Timely Greetings Volume 2, No. 37
HISTORY AND PROPHECY, COMMANDMENTS AND STATUTES–THE BIBLE
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, JULY 17, 1948
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
TEXT FOR PRAYER
The Good And The Bad Seed
I shall read from Christ’s Object Lessons, beginning on page 70.
“‘The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.’ ‘The field,’ Christ said, ‘is the world.’ But we must understand this as signifying the church of Christ in the world. The parable is a description of that which pertains to the kingdom of God, His work for the salvation of men, and this work is accomplished through the church…. The good seed represents those who are born of the word of God, the truth. The tares represent a class who are the fruit or embodiment of error, of false principles. ‘The enemy that sowed them is the devil.’ Neither God nor His angels ever sowed a seed that would produce a tare. The tares are always sown by Satan, the enemy of God and man.”
According to this reading, our prayer this afternoon should be that we realize that God through servants of His own appointment accomplishes His work for the salvation of souls, that neither He nor His angels ever sowed a tare, but that Satan, the enemy of God and man, sows the tares. Let us pray, too, then that we ourselves be of the good seed, those born of the Truth, and not of the bad seed, not of those who are the fruit of the flesh, devoid of the Spirit.
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HISTORY AND PROPHECY, COMMANDMENTS AND STATUTES–THE BIBLE
What a gloomy life this would be if there were no history — if there were no possible way of knowing the past. And still worse would it be if there were no prophecy — if there were no way of getting an idea what the future holds. But worst of all would it be if there were no light on the present.
Let me illustrate: Suppose you should look out of your windows both toward the east and toward the west, and you should see the land lighted for miles around, even to the horizon, but there were no light at all in your own home! Again, suppose you should wish to drive somewhere, and you had a flood of lights both on the rear and on the front of your car, but the motor would not turn over. What good would the car be to you? and what good the lights? That is the exact predicament you would be in if you understood history and understood prophecy, but knew nothing about your own spiritual condition, knew not that you were being overcome by the fiery darts of the Devil. It would be like walking over a bridge which, unbeknown to you, was collapsing.
You will agree, I know, that it is absolutely
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necessary to know both history and prophecy, absolutely necessary to know the past and the future. But this in itself will not profit you if your soul is languishing in darkness, if you are spiritually dead and do not know it; — no, this will not profit you anymore than would a car with a flood of light before and behind but with the motor dead. The life to your soul, and the light closest your feet are, therefore, of first importance. And how are these to be obtained?–
The Bible, you know, consists of three parts: (1) History, (2) Commandments and Statutes, (3) Prophecy. The Psalms and the Proverbs, along with The Song of Solomon, come under these same categories. History tells the past, and prophecy tells the future, but the keeping of the commandments and the statutes brings the blessings that should be ours today, enlightens the soul, and shields the body. Indeed, Jesus in the commandments and the statutes is our only salvation. Am I speaking the truth? — Let us see what Jesus Himself has to say:
Rev. 22:16, 13, 14 — “I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star…. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
Matt. 5:17-22, 27, 28 — “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall
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break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire…. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Only those who do God’s commandments, you see, are able to enter the Holy City. None others are thus privileged. No, Jesus did not come to bring crime and lawlessness, but rather to bring righteousness and peace by blotting out the sins of all who repent of breaking the law. To be saved involves much more than merely calling Him Lord and Saviour and shouting halleluia.
“Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I
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profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” Matt. 27:21-24.
Jesus said: “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me.” John 5:46. To believe in Moses is to believe what he wrote; to believe in Jesus is to believe what He says. If you cannot believe in Moses, then you cannot believe in Jesus. And how much shall we believe? — Jesus answers: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” Lu. 24:25. If we are to believe all, then let us first read–
Mal. 4:4, 5 — “Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
You know by now that Malachi, chapters 3 and 4, prophetically speak to the people of today, to the people just before the great and dreadful day, to the people to whom antitypical Elijah the prophet is sent. And what wise counsel does the Lord give through Malachi? — He says, “Remember ye the Law of Moses My servant.” Which law? — The law of “statutes and judgments” which the Lord commanded “in Horeb.” Since this is God’s faithful advice to His people of this day, we would do well to restudy this law of Moses, and to remember it, for we cannot disregard His counsel and still expect His blessings.
Broadly speaking, the law of Moses consists
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of three parts. The first is the Ceremonial law, the law of the temple — the sacrificial law. This law, of course, we today must not observe, except in antitype, for it foreshadowed things to come, particularly Christ’s first advent. Thus it is that if we had lived in Old Testament times and had failed to comply with the sacrificial law and system of that day, we would thereby have demonstrated unbelief in Christ, Who was to come. But since we are living in the Christian era, if we should now observe the typical sacrificial law and system, we should thereby demonstrate unbelief in Christ, Who has come.
And so, as this law was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14), we need not, and must not, observe it now.
The second part of Moses’ law, is the law by which Israel was to rule its people, the civil, or legal law, — the law which defines what penalty the government should impose upon those who are caught stealing, killing, or the like. Now, since we as Christians do not have a government of our own, but are still under the governments of the nations of today, we personally, or as a group are not required to enforce the legal law of Moses either.
The only law of Moses, therefore, that we can possibly be admonished to remember, is the third part of his law: the moral law, which consists of the things that pertain to us as individuals, the things that we as individuals must perform, the things that perfect our character, the things that make us a peculiar people. We therefore need to search out and do the things contained in the moral law of Moses — “The commandments, and the statutes and the judgments.” Deut. 5:31.
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And the surest way to select these moral essentials from among those things which pertain to the sacrificial and the legal systems, is to go to the book of Deuteronomy. This book is the summary of all the laws and statutes which Moses spoke to ancient Israel, his last words.
We shall begin with his prediction of our own situation, of our sojourning in the land of the Gentiles, as it is this day, the certification of the fact that in the counsels of Moses’ writings we, too, are included.
Deut. 4:26-31 — “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them.”
Here Moses predicted the disintegration of the kingdom then expected, and the dispersion of the people of Israel throughout the nations, the
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exact situation in which we are today. He also herein predicted our visitation in the latter days, our time — the time we as Christians find ourselves as fugitives and sinners among the nations, the time we are visited by Inspiration and are advised to “turn to the Lord,” to “be obedient unto His voice.” And if we obey, He will hear us and save us.
We should, therefore, now give ear to His voice, and whatsoever He commands we must do if we want His blessings upon us.
Remember we anciently lost the Kingdom because of disobeying His commandments and statutes, and it is certain that he will not take us back into it so long as we neglect to take heed to His voice. And here is the Voice which rings in our ears today as loudly as it did in the ears of the people in Moses’ day:
Deut. 5:11-21 — “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify It, as the Lord Thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in It thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day. Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded
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thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Neither shalt thou commit adultery. Neither shalt thou steal. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
Deut. 6:5, 8 — “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might…. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.”
Deut. 7:6, 12, 15 – -“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth…. Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which He sware unto thy fathers:… And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.”
According to these verses most of our diseases are caused through disobedience. And the very fact that there is so much disease in our time is evidence in itself that the world is reaping a full harvest for its disobedience. Hence, the longer we continue in our sins the worse off we will be.
Deut. 10:12, 13, 19, 20 — “And now, Israel, what doth
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the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?… Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave, and swear by His name.”
Deut. 11:26-28 — “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”
Deut. 12:32 — What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
Deut. 14:3 — “Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.”
Deut. 18:10-12 — “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”
Deut. 22:5-11 — “The woman shall not wear that
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which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: but thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence. Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with diverse seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.”
In this particular catalogue of commandments and statutes, you see that God is particular what His people wear and what they eat. He expects them to be kind to animals. He wants them to be careful not to leave traps for the unaware to fall into or for anyone to be hurt in any way. Then, too, God’s people are to farm in accordance with His wisdom if they would have His blessings upon their labor, and if they would obtain health from the food they eat.
Deut. 23:19-23 — “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou
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goest to possess it.
“When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.”
Deut. 24:6, 10-15 — “No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge….
“When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee. And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge: in any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: at his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.”
God’s people are here told not to pledge their means or tools (not to pledge “the nether or upper millstone”) with which they make a living. And they are not to be exacting with
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their poor brethren. They are not to collect by force, and they are not to delay paying wages to the poor.
Deut. 25:4, 13-16 — “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn…. Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
Deut. 27:17, 21, 24, 26 — “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen…. Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen…. Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen…. Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.”
Deut. 28:1-4, 6, 15-22, 27, 35 — “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep….
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“Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out….
“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord Thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly, because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflamation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish… The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed…. The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.”
These verses need no comment. The requirements are plain to all.
Deut. 30:15 — “See, I have set before thee this day
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life and good, and death and evil.”
1 John 1:4-6 — “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.”
James 2:19, 20 — “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
Your obeying “all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments” of the moral law of Moses, you see, is your evidence that you have been born again, that you have been endowed with power from above, that you are enabled to choose the good and to refuse the evil, that you are the children of God. Keeping the commandments and the statutes in the Lord, then is the light and shield of your life. It is the outward sign that by the life of Christ you have overcome the Enemy of your soul and body. This system of worship, therefore, is truly the Righteousness by faith that brings the righteousness of Christ in the people of God. Let us now with ears wide open hear the crier’s bell:
Isa. 52:1, 7 — “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean…. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto
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Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
Nah. 1:15 — “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that PUBLISHETH peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the WICKED shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly CUT OFF.”
Here the prophetic Word of God plainly declares by both Isaiah and Nahum the prophets that when we see these good tidings published by him whose feet are seen upon the mountains (and this is now taking place for the first time since the prophets wrote), it is to be a sign that the wicked, the violators of the laws of Moses, are soon to be cut off from among God’s people.
And now, since you are priviledged to hear all these things, “happy are ye,” says the Lord, “if ye do them.” Job 13:17.
For the summary of our study, I would have you seriously look at this illustration. Look at it, store it in your mind, and study it at your leisure. Yes, be convinced of the truth which I have tried to present to you, for it is your life, your prosperity, your health and happiness, your eternity.
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