Timely Greetings Volume 1, No. 46
THE SERVANTS OF GOD IN THE GATHERING TIME
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, JUNE 21, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Founded Upon A Rock
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” beginning on page 211 —
“The people had been deeply moved by the words of Christ…. His words had struck at the very root of their former ideas and opinions; to obey His teaching would require a change in all their habits of thought and action. It would bring them into collision with their religious teachers….”
Since the teachings of Christ require a change in thought and action, we should not be surprised if that is what His message of today would require of us. Let us conclude today’s reading by turning to page 216.
“…He who, like the Jews in Christ’s day, builds on the foundation of human ideas and opinions, of forms and ceremonies of man’s invention, or on any works that he can do independently of the grace of Christ, is erecting his structure of character upon the shifting sand. The fierce tempests of temptation will sweep away the sandy foundation, and leave his house a wreck on the shores of time.”
Let us pray for God to help us make sure that the foundation of our faith is built upon God’s Word, the solid Rock; that we might know that anything short of it will sooner or later fall; that we let the Lord have His way in us; that we let Him change our habits and practices from what they are to what they ought to be.
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THE SERVANTS OF GOD IN THE GATHERING TIME
We are to study the forty-ninth chapter of Isaiah. This chapter points out the servants of God in the gathering time, their racial lineage, and their need for territorial expansion. We shall begin the study with the first three verses.
Isa. 49:1-3 — “Listen, O isles, unto Me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name. And He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me; and said unto me, Thou art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
The Spirit of God in the person of Israel, through the prophet Isaiah declares that Israel was born for no other reason than to be God’s servant, and urges that this fact must now be made known throughout the world, even to the isles of the sea.
Since Jacob himself was dead long before Isaiah the prophet wrote, the truth clearly stands out that the Spirit of God in this scripture speaks, not personally to Jacob himself, but to his descendants, to those to whom this Truth is made known, and who now bear
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the responsibility to broadcast It far and wide; plainly, then, the people in whom the Lord is to be glorified, and who again bring Jacob to Him (Isa. 49:3, 5) are themselves, too, to be made known internationally. They are those who finish the gospel work — the very last. To them the Lord gives a mouth as sharp as a sword.
These are to be His servants during the gathering of the people, the day in which the Lord is glorified. Their being hid, as it were, in His quiver, connotes that their coming into the limelight is to be a complete surprise to all: For the first time the world is to learn that these servants of God are the tail end of Jacob’s descendants, His hidden servants, those who are to gather His people even from the isles of the seas.
Again, it is written — “In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and he cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But, it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed.” — “Testimonies,” Vol. 5, pp. 80, 81.
Isa. 49:4 — “Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.”
At the outset of their labor the results must be such as to bring almost a complete discouragement.
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They nevertheless know that they are appointed by God, and so they leave their judgment, their work and success with Him.
Isa. 49:5 — “And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.”
For their encouragement they are told that even though Israel be not gathered (he will, however, be gathered), yet they shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and the Lord God shall be their strength. Since they are now (not at another time but in the day this prophecy is fulfilled) called to bring Jacob to the Lord again, it shows that Jacob (the people of God in their Jacobite state) must have departed from the Lord. Now they must be brought back to Him by a mighty revival and reformation.
Isa. 49:6 — “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: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.”
This scripture had as its type the time when the Apostles were finally instructed to preach the gospel to Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Now to raise up the tribes of Jacob, is first to raise up the first fruits, 144,000 — 12,000 out of each tribe of Israel (Rev. 7:3). Moreover, to be a light and salvation to the ends of the earth, means that these latter-day servants of God are to finish the gospel work, are to preach the gospel of the Kingdom in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and thus bring the end (Matt. 24:14).
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It is our privilege, therefore, not only to bring the light of God to the Denomination where the “first-fruits” (the 144,000 — Rev. 14:4) of the great spiritual harvest are, but even to bring the same light to the second fruits, to the great multitude that are gathered out of all nations, a multitude which no man can number (Rev. 7:9).
Those who are thus privileged are, as God Himself testifies, the descendants of Jacob, “the lost tribes of Israel” who are now coming to light.
Isa. 49:7 — “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, 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.”
The Lord is here seen to speak to a people whom men despise, to them whom the nation abhors, to servants of rulers — to laymen, not to Denominationally recognized ministers. This servant of the Lord, the Scripture makes clear, is despised and abhorred as much as was the Lord Himself. The hate, then, that is heaped upon us by our Laodicean brethren, must not be a discouragement to us, but rather a great encouragement. And Why? — Because the Spirit of the Lord Himself testifies that we are the servants of God for this time, that He is to bless our work so much so that even kings shall see our rising and princes also shall come and worship.
Isa. 49:8 — “Thus saith the Lord, 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
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a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.”
God has heard us in probationary time, a time in which we can be sealed and be preserved for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to inherit the desolate heritages — to restore all things.
Isa. 49:9 — “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.”
It matters not where God’s people be, nor under what circumstances they be placed, they shall nevertheless all hear His servants proclaiming the year of final Jubilee, and all are to be let out free, all are to share this great ever-increasing spiritual feast.
Isa. 49:10, 11 — “They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them. And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted.”
The Lord here guarantees that now in the gathering time there shall be no obstruction of any kind, that He is master of the situation.
Isa. 49:12 — “Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.”
God’s highway shall be filled and exalted, and a multitude, gathered from the four corners of the earth, shall safely walk therein.
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Isa. 49:13 — “Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted.”
Not that the Lord will comfort His people, but that He has already comforted them, He has filled them with Truth.
Isa. 49:14 — “But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.”
Before they are sealed, those who are to be the inhabitants of Zion (the 144,000) think God has forsaken them. God’s answer to them, though, is this:
Isa. 49:15 — “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”
Even though some, rather than praying for the re-establishing of Zion, are actually praying against it, nevertheless they, too, will soon find out that God is entirely for it.
Isa. 49:16 — “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.”
From all natural appearances it seems that God has forgotten Zion, the place of His earthly throne; that He has left His enemies to abuse His people and to deface Zion’s exalted hill, but the Lord Himself assures that for Zion’s sake and for her people’s freedom, was He nailed on the cross.
Isa. 49:17 — “Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers
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and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.”
Zion’s children shall be anxious to get to her, but her enemies, the sinners will be driven away from her.
Isa. 49:18, 19 — “Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth. For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.”
The word “behold” calls attention to a goodly number of precious souls already preparing to come. In them shall God’s servants glory. Moreover, in spite of the great number of unrepentant sinners that are to be taken away, the land shall even then be too narrow because of the great incoming multitude.
Isa. 49:20 — “The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.”
From this verse we gather that the children which Zion shall lose, are those who refuse to be converted. Her loss, though, is to be replaced with a great number from all nations and thus shall the land become too narrow. The verses that follow, reaffirm this view:
Isa. 49:21-23 — “Then shalt thou say in thine heart,
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Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up Mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up My standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.”
Though we may now be either hated or unknown, the day is coming when we shall be comforted. The great men of earth shall then, so to speak, “lick up the dust” of our feet.
Isa. 49:24, 25 — “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.”
No power in the world shall any longer be able to hold God’s people down in the dust.
Isa. 49:26 — “And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Our enemies shall kill one another with as great zeal as if they had filled themselves with sweet wine.
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Then those that remain shall recognize that the Lord, the mighty one of Jacob, is our Saviour and Redeemer. Shall we therefore still sleep on? Or shall we arise in the righteousness of Christ and get ready to meet the Lord and to be with Him in His Kingdom? Your opportunity and the time of your decision is now come and cannot be put off. You must take a firm and active stand with this laymen’s movement, in this the work of which is first for the church, then for the world.
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