Timely Greetings Volume 2, No. 1
THE LORD’S ANSWER TO THE INQUIRER OF GOD
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, AUGUST 9, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Jesus’ Example In Teaching
We shall read from “Christ’s Object Lessons,” paragraph one, page 21:
“Again, Christ had truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept, or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature, He secured their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled the words of the divine Teacher. To minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the Saviour’s teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp became evident. Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its different phases, but appealed to the different hearers…. None who listened to the Saviour could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.”
As the people in Jesus’ time were as the people of today, not anxious to learn new Truth, He used Nature to arrest their attention. The prophets were led to use the same method. We, therefore, need to pray for a burning desire to know God’s Truth for today. We need to pray that we do not become self-confident, and satisfied with our attainments in the Word of God; that we lay aside all prejudices and be willing to learn from the “humblest of the humble.”
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 2
THE LORD’S ANSWER TO THE INQUIRER OF GOD
Our subject is found in Ezekiel twenty. This chapter, we will find, contains a prophetic history of the Church from the time of her servitude in Egypt to the time of the sealing of the 144,000.
Ezek. 20:1-8 — “And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the Lord, and sat before me. Then came the word of the Lord unto me, saying, Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Are ye come to enquire of Me? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be enquired of by you. Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers: and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up Mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up Mine hand unto them, saying, I am the Lord your God; in the day that I lifted up Mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: then said I unto them, Cast ye away very man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt:
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 3
I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against Me, and would not hearken unto Me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.”
In the writings of Moses we do not find a record as to the faithfulness of the children of Israel in the land of Egypt. Whether they were good or bad, Moses does not say. But here through Ezekiel we are told what they were. Not all of them, you note, were God-fearing people. This scripture makes clear that even when God called them to move out of the land of Egypt, the majority were unfaithful in their devotion to God.
Ezek. 20:9, 10 — “But I wrought for My name’s sake, that It should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made Myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.”
We have now read the record of the Hebrew host, — of their spiritual standing in the land of Egypt, and of God’s reason for bringing them out of Egypt. Next we shall read the record which they made in the wilderness.
Ezek. 20:11-13 — “And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 4
judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My Sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.”
Here we see that the deeds of the descendants of Jacob were even less commendable in the wilderness than they were in Egypt.
Ezek. 20:14-28 — “But I wrought for My name’s sake, that It should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Yet also I lifted up My hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; because they despised My judgments, and walked not in My statutes, but polluted My Sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless Mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them; and hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against Me: they walked not in My statutes, neither kpt My judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted My Sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew Mine hand, and wrought for My name’s sake, that It should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. I lifted up Mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 5
heathen, and disperse them through the countries; because they had not executed My judgments; but had despised My statutes, and had polluted My Sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord. Therefore, son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed Me, in that they have committed a trespass against Me. For when I had brought them into the land, for the which I lifted up Mine hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering: there also they made their sweet savour, and poured out there their drik offerings.”
They were unfaithful in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in the promised land. We shall now read of the results.
Ezek. 20:29-36 — “Then I said unto them, What is the high place whereunto ye go? And the name whereof is called Bamah unto this day. Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations? For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be enquired of by you. And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say,
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 6
We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone. As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: and I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God.”
On one hand we see the reasons for elevating the Hebrew host from Pharaoh’s slaves to God’s priests, prophets, and kings. On the other hand we see their scattering throughout all the nations. Next we behold God’s promises of their gathering out of the countries in which they are scattered. This He promises to do with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm.
Ezek. 20:37 — “And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.”
This verse is somewhat involved and needs to be elucidated with the help of another scripture. Let us turn to Leviticus.
“And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.” Lev. 27:32.
To determine the Lord’s part, the tithe, the Lord’s lambs, goats, or sheep, were made to pass under the rod. Each tenth then was taken and set aside for the Lord. The statement of Ezekiel twenty, verse thirty-seven, “to pass under the rod,” therefore,
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 7
means to separate His very elect from among the multitude, from among the “tares,” (Matt. 13:30) or from among the “bad fish” (Matt. 13:47, 48). And being thus separated, they are counted. So it is that the 144,000 (Rev. 7:3-8; 14:1) are a separate and numbered company.
Now we see that Ezekiel twenty contains a prophetic history from the time of their sojourn in Egypt to the time of the sealing of the 144,000, and of the gathering of the people.
When God causes His people to thus pass under the rod, He will then bring them into the bond of “the covenant which He made with Abraham, and of His oath unto Isaac; and hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.” 1 Chron. 16:16-18.
The promises which they failed to realize, the Lord reassures that He will now let His people have them.
Ezek. 20:38 — “And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”
Here we are plainly told that only the elect will He bring “into the bond of the covenant.” Them only will He bring into the land of Israel. The sinners (tares, bad fish or goats) that are now among God’s people shall be taken out and be no more.
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a net, saith the Lord, “that was cast into the sea, and gathered
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 8
of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matt. 13:47-50. The separation, the Judgment for the Living, you note, brings the end of the world.
Ezek. 20:39 — “As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto Me: but pollute ye My holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.”
God has now made clear His “clean work” which He is to do, both for the penitent and for the impenitent. It is now up to them to decide whether to serve Him or to serve their idols — they are now not making their decision ignorantly. If they wish to perish they may continue to serve their idols.
Ezek. 20:40, 41 — “For in Mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve Me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.”
All these things, you see, take place in the sight of the heathen.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 9
Ezek. 20:42-44 — “And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up Mine hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the Lord when I have wrought with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord God.”
These things God does for His people, not because they are deserving, but for His name’s sake, because His promise cannot fail. The Kingdom of God, you see, does not begin in heaven, but on earth. And the Kingdom, you now see, is not to be made up of ghosts, but of living human beings, of saints, not a sinner among them.
Yes, the Eden that was lost is to be restored. In fact, the Word plainly declares that Elias must first come and restore all things (Mark 9:12). As Eden was a real home at the beginning occupied by real human beings so shall it be again.
The remaining verses of Ezekiel twenty take up another parable. But as time will not permit us to go into it, we shall bring our study to a close. First, though, let it be noticed that the remaining verses of this chapter, and also chapter 21 have, with this light on hand, become self-explanatory, and you can study them at your leisure. Verse 27 of chapter 21 though, I may touch on now.
Ezek. 21:27 — “I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until He comes Whose right it
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 10
is; and I will give it Him.”
In these chapters are brought to view both the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In this verse God plainly declares that He was to make three overturnings, and that after that the Kingdom was to be no more until “He comes Whose right it is”; that is, after the three overturnings, He “Whose right it is” shall come and the Kingdom shall be restored.
The first overturning took place when Assyria overturned the house of Israel, the ten-tribe kingdom; the second overturning took place when the king of Babylon overturned the house of Judah, the two-tribe kingdom; and the third overturning took place when Titus in 70 A.D. destroyed Jerusalem. Thus it is seen that we are now living in the period after the third overturning, the period in which “He Whose right it is,” is to come and set up His Kingdom.
The very fact that Inspiration has now unfolded these prophecies, and has brought them to the attention of the church, leads us to know for a certainty that the time for the restoration of the Kingdom is at hand; that we are now in the sealing time of the 144,000; and that if we are faithful we shall be among them, and stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion.
This, Brother, Sister, is the Lord’s Own answer to you.
Your duty is now to accept it if you wish life forevermore. Let not the enemy of Truth bring doubts to your mind, and let no one talk you out of this Truth for the Devil will not stand idly by. He will do all to overthrow you. Check up again and again and see that the Bible teaches this Truth so that you be able
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 1, page 11
to hold your own. You cannot afford to lose out this late in the day.