SHEPHERD’S ROD VOLUME 2 TIMELY GREETINGS NO. 45
WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY?
WHO MAY TAKE HOLD OF IT? AND WHO MAY MISS IT?
Vol. 2 Timely Greetings Nos. 45, 46
THE ONLY PEACE OF MIND
Numbers 45, 46
Copyright, 1950 Reprint
All rights reserved
WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY? WHO MAY TAKE HOLD OF IT? AND WHO MAY MISS IT?
THE GIFT OF MIRACLES
ESPECIALLY HEALING AND SPEAKING IN TONGUES-
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 1
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Faith And Prayer
"Through faith in Christ, every deficiency of character may be supplied, every defilement cleansed, every fault corrected, every excellence developed.
'Ye are complete in Him.'
"Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together. In the prayer of faith there is a divine science; it is a science that every one who would make his life work a success must understand. Christ says, 'What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.' He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God's will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal.
"For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received.
"We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise,
and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised he is able to perform,
and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most."
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 2
WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY? WHO MAY TAKE HOLD OF IT? AND WHO MAY MISS IT?
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-
SABBATH, MARCH 25, 1950
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
True Christianity is a growth. It is plant-
"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good." Isa. 7:14, 15.
Surely all of us agree that this passage of Scripture is a forecast of the Emmanuel
of Matthew 1:23 -
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 3
honey" is not literal. Moreover, the fact that butter and honey possess absolutely no virtue to endue one with wisdom and will to choose the good and to refuse the evil, no, no more than do other articles of food, shows conclusively that this "butter and honey" are figurative of something special, just as the fly and the bee of Isaiah 7:18 are figurative of Egypt and Assyria. And of what else could it be but of spiritual food, the kind that builds up moral character, that makes one "refuse the evil, and choose the good?" And from what source other than the Scriptures could such food come? And what else, moreover, could the honey represent but the sweet Spirit of God that blesses everyone's sincere study of and simple faith in the Word?
Manifestly, therefore, this butter-
Accordingly, the truth is evident that Christianity is a spiritual plant, feeding
on the Word of God as unfolded by the sweet Spirit of Truth. Consequently if Christ
our Examplar thuswise "increased in wisdom..., and in favor with God and man" (Luke
2:52), then it is even more essential that we, His followers, live on the same Word,
on the same butter and honey, if we are to possess true, life-
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 4
next verses of Isaiah's prophecy:
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep; and it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land." Isa. 7:21, 22.
In these verses Inspiration directs our attention to three butter-
Since, therefore, only those who eat of the butter, those who thus learn to refuse the evil and to choose the good, are to be permitted to live in the holy land, all the more obvious it is that the butter is figurative of spiritual food. And since its source of supply is the two sheep and the young cow, it is of absolute necessity that we explore in the realm of this Bible symbolism to find what they are.
The two sheep, of a kind and not young, are manifestly symbolical of the Old and
New Testaments, the Word, which enables its recipients to "choose the good and to
refuse the evil." And the cow being young, and therefore of later origin than the
sheep, and its also being of larger size than they, it can accordingly only be figurative
of inspired writings of later origin and of greater volume than the Bible Itself.
The only such besides the Bible are those which bring to us "the testimony of Jesus:....for
the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy" (Rev. 19:10) -
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 5
It is also to be noted that this butter and this honey are produced in the Christian era, in the time when both sheep, both Testaments, are in existence, and also in the time when the Spirit of Prophecy is at work.
And what is the Spirit of prophecy? -
"And I fell at his feet," at the feet of the one who unfolded the prophecy to John, "to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev. 19:10.
Here it is seen that as the prophecies were unfolded to John by one of his brethren, thereby was revealed to him the Testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of Prophecy. Plainly, then, an inspired servant of God who bears a message to his brethren, bears the Testimony of Jesus to them. To illustrate: Suppose the Lord Jesus communicated a personal message to you by a messenger, would not His message be His testimony to you? And should God endow the messenger with the gift of His Spirit to unfold to you the prophecies which are in the Scriptures, would he not be coming to you with the Spirit of Prophecy?
Thus it is clear that the "Testimony of Jesus" and "the Spirit of Prophecy" are
synonymous terms for a timely message sent from God -
As we have already seen that the two sheep are symbolical of the Old and New Testaments.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 6
we now see also that the "young cow" is symbolical of the inspired interpretations of the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy in our day. It is now obvious that the product of these three creatures necessarily must become our spiritual diet if we expect to be "left" and permitted to live in the Holy Land, and that there is no use of our thinking to abide the judgment in some other way. And if there remain any doubt about this, then consider please what the Apostle Peter says on the subject:
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take
heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day
star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture
is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will
of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Pet. 1:19-
Did you mark what Inspiration says? It plainly declares that the Scriptures are
not privately interpreted -
"Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" Isa. 2:22.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 7
As revealed truth is unfolded only by the Spirit of Truth at a given time, then for one to reject such revelation, "meat in due season" (Matt. 24:45), is indeed to sin "against the Holy Ghost." Matt. 12:31.
Since it now is clear as sunlight that the ever-
The science of the process finds close analogy in that of the universally used
electric current. Electricity goes into action only when the live wire (the positive)
comes in contact with the ground wire (the negative). So it is that the church's
contact with God's chosen instrument (the ground wire) fused to the Spirit of God
(the live wire) -
In the logic of this illustration, it follows that Jesus Christ is the great dynamo, and the Father the power thereof. When, therefore, the whole church, not a member excluded, connects herself with Heaven's Power House, then the earth will be lightened with the glory of the angel (Rev. 18:1). (For this very reason the "laying on the hands" is the Biblical method of transmitting the Spirit of God from one person to another.) Consequently a church not having this vital connection with Heaven is a spiritually dead church, one which is bound to be "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Rev. 3:17. Hence likewise is every individual who is not in contact with the church. Only this power enables
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 8
the individual church member to choose the good and to refuse the evil, and to go through the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Accordingly, it is now seen anew that what is applicable to the church as a body, is applicable to the individual members of it.
The obvious conclusion from these scriptural facts is that the only people who
will be spared and permitted to live in the Holy Land during the "great and dreadful
day of the Lord" (Mal. 4:5) are those who make it their chief business and habit
to feast with delight (as the "honey" denotes) on the product of these three butter-
The calamity which is to befall those who refuse the butter and honey, and the deliverance which is to come to those who feed upon it, is depicted by the Revelator in another figure:
"And the earth helped the woman [church], and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood [the wicked] which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed [with those that are spared], which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ....for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy." Rev. 12:16, 17; 19:10.
This passage reveals that the remnant, those who are left after the earth swallows
the dragon's flood which is now threatening to do away with the woman (the ever-
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 9
the Spirit of Prophecy in its midst, and is the remnant in fact, and no longer merely in prospect or in theory.
Since this separation of the "tares" from among the "wheat" -
This is what the cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:14) is; this is what the antitypical
atonement is (The Great Controversy, pp. 399-
Under the particular care of a never-
So it is that while Christ Himself learned to refuse the evil and to choose the good by the use of this butter and honey, His followers who
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 10
are now making sure to be left living and to be taken to the Holy Land, will even
there, we are told, feast on the product of the three aforementioned butter-
Here it becomes pertinent to inquire how early in the course of time did the spirit of Christianity originate:
"God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds." Heb. 1:1, 2.
This scripture reveals that Christ is not only our Saviour but our Creator as
well; that He created not only our world but all other worlds too; and that He is
one with the Father. It is for this reason that "God (the Father) said (to the son),
let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." -
Clearly, then, since the personality now called Christ, has been with God's people even from the dawn of history, during Old as well as New Testament times, Christianity on earth identifies Itself with the beginning of creation.
So Christianity which began with creation, Christ points out, is to the world what the hen is to her little chicks: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 11
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Matt. 23:37, 38.
Christianity, moreover, is like a mother, "for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." Isa. 66:8.
Christianity, furthermore, is like a father, "for I know him," says the Lord, "that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him." Gen. 18:19.
Christianity, still further, is like a water well, for "whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him," said Christ, "shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:14.
Christianity is also like salt, for "Ye are the salt of the earth:" declared Christ, "but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Matt. 5:13.
Christianity, again, is likewise like unto a good home: "O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 12
the peace of thy children." Isa. 54:11-
Most essentially, Christianity is love: "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." Eph. 5:2.
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Matt. 22:39. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
In addition, Christianity is like the wind: no one except God and the "born again"
know either whence they come or where they go, for "the wind [Christianity] bloweth
where it listeth, and thou [the not-
Accordingly, it is impossible for the non-
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 13
heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts
than your thoughts." Isa. 55:6-
But Christianity is still more than all these. It is bread for the hungry, a home for the outcast, a wardrobe for the naked, a physician and an inn for the sick. In short, it is everything to everybody in the household of God. And here is the challenge to its adherents:
"Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?" Isa. 58:7.
This challenge, Brother, Sister, cannot be met unless all wisely help in whatsoever
capacity possible, remembering that no effort but that which demands a sacrifice,
is rewarded. Because she gave her all, her living, the poor widow's (Mark 12:41-
Abraham became the father of the faithful and a friend of God because he offered
on the sacrificial altar his best and his all -
In his day, Joseph became the world's saviour,
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 14
and second only to Pharaoh, because for chastity's sake he sacrificed his masterly
position for a prison cell (Gen. 39:7-
Moses became the greatest emancipator and general of all time because he sacrificed the greatest throne in his day for the freedom of his brethren (Heb. 11:24, 25; Ex. 3:10).
Job's possessions and family were doubled because he patiently bore his afflictions in honor of God (Job 42:10).
Samuel became prophet, priest, and judge because of his faithfulness to his Divinely-
Elijah was translated for choosing to be a fugitive for Reformation's sake (2 Kings 2:1, 11).
Elisha was given a double portion of the Spirit of God, for burning all the bridges
behind him in his stepping into the prophetic office to which he was called. Yes,
he made it impossible for himself to go back to farming. Moreover, he faithfully
ministered to Elijah night and day, and kept an eye on him until the "flying saucer"
alighted to pick him up, and until he disappeared from sight (2 Kings 2:9-
David was made a king for risking his own life to save the life of God's people (1 Sam. 19:5; 2 Sam. 2:4).
Solomon became the wisest and the richest of all kings, for choosing above all
else the gift of wisdom to judge God's people righteously (1 Kings 3:11-
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 15
The Apostles were rewarded in having their names engraved on the foundations of the Holy and Eternal City, because they counted not their lives dear for the gospel's sake (Rev. 21:14).
Luther became the father of Protestantism, for esteeming the Reformation of greater importance than his own life.
Henry Ford became the richest man in the world in his time, for trying to do for labor and for the poorer masses of the world more than did all his competitors.
Thus rises the great pyramid of historical fact that the men who have made the greatest success of life are those whose efforts have been centered, not in selfish interests, but in blessing others. No one has as yet been able to change this law. Why should we, then, play the fool by trying to change it? Whatsoever your aim in life may be, if you want success, then let your efforts be directed for the good of humanity rather than for the good of self. Christ's own admonition is: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6:33.
Brother, Sister, no longer be heathen or Gentile; be Christian through and through.
Be not like the self-
And now, turning back to Isaiah 58, we find that when Christianity fully awakes to this great necessity and does something about it, "then,"
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 16
promises the Lord, "shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health
shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory
of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer;
thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of
thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou
draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light
rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: and the Lord shall guide
thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou
shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."
Now the manifest truth is that if time should last, and if we are to stay in the pathway of true Christianity where the light shines, then all must do something about this badly neglected work of caring for the needy, for it cannot be accomplished from one central location, but must necessarily be localized to every state and country wherever the message of the hour takes "root downward and bears fruit upward." Isa. 37:31.
"Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was
an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger,
and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was
in prison, and ye came unto Me." Matt. 25:34-
Our duty, though, is to heed not only this
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 17
injunction, but all that Inspiration has set before us. All of it must become a part of our beings, as does the food we eat, if we are to enjoy all God promises, and to become heirs of the Kingdom eternal. This is the bright side of the picture.
But, sadly, there is also the dark side. Close up in the foreground is the patriarch
Lot. His selfishly choosing for himself all the fertile land of the plain, and leaving
the barren hills for his elderly uncle, Abraham, did not yield him the fruit he expected.
Even though he prospered for a while, yet when he was finally through with Sodom,
he went out the poorest of the poor (Gen. 19:15-
Pharaoh and his great men, endeavoring to keep the people of God in slavery forever, were engulfed by the Red sea, and buried alive in the midst of it (Ex. 14:22, 23, 38).
For cheating Naboth out of his vineyard and for taking his life, Ahab, king of Israel, and all his household, died at the edge of the sword (1 Kings 21).
Those who cast the three Hebrews into the fiery furnace, were themselves destroyed by its flames (Dan. 3:22), just as those selfish, greedy, cruel men who threw Daniel into the lion's den, were themselves finally devoured by the hungry beasts (Dan. 6:24).
Haman erected gallows upon which to swing Mordecai, but ended up swinging upon them himself (Esther 7:10).
For taking to himself the glory and credit for his great speech, Herod was eaten by worms (Acts 12:23).
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 18
For the price of a few paltry coins, Judas betrayed his Master unto death, and then, mocked to madness by that woeful wage, he turned upon himself the greedy and treacherous hand which took it, and therewith brought himself to an accursed and violent end and a pauper's grave, even before Christ was nailed on the cross (Matt. 27:5; Acts 1:18).
Indeed "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword." Rev. 13:10.
Thus the immutable law of retribution still exacts an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Oh! so verily true, whatsoever one sows, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6:7).
These outstanding examples merely touch the scroll of history. Thousands of others might be added, to say nothing of the countless unrecorded ones since the dawn of time.
Thus in this all-
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 19
this quack to that one? Why not go after life's blessings in God's way? Of course all God's ways are contrary to man's, but if they were not, how much better would they be than our own? "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord." Isa. 55:8.
Finally, matured Christianity is the image of God, in His people when they are
Which now will it be with us -
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 20
Christianity has for him. I plead with you to make it your chief business to obtain the promised blessings, that you may escape the destruction of the wicked, of the unbelieving and doubting, and be "left" forever to enjoy the promise:
"And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:... And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.... For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.... Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away." Isa. 4:3, 6; Isa. 51:3, 11.
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 45 21