SHEPHERD’S ROD VOLUME 2 TIMELY GREETINGS NO. 44
THE SIGNS OF CHRIST'S SECOND COMING
OR THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM-
THE SIGNS OF CHRIST'S SECOND COMING OR THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM-
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-
ADVENTISTS SABBATH, JANUARY 22, 1949
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
We as students and gospel teachers have for years dwelt heavily on the signs of Christ's second coming, but not at all on the signs of the Kingdom. As a result of this, Christendom has theoretically merged the signs of the Kingdom with the signs of the second Advent.
Something similar to this is what the Jews of old did when they were expecting the Messiah's first appearing. According to their private understanding they deeply studied the signs of the restoration of the Kingdom, but not so much of the signs of the Messiah's coming. Thus it was that when they were told that the Messiah had come but not the time to restore the Kingdom, the leaders of the Jews, taking for granted that their private (uninspired) interpretation of the Scriptures was infallible, rejected the message of that day. Then in an attempt to safeguard their influence upon the common people and to subjugate them to their way of thinking, they crucified the Lord, their Saviour and King as they did also kill the prophets who went before Him. Their insistence that the Kingdom be restored in their day, though, profited them nothing.
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The fact that Christendom itself is divided and confused, one believing one thing
and another something else, is in itself sufficient evidence that besides being in
total darkness of the signs of the Kingdom because of private interpretation of the
Scriptures, Christendom must be in darkness of many other things as well. In such
a confused state of faith, Christendom is definitely no more led by the Spirit of
Truth than were the rebellious Jews. Past experience teaches, however, that to try
to convince the multitude of this fact would be as formidable a task as to convince
the Jews even to this day that Christ is the Messiah that was to come. The difficulty,
of course, lies in the fact that hardly a theologian allows for the possibility that
his understanding of the Bible might be at least in a measure erroneous, and that
Inspiration might almost at any moment manifest Itself anew, unroll the scroll and
bring forth timely Truth, "meat in due season," and thus expose their private concoctions
Now with all respect and sincerity, by the authority of the Scriptures and by
virtue of the facts before me, I say that it would be easier for a chicken to find
its roost in the blackest of the night than for uninspired mind to unveil the prophecies
and the parables. The difference between the two is that the chicken realizes the
futility of trying to find her roost after sunset, but the self-
We as Christians have obviously failed to note that if the secret things of God, matter not how simple, were
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to be unsealed at anytime by anyone, Inspiration would never in the first place have concealed them in symbols and parables. Christendom is still blind to the fact that to attempt to break into the mysteries of God would be to attempt to defeat His purposes; yes, to try to break into the Divine code, is to try the impossible. For example, even when the time did come for the Book sealed with seven seals to be unsealed (Rev. 4 and 5), no one in heaven or on earth was able to do so, but only "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" could break the seals and look into the things which afterwards were shown to John, the Revelator. And though John wrote them, he himself could not before time explain them. Then how can we do such before time and without the Inspiration of the same Spirit Who indicted them? The Word of God plainly warns:
2 Pet. 1:19-
No one, say the Scriptures, can privately (without Inspiration) unfold the prophecies,
for, reasons the Apostle, as prophecy came not by private effort -
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after prophecy is thus interpreted, only to the righteous (the penitent) is given the gift of understanding it (Dan. 12:10).
Since we as a people know some of the signs of Christ's second coming, and none of the signs of the Kingdom, we had better now concentrate on the signs of the latter.
This parable of the Kingdom, you note, contains three periods of time: First,
the period of sowing the seed -
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time "at the end of the world" (Matt. 13:49), the period in which the earth is lightened with the glory of the angel (Rev. 18:1), and in which all God's people are called out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4). Then those who did not respond to this gathering call will cry out: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." Jer. 8:20. The "harvest," therefore, is "the end of the world." Matt. 13:49. It commences in the church and ends in Babylon.
The work of the harvest, very obviously, is synonymous with the Judgment that
decides who are tares and who are wheat-
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witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the Lord of hosts."
How many yields of fruit is the harvest to give? -
Where do the first fruits come from, and where do the second fruits come from?
1 Pet. 4:17, 18 -
Now, then, if the Judgment begins first in the "house of God," in the church, then it will end in the world, outside the church circles. The parable of the "net"
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and the Revelation of John very briefly and concisely bring this truth still better to the surface.
Clearly, the net represents the gospel church into which are caught both hypocrite and saint. Accordingly, in the time of the firstfruit harvest (the Judgment "in the house of God") "at the end of the world" (Matt. 13:49), the angels sever the wicked from among the just, not the just from among the wicked. But in the second fruit harvest (the Judgment in the world) the separation is the reverse: the just are taken out from among the wicked, not the wicked from among the just, so says The Revelation: "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. 18:4. Plainly, the Judgment "in the house of God" is the harvest in which the hypocrites as "tares" are burned, but as bad "fish" they are cast out. In the Judgment in Babylon (in the world), though, not the bad, but the good are taken out and brought into the purified house of God where there is no sin and no sinner, and where there is no danger of the plagues. This same truth concerning the house of God again
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comes to us in these words:
Isa. 66:15, 16, 19, 20 -
Again we here see that those who escape the slaying of the Lord "in the house of God" (obviously the firstfruits, "the servants of God"), are sent to the nations who know not God, and from there they bring all their brethren (the second fruits) to the purified house of God where there is neither sin nor sinner, and where the plagues of Babylon therefore do not fall.
We have now positively seen that there are first and second fruits: one from the
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Who gathers the firstfruits if the firstfruits gather the second fruits? -
Here we are again told that there are two reapings, one by the Son of Man, and
another by an angel. The reaping by the Son of Man precedes the reaping by the angel.
"Son of Man," therefore, gathers the firstfruits, and the angel gathers the second
fruits. (The vines, not the fully ripe grapes, he casts in the wine press.) The
Son of Man Himself obviously reaps the firstfruits because His servants (figuratively
the angel of the church of the Laodiceans) are in no condition to do such a work,
for they themselves are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,"
and know it not (Rev. 3:14-
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Looking down to this very time, the Spirit of Prophecy in Isaiah's day said:
Isa. 63:5 -
Here you note that when the time came there was not even one among His servants "to uphold" the work of the harvest, and consequently the Lord Himself did the work without them.
For the second reaping, however, He uses His guileless "servants," the "firstfruits," the 144,000, as prefigured by the angel with the sharp sickle (Rev. 14:17, 18). And just as there are two fruits and two reapings from two different places, the church and the world, there are, as shown before, also two ways of harvesting: at first the bad are cast from among the good, and at last the good are called out from among the bad.
These are some of the signs and events that precede the Kingdom of glory, the second coming of Christ. Then, too, there are other signs, the first of which is seen from the parable of Matthew 25.
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went forth to meet the Bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not."
In this parable it is seen that the church is likened to ten virgins, five of
whom do not avail themselves of extra oil -
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of the living, find themselves in gross darkness. Yes, they find themselves without the light which the message of the Judgment of the living unfolds. Upon discovering their foolish neglect, they rush to obtain oil, light on the subject, but in the meantime the door has been shut (probationary time for the virgins, the church, has closed). When they call for admission they are politely told by the Lord Himself, "I know you not."
The sign of the coming Kingdom which this parable brings forth, is obviously the
special message (the extra oil) which announces the Judgment of the living, the message
which awakens the open-
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white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Another view of this tragic truth is given in-
In this parable are seen two periods of time. The first period is while the gospel has "bade many" (Luke 14:16) to the marriage supper, the time from the Apostles to the time of His last servant with the last message
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God sends to His people, the time all things are "ready." The next period is the time in which His last servant served (Luke 14:17). This servant is sent, we are told, at "supper time," at the end of the day, indicating that he bears the last message. Moreover, he is at first sent to those who have previously been "bidden"; that is, to those who were already in the gospel truth, in the church. At the outset he is to contact a class of people deeply engrossed with the cares of this life, and is to tell them that "all things are now ready," that if they wish they can now prepare and go to the wedding, there to enjoy the Bridegroom's banquet. This is the last call for the supper.
But what happens? -
Then it is that the Lord of that servant commands that he should go after those
who are on the highways and hedges -
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mission, the Master emphatically informs him that those who had been bidden and who excused themselves from coming in, are to be entirely excluded from the banquet; that none of them will be permitted even to taste of His supper; that by turning a deaf ear to the call these have closed their own probationary time, and that there is now nothing that can alter the situation. After this the servant's compelling cry goes out to the nations and the Master's house is filled, the wedding takes place, and the Bridegroom serves all that are in the house, but none others.
This same event is again given from another point of view. This time by the gospel prophet:
Isa. 52:1, 2 -
This particular prophecy discloses that while the church, Jerusalem and Zion, is asleep and naked with the unclean in her midst, and in captivity among the Gentiles (away from her own land), an awakening cry, a message, comes urging her to arise and put on her beautiful garments, for the wicked, declares the cry, will no more come into her, for they are to be utterly cut off.
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The signs of the Kingdom, you see, are even more important for one to observe than are the signs of Christ's coming. If one should miss the signs of the Kingdom, then the knowledge of the signs of Christ's coming would profit nothing, for all such will be frightened at His appearing and say "to the mountains and rocks. Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Rev. 6:16, 17.
Are the efforts to set up the pre-
Zech. 4:6 -
Not a blast or a boom, and not a bust either, but the plain, quiet Truth, Brothers, Sisters, is what saves you and brings the Kingdom into being.
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What is this pre-
Here are additional signs, signs which are displayed within and without the man
himself: the scars and defects which sin has written upon the bodies of God's people
are washed away; also the sin-
When does this take place? -
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and brings them into their "own land," say the Scriptures. Thus shall they dwell
in the land that God anciently gave to their fathers, and thus shall they be His
people and He their God. Here you see that no one can meet God face to face and
live with Him eternally without first having this body-
Very evidently none who remain ignorant of these signs of the coming Kingdom will have this experience and consequently shall never enter into it, never be fitted to live and reign with Christ.
Since these signs are so vital to salvation, they should no longer be overlooked, but should receive first consideration if we expect Christ's second coming to be for our good, not to our damnation. Indeed, for this obvious reason it is at this late hour this important message is brought to our attention.
This great Truth is again foretold in the words of Zechariah-
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Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
"In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
"In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart....
"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no
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more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: but he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth."
The revival and reformation herein presented -
When this thorough reformation takes place then the cleansing fountain shall be opened to the whole house of David. In that day the wicked shall be cut off and kept out of the house of David, and the false teachers, "prophets," shall feel ashamed of having ever taught their private interpretations of the Scriptures. Then shall men fully realize that though they could be taught by men to keep cattle, yet no man could teach them to prophesy; that this office is restricted to the Spirit of Prophecy, that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of
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Is this cleansing, heaven-
Micah 3:12; 4:1, 2 -
Here we are told that in the latter days, in our time, the ancient Kingdom that was destroyed will be reestablished and exalted above all other Kingdoms. Then people shall "flow into it" because "the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." The gospel work, therefore, is to be finished while its headquarters stand in the Holy Land. Thus the Kingdom is set up in probationary time, in time of salvation and judicial purification, for after it is set up other people from many nations flow into it.
This is what the Bible says, and certain it is that
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this is what is to be, for not even the Devil can defeat God's plans or cheat His people. Oh, yes, the Devil will try to explain away what these Scriptures say, but he can never make them say something other than what they do say. Besides, anyone taking the Devil's word in preference to God's, deserves the Devil's reward, and I am sure he will not be cheated out of it.
Since these signs of the times, in addition to others, are of far greater importance than the "Lisbon earthquake," "the dark day," and "the falling stars," we had better awake to the demand which they impose upon us, and which are bound to fit us for the second coming of Christ and for a home in His Kingdom if heeded. But if these signs cannot awaken us, then it is positive that they will cause us to slide down into the bottomless pit while dreaming of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing, supposedly on the way to the glory land. What a disappointment and what weeping and gnashing of teeth that would be!
Who is to drive the Gentiles out of the land? -
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hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, 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.... And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And He spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it."
Obviously one part of the Gentile nations shall come against the part that is in the Holy Land, and chase them out to make room for God's people. Then will the Lord's feet stand on Mount Olives and the Mount shall cleave in the midst thereof and make therein a very great valley. Thus shall the Lord open the way for His people to flee there to the "valley" where the Lord's feet stand, and all the saints with them (Zech. 14:4, 5).
This truth, you see, supersedes all truths, for without it your other truths will not profit you, will not take you into the Kingdom. It is the last mile of all the miles of our faith through life that takes us Home. We have gone this long; let us, therefore, keep on going right on to glory land, which is no longer beyond the horizon. The mile ahead is indeed the last mile that will take us Home.
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