Timely Greetings Volume 2, No. 3
THE CHRISTIAN’S LAND RENOVATION AND HEART OPERATION
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, AUGUST 23, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
TEXT FOR PRAYER
The Bible–Unquestionable Authority
I shall read from “Christ’s Object Lessons,” beginning on page 38 with the last paragraph–
“The teachers of Israel were not sowing the seed of the word of God. Christ’s work as a teacher of truth was in marked contrast to that of the rabbis of His time. They dwelt upon traditions, upon human theories and speculations. Often that which man had taught and written about the word, they put in place of the word itself…. The subject of Christ’s teaching and preaching was the word of God. He met questioners with a plain, ‘It is written.’ ‘What saith the Scriptures?’ ‘How readest thou?’… Christ’s servants are to do the same work. In our day, as of old, the vital truths of God’s word are set aside for human theories and speculations. Many professed ministers of the gospel do not accept the whole Bible as the inspired word. One wise man rejects one portion; another questions another part. They set up their judgment as superior to the word; and the Scripture which they do teach rests upon their own authority. Its divine authenticity is destroyed…. He pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority, and we should do the same. The Bible is to be presented as the word of the infinite God, as the end of all controversy and the foundation of all faith.”
We need to pray this afternoon for help never to set aside God’s Word for human theories and speculations, but always to teach the plain truths of the Bible according to the Spirit, the only unquestionable authority — the end of all controversy, the foundation of our faith. Let us kneel.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 3, page 2
THE CHRISTIAN’S LAND RENOVATION AND HEART OPERATION
Our subject for this afternoon is the Christian’s land renovation and heart operation. This subject we find in the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel.
Ezek. 36:1-10 — “Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the Word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord God; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places [the places of worship in the Promised Land] are our’s in possession: therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people: therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the Word of the Lord God; Thus saith the Lord God to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken [by His people], which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about; therefore thus saith the Lord God; Surely in the fire of My jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and agaist all Idumea [now Arabians], which have appointed My land into their possession with the joy of all their
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 3, page 3
heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey. Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: therefore thus saith the Lord God; I have lifted up Mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to My people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded.”
These verses, now seen in the framework of the message of the hour, show that the time of the Gentiles is at an end, that God’s elect are to return and for ever possess their land!
Ezek. 36:11-14 — “And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even My people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men. Thus saith the Lord God; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations: therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord God.”
These verses cannot be misconstrued to mean the
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 3, page 4
return of the Jews from Babylon, because here it is said, the land shall “devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations anymore,” whereas history shows that since the Jews’ return from Babylon, the land has devoured — there has been no lasting peace. Moreover, this chapter is in particular speaking about the “house of Israel,” the ten-tribe kingdom, which has never to this day returned since it was scattered by the Assyrians.
Ezek. 36:15-22 — “Neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord God. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before Me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. Wherefore I poured My fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: and I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned My holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of His land. But I had pity for Mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heahen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.”
By these scriptures it can now be understood that God does not do this because His people of yesterday
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 3, page 5
or of today have been good, but because He must vindicate His name, and He must let the heathen know that they were able to drive His people out of the land only because He allowed them to do so on account of the iniquity of His people.
Ezek. 36:23-26 — “And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
Plain it is to see that before you and I can be ready for translation, we must first be ready to go into the Promised Land, there to be cleansed, there to have our stony hearts removed. Yes, the only way to have this heart operation performed upon us is to let the Lord first gather us from among the heathen and bring us into our own land. For “then will I,” says the Lord, “sprinkle clean water upon you,” and “a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”
In the face of this, I should like to know who could ever live with Christ during the thousand years without having first gone to the land, there to be cleansed and there to receive a new heart?
Ezek. 36:27-32 — “And I will put My Spirit within you,
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 3, page 6
and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.”
The Lord knows how to save: He had His people dispersed throughout the nations so that when He brings them back home they will remember the result of their evil doings, and so loathe their iniquities.
Ezek. 36:33-36 — “Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.”
All these wonders, you see, the Lord performs in the land of Israel and in the sight of the heathen. These are necessarily premillennial events.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 3, page 7
Ezek. 36:37 — “Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.”
God’s elect, this verse declares, will be praying for the fulfillment of these scriptures. What are you doing, Brother, Sister? Are you praying for these things? Or are you fighting against them? You dare not say, “It matters not,” for such an attitude of unbelief will keep you out of the Kingdom just as surely as it kept the antediluvians out of the ark.
Ezek. 36:38 — “As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
Is there still a doubt in the hearts of any of you? O, how could there be a doubt? These verses, you see, do not really need any interpretation whatever. There is no plainer doctrine in the Bible. You cannot close your eyes to it and yet expect to be counted among the believers of the Word of God.
Now we see that there must be land renovation and heart operation — that God’s Kingdom begins on earth in the sight of the heathen, that it is to be as real as anything, and that there is to be neither a sinner in It, nor a stony heart in It. Is this not more appealing than the imaginary, the much spiritualized, kingdom so often heard of?
Elijah shall indeed come first and restore all things. And we shall finally be what Adam was in the beginning, live in the Garden of Eden, and feast on the tree of life.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 3, page 8
It Shall Be Well With You
Be tranquil, O my soul,
Be quiet every fear!
Thy Father hath supreme control,
And He is ever near.
Never of thy lot complain,
What ever may befall,
Sickness or sorrow, care or pain,
‘Tis well appointed all.
A Father’s chastening hand
Is leading thee along:
Nor distant is the promised land,
Where swells the immortal song.
O, then, my soul, be still!
Await heaven’s high decree;
Seek but to do thy Father’s will,
It shall be well with thee.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 3, page 9