OF THE SHEPHERDS ROD
TEACHINGS OF THE SHEPHERD'S ROD- TABLE OF CONTENTS
Headquarters be in Palestine?
Perfect Peace and Safety?
Plan for His People
THREE: The Harvest
Shepherd's Rod Teaching
of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.
FOUR: Ezekiel 9
There be Two Comings of Christ?
Against Time Setting.
Against Divisive Speculations
the Message of the Hour
They Shall Never Die
144,000 to Minister on Earth?
Gather the Great Multitude in?
be Second Fruits?
and Its First Fruits
and Its First Fruits
Enoch and the
Beast and the Papacy
Wound of the leopardlike Beast
and the Two Rains
Malachi 3: 1
- SECTION ONE INTRODUCTION
This Is one of several
studies on the Shepherd's Rod (also known as the Davidian Seventh-day
Adventist Church, and will provide you with an extensive Refutation of the
primary errors in the teachings of the Rod.
Other studies in this series
include: History of the Shepherd's Rod [WD41] The Latest Prophet of the
Rod: Marc Breault (pG-41] Because it was already so thorough in its
coverage, the following study is a reprint of a doctrinal analysis prepared
several years ago by the General Conference. In addition, certain new
doctrines have developed since then, primary among them being Lois Roden's
teaching that the Holy Spirit is a woman, and Marc Breault's teaching that
the only mediator in the heavenly Sanctuary has been, and continues to be,
this woman Holy Spirit. For further information on Lois Roden, and Marc
Breault, see WD41 and PG.-41, mentioned above. In the following study all
italics have been added to quotations, unless otherwise noted.
TWO THE KINGDOM
The Shepherd's Rod literature
teaches that the kingdom of David will be established for God's people here
upon earth, particularly in Palestine, before the close of probation and
the coming of Christ in glory. Their leader, V.T. Houteff, has said:
"The eleventh-hour message has been timed and designed to reveal the
Davidian Kingdom rising anew before the appearing of Christ in the clouds.
"-The Answerer, No. 2 (1944), p.77.
He said also: "This
prophesied era of absolute righteousness, peace, and knowledge of God On
the kingdom) under the reign of the 'rod' (David) and of the 'Branch'
(Christ), must begin before the close of probation. "-"Behold, I
Make All Things New. (1942), p 45.
It is obvious that the
Shepherd's Rod theory does not envision Christ, the great Son of David, as
the visible ruler governing that kind of Davidic kingdom, since it is
supposed to be set up here on earth before He shall come in glory to reign
as King of kings and Lord of lords. The monarch of such a regime would not
be the King David who ruled over ancient Israel, for he is dead and buried
(Acts 2:29-34) and there is no assurance that he will be raised from his
grave prior to the general resurrection of the righteous dead at the second
advent of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). Hence Mr. Houteff has
instructed his followers that God promised "an antitypical David"
to rule over them in that envisioned Davidic kingdom. (See V.T. Houteff,
"Behold, I Make All Things New" , p 43; Mount Sion at
"the Eleventh Hour" , p.13).
Moreover, the adherents of the Shepherd's Rod have
been taught by their leader that the antitypical David who would rule over
them should be another person than our Lord Jesus Christ. In interpreting certain Old
Testament prophecies to suit his theory, Mr. Houteff illustrates it by
means Of a drawing of a tree, concerning which he says:
"In this illustration
there are three persons brought to view: Jesse (the father of David), the
rod (David), and the Branch (Christ). The relationship shows that David
(the rod) is not Christ (the Branch) . . "-Mount Sion at "the
Eleventh Hour" (1941), p45.
A similar distinction of
persons is made on page forty-six of the same tract.
It is by this process of
theorizing that Mr. Houteff has excluded the possibility of Christ's being
the visible ruler of the expected Davidic kingdom supposed to be set up on
earth before He comes the second time. Hence Mr. Houteff planned for his
followers a Davidic kingdom to be governed under the ensign of a
"David the visible king and Christ the invisible King of kings."
Ibid., p 47. That is, his plan is
that Christ, as "the invisible King Of kings," should rule over
the proposed Davidic kingdom by means of an antitypical underling described
as "David the visible king."
Therefore, it is no surprise
that Mr. Houteff, in calling for a "reorganization" (Ibid., p
47-50), has designed for his followers a regime theocratic in nature that
is, a sort of combination of church and kingdom. "Thus His church, or
kingdom," says Mr. Houteff, "is again reflected without 'spot or
wrinkle, or any such thing' (Ephesians 5:27), a theocracy of peace, safety,
and invincibility, under the rule of one shepherd and a king-David, His
servant." Mount Sion at "the Eleventh Hour" , p 47.
The True Antitypical David
The testimony of the Bible
concerning the everlasting kingdom promised to David by the Lord is very
clear (2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 132:11). The promise of a future king to sit on
David's throne was to meet its fulfillment in Christ, the mighty "Son
of David" (Matthew 1:1; 22:42), the Root and Offspring of that ancient
Hebrew monarch (Isaiah 7:1314; 9:6-7; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:4-6; Luke 1 :32;
2:4,11; John 7:42; Revelation 22:16).
One of the Old Testament
prophecies used by Mr. Houteff to bolster his theory of the Davidic kingdom
is Ezekiel 34:23 (Ibid., p.19,47). On
the other hand, Ellen G. White speaks specifically of Christ, and not
another person, as the antitypical David referred to in Ezekiel's prophecy:
"The Holy Spirit through Ezekiel had declared: 'I will set up
one Shepherd over them and He shall feed them.' 'I will seek that which was
lost and bring again that which was driven away. . and will strengthen that
which was sick.' 'I will make with them a covenant of peace.' 'And they
shall no more be a prey to the heathen. . but they shall dwell safely and
none shall make them afraid.' Ezekiel 34:23,16,25,28. Christ applied
these prophecies to Himself, and He showed the contrast between His own
character and that of the leaders in Israel."-The Desire of Ages, p 477.
When Shall the True Davidic Kingdom Be
Another prophecy used by Mr.
Houteff to support his theory is that Of Hosea 3:4-5. But note in the
following statement that Mrs. White declares that Hosea's prophecy will be fulfilled at the close of earth's history,
when Christ shall appear as King of kings:
"The prophecies of
judgment delivered by Amos and Hosea were accompanied by predictions of
future glory. To the ten tribes,
long rebellious and impenitent, was given no promise of complete
restoration to their former power in Palestine. Until the end of time, they
were to be 'wanderers among the nations.' But through Hosea was given a
prophecy that set before them the privilege of having a part in the final
restoration that is to be made to the people of God at the close of earth's
history, when Christ shall appear as King of kings and Lord of lords.
'Many days,' the prophet declared, the ten tribes were to abide 'without a
king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image,
and without an ephod, and without teraphim.' 'Afterward: the prophet
continued, 'shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their
God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the
latter days' (Hosea 3:4-5).-Prophets and Kings, p.298.
Christ made it very clear
that He did not propose to establish a kingdom in this present world. When
He was accused by His enemies of conspiring to do such a thing, He said
emphatically to Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world: if my
kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not
be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John
In reference to Zedekiah, the
last king of Judah to sit upon David's throne, Mrs. White writes: "To
the 'profane wicked prince' had come the day of final reckoning. 'Remove
the diadem,' the Lord decreed, 'and take off the crown.' Not until Christ
Himself should set up His kingdom, was Judah again to be permitted to have
a king. 'I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it,' was the divine edict
concerning the throne of the house of David; 'and it shall be no more,
until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him' (Ezekiel 21:25-27):'Prophets
and Kings, p.451. (See also Education, p.179).
Mrs. White says of Christ:
"Not until His work as a mediator shall be ended will God 'give unto
Him the throne of His father David,' a kingdom of which 'there shall be no
end' (Luke 1 :32-33.)"Great Controversy, p.416.
That statement makes it clear
that the establishment of the throne of David as the kingdom of Christ will
not take place until after probation has closed-not until His work as
mediator has ended.
Concerning Christ's second coming
we are told: "It is then that the peaceful and long-desired kingdom of
the Messiah shall be established under the whole heaven. "-Great
Not until the personal advent
of Christ can His people receive the kingdom. The Saviour said: 'When the
Son of man shall come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then
shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered
all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd
divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right
hand but the goats on the left. 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' (Matthew 25:31-34). We have seen by
the scriptures just given that when the Son of man comes, the dead are
raised incorruptible, and the living changed. By this great change they are
prepared to receive the kingdom; for Paul says: 'Flesh and blood cannot
inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption'
(1 Corinthians 15:50). Man in his present state is mortal, corruptible; but
the kingdom of God will be incorruptible, enduring forever. Therefore man
in his present state cannot enter into the kingdom of God. But when Jesus
comes, He confers immortality upon His people; and then He calls them to
inherit the kingdom of which they have hitherto been only heirs."
Great Controversy, p.322-323.
That makes it very plain that
Christ will not establish His kingdom and sit upon its throne until His
second coming in glory.
Will Headquarters Be in Modern Palestine?
The Shepherd's Rod leader has
declared that the headquarters of the Davidic kingdom which he advocates is
to be set up in Palestine. He has announced that "the Kingdom in its
beginning is to be set up in the Promised Land. "-The Answerer, No. 2
Hence he teaches "that
the Promised Land will be reinhabited by the Lord's own converted
people."-The Answerer, No.2 (1944), p.75.
In an address dated August
10, 1946, he announced: "Right now the Lord is advertising for at
least 144,000 lifesavers, with headquarters at famous Mt. Zion-a greater
post than was held by Joseph. "-Timely Greetings, Volume 1, Number 2,
On January 25, 1947, he
declared: "Virtually whole nations shall join 'the mountain of the
Lord' while the law goes 'forth of Zion and the Work of the Lord from
Jerusalem,' the future headquarters of the gospel."-Timely Greetings,
Volume 1, Number 25, p.5.
And on November 27, 1948, Mr.
Houteff said of his followers: "They are to dwell, not in some other
land, says the Lord, but in their own land, in the land He had anciently
given to their fathers. They are to dwell in Palestine.
"Now you plainly see
that the unconverted Jews who are endeavoring to take the land of Palestine
are not the people of whom these passages of Scripture speak. Now you see
that Arab, Jew, or Gentile, all will eventually have to move away and give
room to God's clean and purified people."-Timely Greetings, Volume 2,
Number 42, p.36. He had alleged that there "are to be found five
groups in the kingdom. These five groups are: (1) the 144,000 Israelites,
the first fruits of the living, whose nobles shall be of themselves,' and
whose 'governor shall proceed from the midst of them' (Jeremiah 30:21);
they shall return to Jerusalem, and stand on Mount Sion with the Lamb; (2)
those whom John saw, after the sealing of the 144,000, gathered from 'all
nations, and kind reds, and peoples, and tongues,' during the great
tribulation,' the time of trouble such as never was'-the great multitude
who go to Jerusalem before the resurrection; (3) those who arise to
everlasting life in the resurrection of Daniel 12:2; (4) those Israelites
who shall come forth in the resurrection of EzekieI37:1-14; (5) all who
come forth in the resurrection of Revelation 2O:6-collectively, those are
all the Israelites and Gentiles who shall return to Jerusalem, possess the
promised land, and then the whole earth. "-"Behold I Make All Things
New" (1942), p.65-66.
The Shepherd's Rod teaching
that the headquarters of the gospel work will be established in Jerusalem,
in modern Palestine, and that there will be a mass migration of God's
people from all parts of the earth to that place for translation to heaven
when Christ comes, is a product of fancy that finds no support in God's
Word or in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. In fact, Mrs. White
wrote the following message of warning to our people in the early days of
"Then I was pointed to
some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to
Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord
comes. Such a view is calculated to take the mind and interest from the
present work of the Lord, under the message of the third angel; for those
who think that they are yet to go to Jerusalem will have their minds there,
and their means will be withheld from the cause of present truth, to get
themselves and others there. I saw that such a mission would accomplish no
real good, that it would take a long while to make a very few of the Jews
believe even in the first advent of Christ, much more to believe in His
second advent."-Early Writings, p.75.
That testimony, given in the
latter part of 1850, was not a condemnation of the Zionist Movement of Jews
organized in 1897 at Basel, Switzerland, to establish a Jewish state in
Palestine. Mrs. White warned against fanatics who were bent on going to
Jerusalem to launch from that city evangelistic work for the people who had
not received the knowledge of the truth. An editorial in our general church
paper, in 1851, uttered this warning:
"We wish here to state
that we as a people have no confidence in the strange notions, that some
have run into, that the saints have yet to go to Old Jerusalem, etc, etc.
Brethren, beware of such heresies."-The Review and Herald, October 7,
Although the testimony that
Mrs. White gave in 1850 did not specifically refer to the Shepherd's Rod
teachings, yet she emphatically condemned the idea in such a manner that it
should not receive endorsement thereafter.
The Shepherd's Rod project of
establishing the kingdom of David in Palestine, with the headquarters of
the gospel work set up there, and with the 144,000 living there and
directing the evangelistic activities of God's people for the conversion of
souls in all lands before the close of probation, is contrary to the
warning and counsel given us through the testimony by Ellen White.
Dwell in Perfect Peace and Absolute Safety?
Furthermore, the Shepherd's Rod teaching
that the 144,000 will go to Jerusalem first, and will be followed later by
the rest of the living saints, and there find a place of perfect peace and
absolute safety before the close of probation and the second advent of
Christ in glory, finds no support in the Bible and in the writings of the
Spirit of Prophecy. For example, the founder of the Shepherd's Rod says of
the proposed establishment of the kingdom of David in Palestine before the
close of probation: "This soon-coming kingdom being not like an
earthly kingdom, but like a heavenly one, its confines shall be a place of
perfect peace and absolute safety. "-"Behold, I Make All Things
New" (1942), p.44.
He says also that "in
the land where the kingdom stands; there sin exists not.
"-"Behold I Make All Things New", p 47.
On the other hand, it should
be remarked that in so far as the teachings of the Bible are concerned,
there is no indication that there will be any land in this present world
where we can find perfect peace and absolute safety, where sin will not
exist, prior to the close of probation and the second advent of Christ in
glory. Such conditions will obtain for God's people alter our Saviour has
removed them from this sinful world when He comes to receive them unto
"All that will live
godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution"(2 Timothy 3:12).
Christ said, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you
Nowhere in the Scriptures or
in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy do we read that the 144,000 will
be exempt from the persecution foretold in the following prophecy:
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman and went to make war with the
remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the
testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12: 17).
Mrs. White says: "As
America, the land of religious liberty, shall unite with the papacy in
forcing the conscience and compelling men to honor the false sabbath, the
people of every country on the globe will be led to follow her
example."-6 Testimonies, p.18.
"Foreign nations will
follow the example of the United States. Though she leads out, yet the same
crisis will come upon our people in all parts of the world. "-6
Since all of Palestine is a
part of the world, it is clear from the statements given above by Mrs.
White, that in that country the Lord's people will not find perfect peace
and absolute safety during the final crisis.
God's Plan for His People
"That which God purposed
to do for the world through Israel, the chosen nation, He will finally
accomplish through His church on earth today. He has 'let out His vineyard
unto other husbandmen: even to ..His covenant-keeping people, who
faithfully 'render Him the fruits in their seasons.' Never has the Lord
been without true representatives on this earth who have made His interests
their own. These witnesses for God are numbered among spiritual Israel, and
to them will be fulfilled all the covenant promises made by Jehovah to His
ancient people."-Prophets and Kings, p.713-714.
"While all the world is
plunged in darkness, there will be light in every dwelling of the saints.
They will catch the first light of His second appearing. The unsullied
light will shine from His splendor, and Christ the Redeemer will be admired
by all who have served Him. While the wicked flee, Christ's followers will
rejoice in His presence.
"Then it is that the
redeemed from among men will receive their promised inheritance. Thus God's
purpose for Israel will meet with literal fulfillment. That which God
purposes, man is powerless to disannul. Even amid the working of evil,
God's purposes have been moving steadily forward to their accomplishment.
It was thus with the house of Israel throughout the history of the divided
monarchy; it is thus with spiritual Israel today.
"The seer of Patmos,
looking down through the ages to the time of this restoration of Israel in
the earth made new, testified: 'I beheld, and 10, a great multitude, which
no man could number, of all nations, and kind reds, and people, and
tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white
robes and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice saying,
Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb'
(Revelation 7:9,10).-Prophets and Kings, p.720-721.
Brethren and sisters, let us
ever remember that our destination is that "Jerusalem which is
above" (Galatians 4:26). God's plan for His people is that they
"come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the
heavenly Jerusalem" (Hebrews 12:22). Let us stay in that company of
faithful ones who "desire a better country, that is, an heavenly:
wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared
them a city" (Hebrews 11 :16). This is the company to which Abraham,
that mighty man of faith, belonged, "for he looked for a city which
hath foundation, whose builder and maker is God" (verse 10). That is
the New Jerusalem, the Holy City that John saw coming down out of heaven to
become the capital of the kingdom of Christ, the Root and Offspring of
David, in the earth made new. (See Revelation 21:2,10; 22:15,16). There,
and there alone, we shall find a city of perfect peace and absolute safety,
where sin does not exist to annoy and disturb our souls.
"Let us be encouraged by
the thought that the Lord is soon to come. Let this hope gladden our
hearts. 'Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not
tarry.' Hebrews 10:37. Blessed are those servants who, when their lord
comes, shall be found watching.
"We are homeward bound.
He who loved us so much as to die for us, hath builded for us a city. The
New Jerusalem is our place of rest. There will be no sadness in the city of
God. No wail of sorrow, no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections,
will evermore be heard. Soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for
the wedding garment. Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King.
Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth
have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer's
glory in the kingdom of God.
"It will not be long
till we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. And in
His presence, all the trials and sufferings of this life will be as
nothingness. 'Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great
recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have
done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while,
and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. ' Verse 35-37. Look
up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide
you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city of God
into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future of glory that is for the
redeemed. "-9 Testimonies, p.287-288.
Speaking particularly of the
harrowing experience which the 144,000 shall have endured prior to their
translation to heaven, Mrs. White says of them: "These, having been
translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as 'the first
fruits unto God and to the lamb.' Revelation 15:2-3; 14:15. 'These are they
which came out of great tribulation'; they have passed through the time of
trouble such as never was since there was a nation. . they have stood
without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God's judgments. .
They have seen the earth wasted with famine and pestilence, the sun having
power to scorch men with great heat, and they themselves have endured
suffering, hunger, and thirst. "The Great Controversy, p.649.
1. The Shepherd's Rod theory
that the kingdom of David will be established here on earth, particularly
Palestine, for God's people before the close of probation and the coming of
Christ in glory is contrary to the teachings of the Bible and of the
writings of the Spirit of Prophecy.
2. The truth is that the
promised kingdom of David will not be set up until after the close of
probation and the coming of Christ in glory.
3. The Shepherd's Rod view
that the antitypical King David is to be another person than our Lord Jesus
Christ is contrary to the teachings of the Bible and of the writings of the
Spirit of Prophecy .
4. The truth is that Christ,
the mighty "son of David," is the person to whom the everlasting
Davidic throne and kingdom have been assured.
- SECTION THREE
Throughout this study it must
be remembered that the term "harvest" is used in the Scriptures
in more than one sense in its application to the carrying out of the plan
of salvation. Here are two principal uses of the word as illustrated by
texts of Scripture:
1. The word
"harvest" is used to represent the gathering of souls into the
church of God by the preaching of he gospel throughout the world before the
close of probation. In this case, the reapers are the faithful men and
women who teach the gospel to others.
Concerning this harvest,
Christ said: "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are
few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth
laborers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38).
Again: "Say not ye,
There are yet four months and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you,
Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to
harvest" (John 4:35).
2. The term
"harvest" is used also to represent the gathering of the
righteous and the wicked to their respective fates by angels at the second
coming of Christ, to judge every man according as his work shall be, after the
close of probation.
In the parable of the wheat
and the tares the householder said: "Let both grow together until the
harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather
together first the tares and bind them into bundles to burn them: but
gather the wheat into my barn" (Matthew 13:30).
In explaining the parable,
Christ declared: "The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers
are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire;
so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth
his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire:
there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous
shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (verses 39-43).
John says, And I looked, and
behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man,
having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And
another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that
sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap: for the time is come for
thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the
cloud thrust his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
"Another angel came out
of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And
another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried
with a loud cry to Him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy
sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her
grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth
and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of
the wrath of God" (Revelation 14:14-19).
These two important senses in
which the term "harvest" is used in the Scriptures need to be
kept clearly in mind by those who would not be led off into paths of error.
The Shepherd's Rod Teaching
The Shepherd's Rod theory
confuses the whole question of the harvest by taking texts that refer to
the harvest in which the good and the bad are gathered unto their
respective fates by holy angels after the close of probation, and applying
them to that harvest in which souls are gathered into the church by gospel
laborers before the close of probation.
To bolster the theory that a
theocratic kingdom of David will be set up for God's people on
earth-specifically in Palestine-before the close of probation, the leader
of the Shepherd's Rod group has divided the harvest of the parable of the
wheat and the tares into two sections, with two comings of Christ. (See
V.T. Houteff, The Judgment and the Harvest (1942), p.52, 68.)
In presenting his view of
that harvest, Mr. Houteff says: "Note that the separation takes place
just at the beginning of harvest; also that the tares are gathered in
first. The separation marks the beginning of harvest. The harvest is the
loud cry of the third angel's message."-The Shepherd's Rod, Volume 1,
He says also: "Note that
in the first section of the separation, the one in the church, the wicked
are taken away from the just, whereas in the second, the one in Babylon,
the just are called from among the wicked."-The Judgment and the
Harvest (1942), p.68.
Again: "Since these
escaped ones (the first fruits, the 144,000 servants of God-Revelation 7:3)
'shall bring all your brethren' (the second fruits, the great
multitude-Revelation 7:9) 'for an offering . . out of all nations' (Isaiah
66:20, first part), this great ingathering necessarily, therefore, is the
closing work of the gospel-the second section of the harvest." -The
Judgment and the Harvest (1942), p.70.
According to the chart
presented in The Shepherd's Rod (Volume 1, edition of 1930, p. 224), the
harvest referred to in the parable of the wheat and the tares was to begin
at the close of the year 1930, or the beginning of 1931, with the effort of
V.T. Houteff to call out the 144,000 for the special work that he outlined
for them to do in the harvest of the wheat. But the harvest of the tares
would be, in his opinion, the slaughter of the Seventh-day Adventists who
reject his message, for thus he supposed that the slaughter predicted in
Ezekiel 9 would be fulfilled. (See also his tract The Answerer, No.1,
Mr. Houteff, in his tract The
Judgment and the Harvest, (1942), p.42-43, 49,67, alleges that the parable
of the fish net cast into the sea, as recorded in Matthew 13:47-50, refers
to the same thing. Hence the Shepherd's Rod theory concerning the parable
of the wheat and the tares is that "the harvesting itself necessarily
precedes the close of probation."-The Judgment and the Harvest (1942),
p.66. We inquire, is that doctrine sound?
Teaching of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy
The Shepherd's Rod teaching
does not harmonize with that of the Bible and the writings of Ellen G.
White concerning the parable of the wheat and the tares.
In His interpretation of the
parable of the wheat and the tares, Christ said: "The harvest is the
end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares
are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this
world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather
out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and
shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing
of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of
their Father" (Matthew 13:39-43).
And in His interpretation of
the parable of the fish net, Christ said: "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" (verses 49-50).
Note that Christ, in
explaining the parables, emphasizes two things: (1) that the harvest in
which the separation of the bad from the good is to take place will occur
at the end of the world; and (2) that the reapers, the agents by which He
will effect that harvest or separation, will be His angels.
Ellen G. White says:
"The great final separation of the righteous and the wicked He
(Christ) had pictured in the parables of the wheat and tares and the
fishing net."-The Desire of Ages, p.333.
This statement by Mrs. White
makes it plain that in the parable of the wheat and the tares, and in that
of the fish net, Christ did not refer to the investigative judgment, which
takes place before the close of probation, and which decides who among
God's professed people shall be accepted or rejected as candidates for
entrance into the kingdom of glory. But He was speaking of the "great
final separation" of the righteous and the wicked, which will take
place after the close of probation. Hence Mrs. White comments:
"When the mission of the
gospel is completed, the judgment will accomplish the work of separation. .
Both the parable of the tares and that of the net plainly teach that there
is no time when all the wicked will turn to God. The wheat and the tares
grow together until the harvest. The good and the bad fish are together
drawn ashore for a final separation.
"Again, these parables
teach that there is to be no probation after the judgment. When the work of
the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation between
the good and the evil, and the destiny of each class is forever
fixed."-Christ's Object Lessons, p.122-123.
Since the separation between
the good and the evil will take place when the gospel work is completed,
that separation must follow, and not precede, the close of probation. So
Mrs. White consistently says:
"The tares and the wheat
are to grow together until the harvest; and the harvest is the end of
probationary time. "Christ's Object Lessons, p.72.
"The wheat and tares
grow together until the harvest, the end of the world. "-Christ's
Object Lessons, p.75. "Tiff the end of time there will be tares among
the wheat."-The Ministry of Healing, p.493. (Italics added).
"Although there are
evils existing in the church, and will be until the end of the world, the
church in these last days is to be the light of the world that is polluted
and demoralized by sin." Testimonies to Ministers, p.49. (Italics 5
"He (Christ) has said
that false brethren will be found in the church till the close of time.
-Christ's Object Lessons, p.73.
"He (Christ) expressly
states that the wheat and tares shall grow together till the harvest, which
is the end of the world. Then the tares are to be gathered out of the
field; but they are not to be transformed by a mighty miracle into
wheat."-2 Spirit of Prophecy, p.250.
Such is Mrs. White's teaching
in reference to "the teaching of Christ and His apostles, who declared
that the wheat and the tares are to grow together until the harvest, the
end of the world. "- The Great Controversy, p.321. And in comment on
the parable of the fish net, Mrs. White writes: "Here again the
separation of the wicked form the righteous at the end of the world is
impressed upon the minds of His hearers, in words that cannot be mistaken."-2
Spirit of Prophecy, p.253.
"When the work of the
investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided
for life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of
the Lord in the clouds of heaven. Christ in the Revelation, looking forward
to that time, declares: 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he
which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him
be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold,
I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as
his work shall be.' Revelation 22:11-12."-The Great Controversy,
1. The Shepherd's Rod theory
that the separation between the good and the bad, as foretold in the
parable of the wheat and tares and in that of the fish net, will take place
before the work of the gospel is completed, and before the close of
probation for mankind in general, is contrary to the teachings of the Bible
and the Spirit of Prophecy.
2. The truth of the matter is
as stated by Ellen G. White: "When the mission of the gospel is
completed, the judgment will accomplish the work of separation . . When the
work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation
between the good and the evil, and the destiny of each class is forever
fixed." -Christ's Object Lessons, p.122-123.
"When Christ entered the
most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of
the atonement, He committed to His servants the last message of mercy to be
given to the world. Such is the warning of the third angel of Revelation
14. Immediately following its proclamation, the Son of Man is seen by the
prophet coming in glory to reap the harvest of the earth."-4 Spirit of
- SECTION FOUR EZEKIEL 9
The slaughter referred to in
Ezekiel 9 is one of the principle subjects of the Shepherd's Rod teachings.
We set forth here a few of the salient features of that teaching in order to
compare them with counsels given us by the Spirit of Prophecy.
The Shepherd's Rod leader
holds that the slaughter referred to in Ezekiel 9 is a slaughter of
Seventh-day Adventists who reject the Shepherd's Rod message, and that it
is to take place before the loud cry and the close of probation. Excerpts
from his literature on this subject are as follows:
"Had the church as a
body, or at least the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination
accepted the message of reform as presented to them in 'The Shepherd's Rod,
Volume 1, there would be no necessity for that class to fall by the figure
of the five men with the slaughter weapons. It is the reception or
rejection of the message that will fix the destiny of the two classes as
described in the following testimony: (quotes Early Writings,
p.270)."-The Shepherd's Rod, Volume 2, (1932), p.218.
In comment on Revelation
3:14-16, he says: "Note that the existence of the present name
'Seventh-day Adventist' is conditional, otherwise the name will be spewed
out of His mouth."-The Shepherd's Rod, Volume 1 (1930), p.101.
Hence, Mr. Houteff reasons:
"Thus, the church is reorganized under a new name. The old name, being
polluted, could no longer be retained. There is no one to go by the old
name, for the ones who were not worthy of having the new name have perished
under the figure of the five men with the slaughter weapons of Ezekiel 9.
The name only remains for a curse." - The Shepherd's Rod, p.155. And
in reference to the "half an hour; of Revelation 8:1, he says:
"Thus the silence of half an hour points forward to this great event
for the church of God. Its fulfillment would bring us to the time of the
harvest, or as it is called, the Loud Cry of the Third Angel's Message of
Revelation 18-the last message to the world. Thus, while the five men with
the slaughter weapons are taking away those represented by the tares within
the church, there will be silence inv heaven for about half an hour (seven
days), after which the judgment will commence again for those who shall be
sealed in the time of the great harvest, which is the end of the
world." - The Shepherd's Rod, Volume 2 (1932), p.217.
Again: "The five agents
that destroy the wicked in the church are not forces of nature but men with
slaughter weapons in their hands. They are supernatural beings, not natural
elements. "- The Answerer, No. 2 (1944), p.42-43. Although he says
that this slaughter will not be performed by the seven last plagues, yet he
affirms that "a common end (death) befalls both the wicked in the
church of Laodicea, and the wicked in the churches of Babylon. And only
those who say, 'We need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation
of God's power as in former days,' think the slaughter is not
literal."-The Shepherd's Rod, p.44
Thus they teach;
1. That Seventh-day
Adventists, leaders and people, who reject the message of the Shepherd's
Rod will be slaughtered during the half hour of Revelation 8:1.
2. That this half hour will
mark the beginning of the time of harvest.
3. That the time of harvest
is synchronous with the loud cry of the third angel's message.
4. That the removal of the
tares from the church is the same as the slaughter referred to in Ezekiel
5. That the slaughter of
Ezekiel 9 will take place prior to the close of probation, and not at or
subsequent to the second advent of Christ.
The Seventh-day Adventist
Position Seventh-day Adventists hold that the slaughter of the unfaithful leaders
and people in the church, as foretold in Ezekiel 9, will occur after the
close of probation, and in the general destruction of the wicked during the
falling of the seven last plagues and at the second coming of Christ in
Ellen G. White, in a message
of rebuke to those in the church who would excuse wrongdoing among the
professed people of God, and who murmur against those who reprove sin,
"Unless they repent, and
leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work
and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the
mark of God's sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction
of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter
weapons. Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of
truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a
mark by the man in linen, are those 'that sigh and that cry for all the
abominations that be done in the church. .
"But the general
slaughter of all those who do not thus see the wide contrast between sin
and righteousness, and do not feel as those do who stand in the counsel of
God and receive the mark, is described in the order to the five men with
slaughter weapons: Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not
your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both
maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom
is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary' [Ezekiel 9:56]"-3 Testimonies,
Note that, according to Mrs.
White's statement, the slaughter foretold in Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled
"in the general slaughter of the wicked" that is to come. When
will that be? In Testimonies to Ministers, p.431-432, Mrs. White indicates
that this slaughter will take place during the pouring out of the seven
last plagues after the close of probation for all mankind. In another place
she describes more fully that awful time of slaughter of those who, both in
and out of the church, shall have sinned away their day of grace by
impenitence and disobedience. Their awakening in that terrible hour is
pictured thus by her pen, calling particular attention to the fate of
leaders of apostasy in the religious world generally:
"The people see that
they have been deluded. They accuse one another of having led them to
destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the
ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led
their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would
keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the
world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. 'We are
lost!' they cry, 'and you are the cause of our ruin;' and they turn upon
the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most will
pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once
crowned them with laurels will be raised for their destruction. The swords
which were to slay God's people are now employed to destroy their enemies.
Everywhere there is strife and bloodshed.
" 'A noise shall come
even to the ends of the earth; for the lord hath a controversy with the
nations, He will plead with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to
the sword.' Jeremiah 25:31 . For six thousand years the great controversy
has been in progress; the Son of God and His heavenly messengers have been
in conflict with the power of the evil one, to warn, enlighten, and save
the children of men. Now, all have made their decision; the wicked have
fully united with Satan in his warfare against God. The time has come for
God to vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. Now the controversy
is not alone with Satan, but with men. 'The Lord has a controversy with the
nations'; 'He will give them that are wicked to the sword.'
"The mark of deliverance
has been set upon those 'that sigh and that cry for all the abominations
that be done.' Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel's
vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is
given: 'Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and
women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My
sanctuary.' Says the prophet, 'They began at the ancient men which were
before the house.' Ezekiel 9:1-6. The work of destruction begins among
those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people. The
false watchmen are the first to fall. There are none to pity or to spare.
Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together.
"At the coming of Christ
the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth-consumed with the
spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ
takes His people to the city of God and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants."
-Great Controversy, p.655-657.
The statements from the pen
of Mrs. White clearly and definitely show that the slaughter foretold in
Ezekiel 9 will not take place until after "all have made their
decision," and at the time when the seven last plagues shall fall upon
those who persist in disobeying God.
Furthermore, in comment on
the parable of the ten virgins, Mrs. White makes it clear that there will
be no general slaughter of unconverted Seventh day Adventists before the
close of probation, for otherwise the unfaithful in the church, as
represented by the five foolish virgins, would not be left to be found
unprepared for probation's closing hour. The lord's servant says:
The great final test comes at
the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul's need
to be supplied. The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this earth's
history. All claim to be Christians. All apparently wait for Christ's
appearing. But five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed,
outside the banquet hall. Christ's Object Lessons, p.412.
Will There be Two Comings of
Will There Be Two Comings of
Christ? The Shepherd's Rod leader affirms that there will be two comings of
Christ: (1) one invisible, in the investigative judgment, to slay the
disobedient in the church before the close of probation; and (2) the other,
a visible coming in glory, after the close of probation and the seven last
Mrs. White states: "When
the work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the
separation between the good and the evil. "-Christ's Object Lessons,
p.123. In thus commenting on the parable of the net (in Matthew 13:47-50),
Mrs. White shows that the good and the bad will not be separated until the
close of probation.
When the attention of the
author of The Shepherd's Rod was called to that statement by Mrs. White, he
"The separation which
takes place when Christ comes the second time, is His taking the saints to
heaven with Him (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17) and leaving the wicked
dead here on earth (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). In this way His second coming
does bring about a physical separation. But the preliminary separation
takes place before the second advent of Christ, at His invisible coming,
when He puts the 'sheep' on His right hand and the 'goats' on His left
(Matthew 25:32-33; 13:30; Revelation 18:4; Matthew 13:48)."- The
Answerer, No. 2 (1944), P 39.
Again, in commenting on
Isaiah 66:15-17, the author of The Shepherd's Rod, Volume 1, 1930 edition,
p.170, says: "The coming of the lord 'with fire . . to render his
anger with fury,' is not the coming of Christ in the clouds to receive His
people. it is before the close of probation, and in the time of the
purification of the church."
Thus the Shepherd's Rod teaching
is that there are to be two comings of Christ in connection with the
closing events of this age: (1) an invisible coming before the dose of
probation, to slay the disobedient in the church; and (2) a visible coming,
after the close of probation, to receive his people. Note also that Mr.
Houteff declares that the coming of Christ to separate the sheep from the
goats, as foretold in Matthew 25:3134, will be an "invisible
coming," and that this separation is to take place before the second
advent of Christ. In so doing, the Shepherd's Rod leader contradicts what
is taught in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. Mrs. White, in
commenting on Matthew 25:31-34, declares that the separation of the sheep
from the goats will take place when Christ shall come in glory:
"Not until the personal
advent of Christ can His people receive the kingdom. The Saviour said:
'When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with
Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall
be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a
shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on
His right hand, but the goats on the left. 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.' Matthew 25:31-34. We
have seen by the scriptures just given that when the Son of Man comes, the
dead are raised incorruptible and the living are changed. By this great
change they are prepared to receive the kingdom; for Paul says: 'Flesh and
blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit
incorruption.' 1 Corinthians 15:50.-Great Controversy, p.322-323.
"The throne of glory
represents the kingdom of glory; and this kingdom is referred to in the
Saviour's words: 'When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the
holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and
before Him shall be gathered all nations.' Matthew 25:31-32. This kingdom
is yet future. It is not to be set up until the second advent of Christ.
"Great Controversy, p.347.
When Christ comes, He will
"appear the second time," and not some third time. The statement
in Hebrews 9:28 that "unto them that look for Him shall He appear the
second time; proves that there is to be a not previous coming of the lord
with fire to slay the unfaithful in the church before probation closes. The
Scriptures plainly show that Christ will come with fire when He comes to
gather His people unto Himself. (See Psalm 50:3-5; 2 Thessalonians 1
:7-10). In her description of the deliverance of God's people at the second
advent of Christ, Mrs. White says:
"Fierce lightnings leap
from the heavens, enveloping the earth in a sheet of flame. "-Great
A small cloud appears in the
east. "The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man.
In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth, becoming
lighter and more glorious, until it is a great white cloud, its base a
glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant."
-Great Controversy, p.640641.
"The King of kings
descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled
together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and
island is moved out of its place. 'Our God shall come, and shall not keep
silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous
round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth,
that He may judge His people." Psalms 50:3-4."-Great Controversy,
"At the coming of Christ
the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth-consumed with the
spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ
takes His people to the city of God, and the earth is emptied of its
inhabitants."-Great Controversy, p.657.
1. The Shepherd's Rod theory
that the slaughter of the unfaithful in the church, as foretold in Ezekiel
9, will take place prior to the close of probation for all mankind and
before the falling of the seven last plagues is an erroneous notion.
2. The truth is that the
slaughter predicted in Ezekiel 9 will occur after the close of probation
for all humanity. and in the general destruction of the wicked during the
falling of the seven last plagues and at the second coming of Christ in
(For further consideration of
this subject, see the chapter entitled "The Harvest," on pages
14-20 of this study).