 36:14-17.
As a conclusive evidence to Ezekiel and to us that these predictions against Jerusalem were fulfilled, it is significant that on the very day of the beginning of their fulfillment, the Lord revealed it to Ezekiel in Babylon. “Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.” Ezekiel 24:1, 2.
It was also revealed to Ezekiel that he would have the account of the destruction from an eye witness who escaped. “He that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause to hear it with thine ears.” (Ezekiel 24:26) And this promise to the prophet was fulfilled. “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.” Ezekiel 33:21
“In the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, ‘Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem,’ to besiege the city, The outlook for Judah was hopeless. ‘Behold, I am against thee,’ the Lord Himself declared through Ezekiel. ‘I the Lord have drawn forth My sword out of the sheath: it shall not return any more….Every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water.’ ‘I will pour out Mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of My wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skillful to destroy.’ Ezekiel 21:3, 5-7, 31” Prophets and Kings, 452.
“The enemy swept down like a resistless avalanche, and devastated the city. The Hebrew armies were beaten back in confusion. The nation was conquered. Zedekiah was taken prisoner, and his sons were slain before his eyes. The king was led away from Jerusalem a captive, his eyes were put out, and after arriving in Babylon he perished miserably. The beautiful temple that for more than four centuries had crowned the summit of Mount Zion, was not spared by the Chaldeans. ‘They burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.’ 2 Chronicles 36:10” Ibid., 458, 459.
“But now Zion was utterly destroyed; the people of God were in their captivity. Overwhelmed with grief, the prophet exclaimed: ‘How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow!’” Ibid., 461, 462.
From these inspired records is it not perfectly clear that all that the Lord foretold through Ezekiel was fulfilled? In Prophets and Kings, 448, quoted above, we are told that Ezekiel was “instructed to foretell, by means of a variety of symbols and solemn messages, the siege and utter destruction of Jerusalem.” These warnings and predictions were faithfully given, with the assurance that “none” (not one) of God’s words should be prolonged, and that the time was near. The Lord said to them that it would be “in our days.” The Lord said to them that it would be “in your days.” The Lord even named the agent He had chosen for execution of his judgments against Jerusalem. Then we have the Sacred Record that those foretellings were fulfilled.
But in the face of all this the false prophet of the Shepherd’s Rod, claiming to speak by inspiration, announces that “no slaughter such as the one described in Ezekiel 9 has ever occurred,” but is yet to be fulfilled by the slaughter of Seventh-day Adventists.
Can anyone with an open mind fail to see that all Ezekiel’s predictions were fulfilled in the retribution that came upon Jerusalem, her leaders, and the people at the hands of the Chaldeans?
Note—Sad to say, in spite of this terrible punishment of His chosen people for their idolatry, and the mercy of God in permitting them to return and restore the temple and government, they eventually failed to carry out His purpose for them. “By the Babylonian captivity the Israelites were effectually cured of the worship of graven images,” but they failed to learn the all-important lesson of complete dependence on God for salvation. The principle of salvation by works which “lay at the foundation of every heathen religion” now became “the principle of the Jewish religion.” “The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth” became “representatives of Satan.” The Desire of Ages, 29, 36 Their rejection of their Messiah sealed the doom of the Jewish nation. “Looking for the last time upon the interior of the temple, Jesus said with mournful pathos, ‘Behold your house is left unto you desolate.’” Ibid, 620. The final siege and destruction of Jerusalem, which Jesus had predicted (Matthew 24), was one of the most bloody and pitiful in the annals of history.
“In the destruction of the impenitent city,” says, Mrs. White, Jesus “saw a symbol of the final destruction of the world.” Thus both the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 636 B.C. and its final destruction by Titus in A.D. 70 are referred to by the Spirit of Prophecy as examples, or symbols of the general destruction of the wicked at the end of the great conflict of the ages.
Last-Day Fulfillment of Ezekiel Nine
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [“types,” margin]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11.
In times of crises in the agelong conflict between good and evil, there have been outstanding places, events, and personalities which naturally have become designation symbols for future generations. Thus we have “Babylon” and “Jezebel” to symbolize apostasy in the Christian dispensation, and “Elijah” with a special message from God just before the second coming of Christ. Likewise Ezekiel’s symbolic vision, in a time of all but universal apostasy, with a man going through Jerusalem placing a mark on the faithful servants of God, and the subsequent slaughter of all others, has been used by the Lord’s messenger to the remnant church as an illustration or symbol of the sealing of God’s servants just before the close of probation and the general destruction of the wicked.
As already stated, the Shepherd’s Rod teaches that Ezekiel did not understand the meaning of the vision recorded in his ninth chapter, and that therefore he did not give it and that his prediction has never been fulfilled. These statements have clearly been disproved in what has gone before. It is claimed that the meaning of this prophecy has now been revealed through the inspired leader of this offshoot, and that it will be fulfilled by the slaughter of Seventh-day Adventists who reject the teachings of the Shepherd’s Rod, that this slaughter is literal and imminent and will take place just before or at the beginning of the loud cry.
Recognizing that Mrs. White, in The Great Controversy, applies Ezekiel nine to the final slaughter of all the wicked, the Shepherd’s Rod claims that she teaches that there are to be two fulfillments of this prophecy—first the slaughter of Laodicean Seventh-day Adventists before the finishing of God’s work in the earth, and later the general slaughter of the wicked after probation has closed.
Let us see what the Spirit of Prophecy really says. Did Mrs. White see two slaughters: one on the church and then another on the world?
In chapter 41 of The Great Controversy we have a vivid picture of the final judgment to “fall upon Babylon in the day of the visitation of God’s wrath,” (page 653), and upon all the people of the world, who now realize that the time of their salvation has past. Among those in despair there are ministers who have been false shepherds, who have “sacrificed truth to gain the favor of men,” and who by “setting aside the divine precept,” have contributed to the terrible condition of lawlessness and corruption.
“The people see that they have been deluded. They accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the minister. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. ‘We are lost!’ they cry, ‘and you are the cause of our ruin;’ and they turn upon the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once crowned them with laurels, will be raised for their destruction. The swords which were to slay God’s people, are now employed to destroy their enemies. Everywhere there is strife and bloodshed.
“’A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the sword.’ (Jeremiah 25:31)….The time has come for God to vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. Now the controversy is not alone with Satan, but with men. ‘The Lord hath a controversy with the nations;’ ‘He will give them that are wicked to the sword.’
“The mark of deliverance has been set upon those ‘that sigh and that cry for all that abominations that be done.’ Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel’s vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is given: ‘Slay utterly old and young, both maid, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.’ Says the prophet: ‘They began at the ancient men which were before the house.’ (Ezekiel 9:1-6.) The work of destruction begins among those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people. The false watchmen are the first to fall. There are none to pity or to spare. Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together.
“’The Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.’ (Isaiah 26:21)….
“At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth,—consumed with the spirit of His mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ takes His people to the city of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants.” The Great Controversy, 655-657.
Here we have a vivid description of the final act in God’s “controversy with the nations” and will all who have stood on the side of Satan, including the unfaithful shepherds in the churches. It is the end of the great controversy. The destruction of sinners is complete. The saints are taken to heaven, and the earth is left desolate, “emptied of its inhabitants.” It is the final destruction of the wicked world, of which the destruction of old Jerusalem was a symbol. The question is, Will there be a slaughter of unfaithful Seventh-day Adventists at some time previous to the general destruction of the wicked?
In the Testimonies to the Church, where the Lord’s servant has faithfully rebuked sin, and warned ministers and people of the coming destruction that awaits the unfaithful, very naturally she has made use of the symbolic vision of Ezekiel nine. We quote quite fully what she has written. Speaking of the “duty to reprove sin” “among those who profess to be His commandment-keeping people” she says:
“The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. ‘And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’
“Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God, and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them, and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work, and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons. Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.
“But the general slaughter of all those who do not thus see the wide contrast between sin and righteousness, and do not feel as those do who stand in the counsel of God and receive the mark, is described in the order to the five men with slaughter weapons: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.’” Testimonies, vol. 3, 266, 267.
The foregoing quotation is one used by the Shepherd’s to prove that there is a special fulfillment of Ezekiel 9 in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but it does not say so.
What does the Spirit of Prophecy say is “represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons”? Answer: “The general destruction of the wicked.” And who is it that Mrs. White says “will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval,” but “will fall in the general destruction of the wicked”? Answer: It is “those who commit wrong.” It is the ones who oppress “those who have the burden of the work” and hold up “the hands of sinners in Zion [the church].” Unless the people in the church “repent,” they will not be sealed, but will go down “in the general destruction of the wicked.”
If the leader of the Shepherd’s Rod is speaking by inspiration, as he claims, would he contradict what the Lord revealed through Mrs. White? His only defense is to say that Mrs. White did not understand fully the two slaughters. There is not an intimation or the faintest suggestion in the Spirit of Prophecy that the slaughter of the unfaithful in the Laodicean church. The explanation is that this refers to the “general slaughter of all those who do not thus see the wide contrast between sin and righteousness.”
Let us turn to the Spirit of Prophecy again and get another view of the same subject. In a chapter on “The Seal of God,” in Testimonies, vol. 5, we read:
“‘He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.’…
“Jesus is about to leave the mercy seat of the heavenly sanctuary, to put on garments of vengeance, and pour out His wrath in judgments upon those who have not responded to the light God has given them….With unerring accuracy, the Infinite One still keeps an account with all nations. While His mercy is tendered, with calls to repentance, this account will remain open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath commences. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. There is no more pleading of mercy in their behalf.
“The command is: ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’ These sighing, crying ones [in Jerusalem] had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God, repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.
“In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings….
“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare.’…
“Here we see that the church—the Lord’s sanctuary—was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust….
“No superiority of rank, dignity, or worldly wisdom, no position in sacred office, will preserve men from sacrificing principle, when left to their own deceitful hearts. Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous, prove to be ring-leaders in apostasy, and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God’s mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath He deals with them without mercy….
“The day of God’s vengeance is just upon us. The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land. Those who link in sympathy with the world are eating and drinking with the drunken, and will surely be destroyed with the workers of iniquity. ‘The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.’
“Our own course of action will determine whether we shall receive the seal of the living God, or be cut down by the destroying weapons. Already a few drops of God’s wrath have fallen upon the earth; but when the seven last plagues shall be poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation, then it will be forever too late to repent, and find shelter. No atoning blood will then wash away the stains of sin.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 207-212.
The Shepherd’s Rod teaches that the 144,000 cannot be perfected and fitted for translation until they go to Palestine as citizens of that perfect kingdom of David. We are told that “as long as His people are commingling with the tares, and live among the Gentiles, they can never be fitted for translation.” But that is not the teaching of the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy, as all Seventh-day Adventist Bible students know. The following from Testimonies, vol. 5, gives a true picture of the final struggles of the people of God in the days of purification of the church and the sealing of the 144,000.
“While the followers of Christ have sinned, they have not given themselves to the control of evil. They have put away their sins, and have sought the Lord in humility and contrition, and the Divine Advocate pleads in their behalf….
“The assaults of Satan are strong, his delusions are terrible; but the Lord’s eye is upon His people. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but Jesus will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. Their earthliness must be removed that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected; unbelief must be overcome; faith, hope, and patience are to be developed.
“The people of God are sighing and crying for the abominations done in the land. With tears they warn the wicked of their danger in trampling upon the divine law, and with unutterable sorrow they humble themselves before the Lord on account of their own transgressions. The wicked mock their sorrow, ridicule their solemn appeals, and sneer at what they term their weakness. But the anguish and humiliation of God’s people is unmistakable evidence that they are gaining the strength and nobility of character lost in consequence of sin….
“The faithful, praying ones are, as it were, shut in with God. They themselves know not how securely they are shielded. Urged on by Satan, the rulers of this world are seeking to destroy them; but could their eyes be opened, as were the eyes of Elisha’s servant at Dothan, they would see the angels of God encamped about them, by their brightness and glory holding in check the hosts of darkness.
“As the people of God afflict their souls before Him, pleading for purity of heart the command is given, ‘Take away the filthy garments from them,’ and the encouraging words are spoken, ‘Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.’ The spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness is placed upon the tried, tempted, yet faithful children of God, the despised remnant are clothed in glorious apparel, nevermore to be defiled by the corruptions of the world. Their names are retained in the Lamb’s book of life, enrolled among the faithful of all ages. They have resisted the wiles of the deceiver; they have not been turned from their loyalty by the dragon’s roar. Now they are….not only pardoned and accepted, but honored. A ‘fair miter’ is set upon their heads. They are to be as kings and priests unto God. While Satan was urging his accusations, and seeking to destroy this company, holy angels, unseen, were passing to and fro, placing upon them the seal of the living God. These are they that stand upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having the Father’s name written in their foreheads. They sing the new song before the throne, that song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. ‘These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God.’” Testimonies, vol. 5, 474-476.
In the quotations given above, the whole truth of the subject of Ezekiel 9 is clearly stated.
There is no mention made of a kingdom set up before Christ comes, with the people of God, especially the 144,00, safely within; but just the opposite. The 144,000 are particularly mentioned during the time of Jacob’s trouble. They are in anguish and trouble, with the enemy of God’s law seeking to destroy them. They are purified during this time, and not in a perfect kingdom of David in old Palestine, without which, says the Shepherd’s Rod, “they can never be fitted for translation.” Their pilgrimage on this earth is over, and now they stand before the throne of God.
Surely, it behooves every Seventh-day Adventist to study as never before to know what the Spirit of Prophecy really teaches, that he may not be ensnared by the terrible delusions of Satan, who will if possible deceive the very elect. Every one of us must be fortified by the truth and with God’s Holy Spirit if he is to stand.
Chapter 3—The 144,444:
Where Were the 144,000 Seen?
As stated above, the teachings of the Shepherd’s Rod center in the theory of a kingdom of David to be set up in old Jerusalem before the close of probation and the Second Advent. The 144,000, it is said, will have been sealed and will be the sinless citizens of that perfect kingdom of David. From Jerusalem as a center they are to go as missionaries to give the “loud cry” to all the world, the results of which, it is claimed, will be the conversion of the great multitude mentioned in Revelation 7:9.
Therefore, in harmony with this theory, it must be that John in vision (Revelation 14:1) saw the 144,000 stand not on Mount Zion in heaven, but on earth.
The Shepherd’s Rod—”Let it be carefully noted that in his vision John saw the 144,000 stand not on Mount Zion in heaven, but upon earth, for had it not been otherwise, he would not say ‘and I heard a voice from heaven.’” Tract 8, 4
“In view of the fact that the 144,000 stood on Mount Zion while the elders and the beasts were before the throne, the 144,000 were, therefore, sealed while the judgment was in session. Moreover, Christ being seen with them in His symbolical form (a lamb), again proves that they stand with Him in Mount Zion during probationary time—while the judgment is in session.” Ibid., 6, 7.
The Spirit of Prophecy—”In holy vision the prophet saw the ultimate triumph of God’s remnant church. He writes:
“’I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory….stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.’ Revelation 15:2, 3.
“’And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him a hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads.’ (Revelation 14:1) In this world their minds were consecrated to God; they served Him with the intellect and with the heart; and now He can place His name ‘in their foreheads.’ ‘And they shall reign for ever and ever.’…
“’These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ The vision of the prophet pictures them as standing on Mount Zion, girt for holy service, clothed in white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints. But all who follow the Lamb in heaven must first have followed Him on earth, not fretfully or capriciously, but in trustful, loving, willing obedience, as the flock follows the shepherd.
“’I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps; and they sung as it were a new song before the throne…and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth….In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.’” Acts of the Apostles, 590, 591.
“While John was shown the last great struggles of the church with the earthly powers, he was also permitted to behold the final victory and deliverance of the faithful. He saw the church brought into deadly conflict with the beast and his image, and the worship of that beast enforced on pain of death. But looking beyond the smoke and din of the battle, he beheld a company upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having, instead of the mark of the beast, the ‘Father’s name written in their foreheads.’ And again he saw ‘them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God,’ and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 752, 753.
“We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass, when Jesus brought the crowns, and with His own right hand placed them on our heads. He gave us harps of gold and palms of victory. Here on the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a perfect square.” Ibid., vol. 1, 60, 61.
“Upon the crystal sea before the throne, that sea of glass as it were mingled with fire,—so resplendent is it with the glory of God,—are gathered the company that have ‘gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.’ (Revelation 15:2) With the Lamb upon Mount Zion, ‘having the harps of God,’ they stand, the hundred and forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men;….And they sing ‘a new song’ before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb,—a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience,—an experience such as no other company have ever had….These, having been translated from the earth, from among the earth, from among the living, are counted as ‘the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ (Revelation 14:1-5; 15:3) ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation’ (Revelation 7:14-17); they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob’s trouble; they have stood without an Intercessor through the final outpouring of God’s judgments. But they have been delivered, for they have ‘washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ ‘In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault, before God. ‘Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.’” The Great Controversy, 648, 649.
It is plain by the foregoing quotations that the Spirit of Prophecy places this scene in heaven. It is the time of “ultimate triumph,” “the final victory and deliverance” of the church. The 144,000 are no longer “in the world.” It has taken seven days to ascend to the sea of glass, and there, with the Lamb upon Mount Zion, stand the 144,000.
The Shepherd’s Rod—”As the 144,000 are the ‘first fruits,’ there must be second fruits, for where there is first, there must also be second. And as the first fruits, there must also be second. And as the first fruits are the ‘servants of God,’ they must subsequently be sent to all nations to gather second fruits (Isaiah 66:19, 20)—the great multitude of Revelation 7:9, whom John saw after viewing the sealing of the 144,000.” Tract 8, 16, 17.
This theory is false, because the 144,000 stand in heaven, after “final victory and deliverance,” “having been translated from earth, from among the living.” Therefore they cannot “subsequently be sent to all nations to gather the second fruits.” The fact that they are servants of God does not prove the theory, for in Revelation 22:3 we read concerning the new earth: “There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.” Further, we have the following definite comment on Isaiah 66:19:
The Spirit of Prophecy—”Jehovah declared to the prophet that He would send His witnesses ‘unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud,….to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off.’…
“The prophet heard the voice of God calling His church to her appointed work, that the way might be prepared for the ushering in of His everlasting kingdom….
“These prophecies of a great spiritual awakening in a time of gross darkness, are today meeting fulfillment in the advancing lines of mission stations that are reaching out into the benighted regions of earth.” Prophets and Kings, 374, 375.
An Army With Banners
In the closing chapter of Prophets and Kings, “Visions of Future Glory,” we have a vivid picture of the last great struggle of the church militant and her glorious triumph. No picture is given of a haven of “perfect safety as though in heaven,” for we are told that “the darkest hour of the church’s struggle with the powers of evil, is that which immediately precedes the day of her final deliverance. But none who trust in God need fear; for ‘when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall,’ God will be to His church ‘a refuge from the storm’ (Isaiah 25:4)….The day of wrath to the enemies of God is the day of final deliverance to His church.” Prophets and Kings, 725-727.
But of this remnant church purified in the fires of affliction, it is said, “Clad in the armor of Christ’s righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. ‘Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,’ she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.” Ibid., 725. This does not mean the gathering in of the “great multitude” by the 144,000 as the Shepherd’s Rod would have us believe. In this time of test there is a mighty struggle with foes from without and within, but it is a time of personal victory and the final triumph of the church. In speaking of this time “when the test will come to every soul,” the Spirit of Prophecy has said:
“When trees without fruit are cut down as cumberers of the ground, when multitudes of false brethren are distinguished from the true, then the hidden ones will be revealed to view, and with hosannas range under the banner of Christ. Those who have been timid and self-distrustful will declare themselves openly for Christ and His truth. The most weak and hesitating in the church will be as David—willing to do and dare. The deeper the night for God’s people, the more brilliant the stars. Satan will sorely harass the faithful; but, in the name of Jesus, they will come off more than conquerors. Then will the church of Christ appear’ fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banner.’” Testimonies, vol. 1, 353.
“I was shown that the seven last plagues will be poured out after Jesus leaves the sanctuary. Said the angel, ‘It is the wrath of God and the Lamb that causes the destruction or death of the wicked. At the voice of God the saints will be mighty and terrible as an army with banners; but they will not then execute the judgment written. The execution of the judgment will be at the close of the one thousand years.’” Early Writings, 52.
The Wheat and the Tares
This theory of the slaughter of the unfaithful in the Laodicean church and the establishment of a kingdom of David before the close of probation, calls, of course, for the separation of the good from the bad in the church before the end. The Shepherd’s Rod, therefore, teaches that “the harvest is the loud cry of the third angel’s message,” and that the “tares” are separated from the “wheat” at this time. Let the Spirit of Prophecy speak again:
“It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.
“This warning is brought to view in Revelation 14. Here is a threefold message represented as proclaimed by heavenly beings, and immediately followed by the coming of the Son of man ‘to reap the harvest of the earth.’” The Great Controversy, 311.
“The wheat and tares grow together until the harvest, the end of the world. Then the tares are bound in bundles to be burned, and the wheat is gathered into the garner of God. ‘Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.’” Christ’s Object Lessons, 75.
“Again, these parables teach that there is to be no probation after the judgment. When the work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation between the good and the evil, and the destiny of each class is forever fixed.” Ibid., 123.
Now let us quote the paragraph containing the sentence used so much by the Shepherd’s Rod:
“Many will be in heaven who their neighbors supposed would never enter there. Man judges from appearance, but God judges the heart. The tares and the wheat are to grow together until the harvest; and the harvest is the end of probationary time.” Ibid., 72
It is just the last sentence in the above quotation which is used by the Shepherd’s Rod. Notice that it does not say the last part of probationary time, but the end; and to fit in with the other quotations, it could mean only what has already been stated above in all other quotations.
It would make too large a volume to take up every point of controversy; neither is it necessary with the main issues proved false. Let the reader bear in mind this one principle: To find the truth of any subject mentioned in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, get all the statements on that one subject and put them together as one whole. Then the reader will have a full understanding of the truth brought forth, and thus will not be confused when points of controversy arise, as one would if only quotations or texts are taken here and there, separate from the context.
Chapter 4: Warning Against Deception
It will be found who bear false messages will not have a high sense of honor and integrity. They will deceive the people, and mix up with their error the Testimonies of Sister White, and use her name to give influence to their work. They make such selections from the Testimonies as they think they can twist to support their positions, and place them in a setting of falsehood, so that their error may have weight and be accepted by the people. They misinterpret and misapply that which God has given to the church to warn, counsel, reprove, comfort, and encourage those who shall make up the remnant people of God….
“Those who advocate error will say, ‘The Lord saith,’ ‘when the Lord hath not spoken.’ They testify to falsehood, and not to truth.” Testimonies to Ministers, 42, 43.
“When men arise, claiming to have a message from God, but instead of warring against principalities and powers, and their rulers of the darkness of this world, they form a hollow square, and turn the weapons of warfare against the church militant, be afraid of them. They do not bear the divine credentials. God has not given them any such burden of labor. They would tear down that which God would restore by the Laodicean message.” Ibid., 22, 23.
“The conflict is to wax fiercer and fiercer. Satan will take the field and personate Christ. He will misrepresent, misapply, and pervert everything he possibly can, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Even in our day there have been and will continue to be entire families who have once rejoiced in the truth, but who will lose faith because of calumnies and falsehoods brought to them in regard to those whom they have loved and with whom they have had sweet counsel.” Ibid., 411.
To those who may misled into thinking the Shepherd’s Rod must be true because of the interpretations of figures and symbols, I would refer to these statements:
“Others, who have an active imagination, seize upon the figures and symbols of Holy Writ, interpret them to suit their fancy, with little “regard to the testimonies of Scripture as its own interpreter, and then they present their vagaries as teachings of the Bible.” The Great Controversy, 521.
Misguided Efforts to Reform the Church
“There are little companies continually rising who believe that God is only with the very few, the very scattered, and their influence is to tear down and scatter that which God’s servants build up. Restless minds who want to be seeing and believing something new continually, are constantly arising, some in one place and some in another, all doing a special work for the enemy, yet claiming to have the truth. They stand separate from the people whom God is leading out and prospering, and through whom He is to do His great work. They are continually expressing their fears that the body of Sabbath keepers are becoming like the world….Some of these profess to have the gifts among them; but are led by the influence and teachings of these gifts to hold in doubt those upon whom God has laid the special burden of His work, and to lead off a class from the body. The people, who, in accordance with God’s word, are putting forth every effort to be one, who are established in the message of the third angel, are looked upon with suspicion, for the reason that they are extending their labor and are gathering souls into the truth….One man arises with wild, erroneous views, and claims that God has sent him with new and glorious light, and all must believe what he brings.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 417, 418.
What is it that Satan would rejoice to do?
“O how Satan would rejoice to get in among this people, and disorganize the work at a time when thorough organization is essential, and will be the greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings, and to refute claims not endorsed by the work of God!” Testimonies to Ministers, 228.
We are told in an official publication of the Shepherd’s Rod that this organization “exists solely to accomplish a divinely appointed work within the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, wherein it therefore strictly confines its activities.” According to this there is no burden for salvation of sinners, either at home or abroad, who never heard or accepted the Advent message. The words of Mrs. White, quoted above, are definitely applicable to the members of this offshoot. Let us repeat: “When men arise claiming to have a message from God, but instead of warning against principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, they form a hollow square, and turn the weapons of warfare against the church militant, be afraid of them.”
This is a very accurate description of the Shepherd’s Rod work. It is negative. Church leaders are called “conference prelates” who yield to “demon power” “to prolong the lukewarm condition indefinitely,” and there are many like denunciations. And what is the counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy? “Be afraid of them.” The following counsel seems very applicable to those who pursue such a course.
“Those who would be overcomers must be drawn out of themselves; and the only thing which will accomplish this great work, is to become intensely interested in the salvation of others. This does not mean that you are to convert men to your way of doing, or to compel them to view things in the same light as you do; but you are to seek to present the truth as it is in Jesus, and laboring to be a blessing to others, you will be blessed of God abundantly. That you have done and are doing something to enlarge the boundaries of the kingdom of God in rescuing poor souls from Satan’s yoke of superstition and error, will rejoice the heart, and broaden your ideas and plans….Some of you will consider it your privilege to leave your homes that you may labor in the islands of the sea, and rescue souls from the bondage of sin and error. As you gain a new and deeper experience, you will learn what it is to pray in the Holy Spirit; and those who are backslidden from God will be reclaimed, and there will be more anxious manifested to learn of Jesus to be meek and lowly of heart, than to point out the mistakes and errors of your brethren.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 207, 208.
Organization and the Platform of Truth
“Our work was not sustained by large gifts or legacies; for we have few wealthy men among us. What is the secret of our prosperity? We have moved under the orders of the Captain of our salvation. God has blessed our united efforts. The truth has spread and flourished. Institutions have multiplied. The mustard seed has grown to a great tree. The system of organization has proved to a great tree. The system of organization has proved a grand success….
“Let none entertain the thought that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study and many prayers for wisdom, that we know God has answered, to erect this structure. It has been built up by His direction, through much sacrifice and conflict. Let none of our brethren be so deceived as to attempt to tear it down, for you will thus bring in a condition of things that you do not dream of. In the name of the Lord I declare to you that it is to stand, strengthened, established, and settled.” Testimonies to Ministers, 27, 28.
“God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. He will discipline and fit up His people. They will not be at variance, one believing one thing and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body. Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith. If one man takes his views of Bible truth without regard to the opinion of his brethren, and justifies his course, alleging that he has a right to his own peculiar views, and then presses them upon others , how can he be fulfilling the prayer of Christ?” Ibid., 29, 30.
“Ministers who have preached the truth with all zeal and earnestness may apostatize and join the ranks of our enemies, but does this turn the truth of God into a lie? ‘Nevertheless,’ says the apostle, ‘the foundation of God standeth sure.’ The faith and feelings of men may change; but the truth of God, never. The third angel’s message is sounding; it is infallible….
“It is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives; and Satan, with all his arts and hellish power, cannot change the truth of God into a lie….
“The Lord has singled us out and made us subjects of His marvelous mercy. Shall we be charmed with the pratings of the apostate? Shall we choose to take our stand with Satan and his host?…Rather let it be our prayer: ‘Lord, put enmity between me and the serpent.’ If we are not at enmity with his works of darkness, his powerful folds encircle us, and his sting is ready at any moment to be driven to our hearts. We should count him a deadly foe. We should oppose him in the name of Christ. Our work is still onward. We must battle for every inch of ground. Let all who name the name of Christ clothe themselves with the armor of righteousness.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 595, 596.
“I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps—the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, ‘Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.’ I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform. I saw individuals approach the platform and examine the foundation. Some with rejoicing immediately stepped upon it. Others commenced to find fault with the foundation. They wished improvements made, and then the platform would be more perfect, and the people much happier. Some stepped off the platform to examine it and declared it to be laid wrong. But I saw that nearly all stood firm upon the platform and exhorted those who had stepped off to cease their complaints; for God was the Master Builder, and they were fighting against Him.” Early Writings, 258, 259.
“Words of power have been sent by God and by Christ to this people, bringing them out from the world, point by point, into the clear light of present truth. With lips touched by holy fire, God’s servants have proclaimed the message. The divine utterance has set its seal to the genuineness of the truth proclaimed.” Gospel Workers, 307.
“Perilous times are before us. Everyone who has a knowledge of the truth should awake and place himself, body, and spirit, under the discipline of God. The enemy is on our track. We must be wide awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the Spirit of Prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His Word. He has spoken to us through the testimonies to the church and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy….
“Let not erroneous theories receive countenance from the people who ought to be standing firm on the platform of eternal truth. God calls upon us to hold firmly to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority.” Ibid., 308.
“Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. My writings are kept on file in the office, and even though I should not live, these words that have been given to me by the Lord will still have life and will speak to the people….Never have testimonies been more clearly brought before the people than those that have been recently traced by my pen. God bids me urge upon the attention of our people the importance of their study. Let this work begin now. Then, whether I am permitted to labor or am laid away to rest until Jesus comes, these messages are immortalized….Every conceivable thing will be brought in to deceive, if possible the very elect; but the Lord will certainly take care of His work.” Selected Messages, bk. 1, 55-57.