VOLUME 1 TIMELY GREETINGS NO. 10
WHAT BRINGS SUCCESS TO REVIVAL AND REFORMATION?
OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
I shall read from The Mount of Blessing, beginning with the last paragraph on page 159.
M.B., pp. 159, 160 -
These lines tell us that those who in sincerity pray "Thy kingdom come," those who devote themselves to God's service, those whose lips are touched with the coals from the altar (who see themselves as sinners), and who then say, "Here am I; send me," are the only ones who are worthy to be sent into God's vineyard today.
And now what shall be our prayer? -
How ironic it is for one to pray the Lord's prayer while doing something other than working for its fulfillment! It is like a person saying, "Let me have your hand," while he at the same time brushes it away. Such a prayer is just one form of blasphemy. We should pray that we conform our will with the will of God, be faithful in His work, and be sincerely His alone.
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WHAT BRINGS SUCCESS TO
REVIVAL AND REFORMATION?
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-
SABBATH, OCTOBER 12, 1946
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
In Life Sketches, page 425, we read -
Here is a forecast of a great movement, a movement that is to carry on a work
of a successful revival in many places. Here it is also seen that the people will
respond to God's call, and that this envisioned work of revival is to be carried
by a Divinely organized movement, not by the Denomination though, and not by a man
here and a man there. The movement is God-
We have through the years seen numerous persons and groups of persons in different parts of the Adventist world who at one time or another did stage what they termed a "revival and reformation," but not one of them have ever been able to accomplish much, if anything. One by one they end up by quitting in disgust. Rather than being revived and reformed for the better, they after each such effort slid away from God and closer and closer to the level of the
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Clear it must be to every open-
The Bible contains the complete plan of salvation for all humanity. How do I
know this? -
Before we read what the Bible has to say on the subject, I think we should first
concretely define the words "revival" and "reformation." For "revival" the dictionary
gives: "To restore; to refresh; to renew; to re-
Christ Our Righteousness defines these terms of speech as follows: "'A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening
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of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation
signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices.
Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected
with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed
work, and in doing this work they must blend.'" -
What is the difference between "revival" and "reformation"? -
In the Bible there is but one example (type) of such a revival and reformation as the one here predicted. We find it recorded in the books of Haggai's and Zechariah's prophecies.
You remember that those ancient Jews were by Cyrus, king of Persia, released from
their captivity as soon as Babylon fell. He made a decree that they should go back
to their homeland to rebuild the desolations and the ruins. The king especially
decreed that the rebuilding of the temple and the re-
Timely Greetings, Vol. 1, No. 10 19
there was no hope of ever resuming again.
Then it was that the prophets Haggai and Zechariah were called to their prophetic office and commissioned to revive and to reorganize the builders for the deserted temple project. See Haggai 1:1 and Zechariah 1:1. The happy and surprising result was that within four short years the stately spiritual edifice was quickly finished, whereas all the previous and strenuous efforts of kings and people, covering a period of over thirty years, completely failed. (See Ezra 6:15)
Let us now realistically consider why the builders' efforts and the king's decrees
at first failed, and why at last they succeeded: Before Haggai and Zechariah were
called to the prophetic office, many of the Jews returned from Babylon to Jerusalem,
although the majority remained in Babylon; that is, the builders voluntarily went
to build only because the captivity had ended, and because the king had decreed that
the temple of God should be built. But both the builders' and the king's efforts
were a complete failure -
For example, Moses understood from childhood up that his lot it was to deliver the children of Israel from Pharaoh's brickyards. And when he was fully grown up and thoroughly trained in the courts of Pharaoh, and saw himself strong and capable, he
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quickly undertook to deliver the enslaved Hebrew host: killed one Egyptian, got into an argument with a Hebrew, then deserted everything, and without hope of ever coming back he fled the country in complete defeat. Forty years later, after God endowed him with the Spirit of Prophecy, he returned and triumphantly led the Hebrew captives out of Egypt!
These special incidences make crystal clear that no matter how hard men may try to bring about revival and reformation among God's people, their efforts are doomed to failure even before they start if God does not Himself through His prophets take charge of the work.
Now, as to what took place in the way of reformation after the ancient house of God had been built, let us read
Let us now connect Ezra's record with that of Nehemiah's.
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their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; they clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His judgments and His statutes; and that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons: and if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt. Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God."
Here you see a record of complete revival and reformation such as had never been.
The things that were revived are these: (1) The house of God was rebuilt and the
sacred services re-
That the revival and reformation of that day is a type of revival and reformation to take place in our day, is principally noted from the fact that the prophecies
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of both Haggai and Zechariah intermingle dual events, one to take place in their day, and another to take place in our day. Says the Lord:
Here we are told that in the day God destroys the strength of the heathen kingdoms, which event is yet future, He makes ancient Zerubbabel "a signet" of a Zerubbabel in the day the strength of the kingdoms is destroyed. Again we read:
Zech. 2:5, 11, 13 -
The wall which the Jews built around Jerusalem in Zechariah's day was of stone, but the one here predicted is to be "of fire," far superior, rendering absolute security to the inhabitants that are within. Moreover, no other people, none besides the Jews, were permitted to join the builders of Jerusalem in
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his day, but in our day many nations are to join. Furthermore, at the fulfillment
of these prophecies the Lord requests that all flesh reverently and silently note
that He is raised up out of His holy habitation -
Zech. 2:8 -
In Zechariah's day the Lord did not send anyone to the nations after anything, but in our day, He is to send antitypical Zechariah (interpreter of Zechariah's prophecies) to the nations that are ruling and exploiting His people, and those nations are to become a spoil and shall know that the Lord has sent him.
Zech. 2:12 -
When the nations join the Lord in the Holy Land, then it is that He shall inherit Judah and again choose Jerusalem. And, most significant of all, He declares that He is already raised up out of His holy habitation to accomplish all these things.
Zech. 8:7, 20, 21 -
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The prophet's attention was directed to a time when the Lord is to gather His people from both the east and the west; to a time when one city's inhabitants will invite another's to go to the Holy Land. This same prophecy appears in both Isaiah's chapter two, and Micah's chapter four.
Zech. 8:22, 23 -
Obviously, the ten men are a representative figure of universality as are the ten virgins of Matthew 25. If so, then the church as a body will speak all the languages of the nations. Their taking hold of the one that is a Jew, and saying, "We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you," definitely points out that someone, a descendant of the Christian Jews, will proclaim God's ingathering message in the time of the end, and that he will be recognized as such.
Let us now turn to-
Zech. 9:9 -
In these prophecies is brought to view the first advent of Christ.
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Zech. 9:10 -
That is, God was to bring the ancient kingdoms, Ephraim and Jerusalem (Israel and Judah) to an end, and then turn to the Gentiles and speak salvation to them. Thus shall His dominion be over all the earth.
Zech. 12:3, 8, 9 -
That is, after disintegrating the ancient kingdoms, Israel and Judah, He is again
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Since Zechariah's prophecy met only partial fulfillment in the days the Jews returned from Babylon to Jerusalem, and since his writings speak interchangeably of another such movement, the which is to be greater than the former, there is, therefore, no doubt but that the latter is the antitype of the former. Hence, the revival and reformation of Zechariah's time is to repeat in our time. The builders' failure to continue with the work and to bring revival and reformation before Haggai and Zechariah were called to the prophetic office, and their success after God through the prophets took over, perfectly demonstrates that without the living Spirit of Prophecy in the midst no revival and reformation efforts can succeed, and that is why they all heretofore have failed. The type also perfectly demonstrates that since God has now risen from His holy habitation, and has taken the reins in His Own hands, revival and reformation is sure to triumph. It is, therefore, useless to agitate revivals and reformations while one knows not what and how actually to revive or to reform. It is commendable to hold up the standard but it certainly is not in God's order for one to "work up" something and to call it revival and reformation.
In conclusion, let us summarize the two main points which our study of the afternoon
has definitely made clear to us: (1) That a work and movement similar to those of
Zechariah's day is successfully to bring revival and reformation among God's people
of today, that those who expect the promised blessings must whole-
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