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The Shepherd's Rod vol. 2
The ground of this most vital subject has been extensively covered in "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1. Therefore, we intend to bring out only that phase which does not appear in the first volume. The following questions will be answered in this chapter: At the time the Lord commands the angel to seal them (the 144,000) are they found by that message in the world or in the church? At what time are they sealed? Why are they "virgins"? Why is there "no guile" in their mouth? Are they men only or of both sexes? Why are they called "servants of God"? Why are they Israel?
We quote from the writings of the "Spirit of Prophecy":
"This was the time of Jacob's trouble. Then all the saints cried
out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God.
The one hundred and forty-four thousand triumphed. Their faces were
lighted up with the glory of God." -- "Life Sketches," page 117.
Note that the 144,000 in number, were present in "the time of Jacob's trouble."
Accordlng to the following quotation, that time of trouble commences immediately
after the close of probation: "When Christ shall cease His work as mediator
in man's behalf, then this time of trouble will begin." -- "Patriarchs
and Prophets," page 201. That time of trouble is before any of the
sleeping saints are resurrected, therefore the 144,000 are not resurrected,
but are living saints who have never tasted death and are to be translated
at the second coming of Christ.
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When the judgment opened in 1844, as previously explained, the investigation began with the dead, and when that part of the work is finished, then commences the judgment of the living. While the investigation for the congregation of the dead is in progress, there can be no separation among the congregation of the living. But when our High Priest shall begin the atonement for the living, there must be a message of present truth -- sounding of the trumpet -- urging every one to lay hold on the Lamb of God (Christ) by which only, can he in figure, come to the sanctuary, confess his sin and secure his life. Unless the close of the judgment for the dead and the commencement for the living be made known to us, we would have no present truth while the judgment for the living is in session. Neither would such judgment be legal or just. He who fails to respond to the heavenly summons, will be left without the seal or covering of God, and therefore must be cut off from among His people, as prefigured by the services in the typical day of atonement.
Says the apostle: "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God." (1 Peter 4:17.) The fact that to the "Seventh-day Adventist" church alone has come just such a message as the one mentioned, presented to them in "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, is an additional proof that this particular church is the house of God. This time of judgment is also called the "time of harvest." "Let both grow together until the harvest," said Christ, "and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." (Matt. 13:30.) The words of our Master are in perfect harmony with the typical day of atonement, foretelling that it is a day of separating the tares from the wheat, or cutting off of the unrepentant sinners from among God's people (purification of the church). Therefore, the harvest commences with the closing work for the church. Said Christ: "Let both grow together until the harvest." In Revelation 14:4, speaking of the 144,000 we read, "They are the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." Therefore, it is evident that in the purification or separation of the tares from the wheat in the church of God, there shall be 144,000 who have confessed their sins; and are thus made white and clean by the precious blood of Christ, for they are "the first fruits." This is also proven by the "Spirit of Prophecy," for we read: "This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision." -- "Testimonies to Ministers," page 445. We quote from "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 3, p. 266: "The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord, and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its
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real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the 144,000."
Again on page 267: "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.... Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel. 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 the 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.' "
The definition of "general" is: "extensive but not universal." Therefore it does not mean the destruction of the world at the appearance of the Lord; but it has reference to the wicked in the church. This slaughter is literal, it is to separate and release God's people from sin and sinners, otherwise the marking would be of no value. The same subject is again brought to view in "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 5, page 211: "Here we see that the church -- the Lord's sanctuary -- was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God." The wrath of God cannot, and never has been spiritual. We are again reminded that the 144,000 are the remnant: "Now indeed are the remnant 'men wondered at'... 'In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. 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.'" -- "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 5, page 476. Thus the 144,000 are those who are sealed in the judgment for the church, and with them the judgment for the living commenced. Therefore, they are the first fruits.
When this number is sealed, probation will close for the church, and the judgment for those who are in the world will commence. As the "tares" perish at the time when probation is closing for the church, just so at the close of the judgment for the world the sinners shall come to their end; the one is a figure of the other. It is said of the 144,000: "These are they which are not defiled with women for they are virgins." (Rev. 14:4.) The "women" mentioned in this Scripture are symbols of impure
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churches. These "women" are brought to view in Revelation 17, under the figure of the woman sitting on the scarlet colored beast. We quote Rev. 17:5: "And upon her forehead was a name written, mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abomination of the earth." This mother and her daughters are the "women" with whom the 144,000 are not defiled, for the message of the sealing found them in the church. Thus being in the church of God when sealed, they are "virgins" -- "not defiled with women" (with fallen churches).
In Revelation 7:3, the 144,000 are called "The servants of our God." If servants, then they must have duties to perform. They are again brought to view by the prophet Isaiah in connection with the purification of the church and the destruction of the wicked: "And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape (the 144,000) of them into the nations.... And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations,... in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord" -- the church. (Isa. 66:19, 20.) "And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel." (Isa. 4:2.) Therefore, the 144,000 are called "servants." (For further study of Isa. 66, see "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, pp. 165-172.)
It is also said of this wonderful company: "And in their mouth was found no guile." (Rev. 14:5.) This Scripture makes it clear that the gospel they proclaim is altogether the true Word of God. Therefore, the message they present to the world cannot be questioned as to its purity. The prophet of Patmos after speaking of the sealing of the 144,000 says: "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hand." (Rev. 7:9.) Therefore, this great multitude is gathered from all nations, after the closing work for the church, and in the time of the great harvest. The palms in their hands signify victory over the beast and his image, death and the grave. One of the elders before the throne said of them: "These are they which came out of great tribulation" (the time of Jacob's trouble). (Rev. 7:14.) The servant of the Lord also bears witness in the following quotations: "'And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to
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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. 6:14-17.
" 'After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, 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.... These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb'... Rev. 7:9, 17.
"In these Scriptures two parties are brought to view. One party permitted themselves to be deceived, and took sides with those with whom the Lord has a controversy." -- "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 9, pp. 267, 268. As the Spirit of Prophecy points out these two companies (those who cried for the rocks, and those with the palms) both living in the time of the great tribulation and the wrath of God, it is evident that the great multitude with the palms in their hands are living saints won to the gospel in the time of the harvest by the work of the 144,000.
The command to mark this company so that they fall not under the slaughter weapons by the figure of the five men, reads as follows: "And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof." (Ezekiel 9:4.) Because the Word says: "Set a mark upon the foreheads of the men," therefore some have held the position that the entire company is made up of men only. The second reason given for this erroneous idea is that they are to be kings and priests and therefore they must be men. The idea carried by these passages cannot be sustained by other portions of Scripture. Thus we are compelled to study deeper into the subject.
While Ezekiel calls them "men," John says they are "virgins." (Rev. 14:4.) Now, if we should take the position that Ezekiel means men only, then we can as well say, John means women only. Can it be possible that one writer should contradict the other? No indeed. We conclude by the following Scriptures that the 144,000 are of both sexes: "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe." (John 1:7.) "All men," must include both men and women, otherwise salvation would be for men only. "And I, if I
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be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32.) If the word all men in this text does not include both sexes, then the women are lost. "And the time of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (The Acts 17:30.) Again, if "all men" include not both male and female, then women are not commanded to repent. It is evident that the noun, men, is a collective Biblical term of both men and women. The same is true by creation, for, God made the woman of the man. Therefore, she is a wo-man. Again in Gal. 3:28, we read: "There is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Since there is no difference between either sex in Christ, then we see that women as well as men can be kings and priests. The same thought can be carried out by the experience of the Jewish nation: "And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.... And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment." (Judges 4:4, 5.) This woman held a man's position, being a judge of God's people, which is equivalent to a king. Not only a king, but she was a prophetess as well. Again we read in Luke 2:36,37, "And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day." Also the wife of Shallum being a prophetess taught Israel and controlled the college. (See 2 Kings 22:14-16.) Phillip the evangelist had four daughters who also did prophesy. (See The Acts 21:8, 9.)
From Paul's statement in 1 Timothy 2:12, "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence," you will note the meaning here is, that the woman is to be in subjection to the man as God had ordained, and not that she is forbidden to hold the office of a teacher. Again we quote, "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law." (1 Cor. 14:34.) Read the chapter and you will see that Paul wishes to establish order in the churches, for there was great confusion by speaking in unknown tongues. Therefore, to silence the confusion, he says: "Let your women keep silence in the churches." He is not forbidding them to speak if they have a duty to perform. If this lesson was heeded in this age there would be a great change for the better in the house of God.
In the beginning God created both the man and the woman equal, as king and queen. "And God blessed them, and God said
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unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Gen. 1:28.) Note that the dominion was given to them both. However, after they sinned a change was made: "Unto the woman He said,... thy desire shall be to thy husband, and He shall rule over thee." (Gen. 3:16.) So, after the woman sinned she fell under the government of man. But that which Eve lost by deception, shall be restored by redemption. Thus again the equality of both shall be established as kings and queens. Therefore, "There is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus." Christ himself confirms the idea in the following expression: "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels which are in heaven."
Thus the noun "men" used by Ezekiel, and the noun "virgins" by John is a collective Biblical term comprehending both. Furthermore, the denomination numbers a little over 300,000 at present time. Only about a third of them are men. If every man was sealed and numbered as one of the 144,000, we still would be far short of reaching the total. Again we note at the time of the passover in Egypt the blood on the door-post was a type of the marking or sealing. ("The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, pp. 96-98.)
In that night wherever the blood appeared on the door-post, the first born whether male or female, perished not, just so now, those who receive the seal, have applied the blood on the door-post (forehead), and as the first born of both classes, those who died and those who did not, were a type of the present priesthood (ministry), evidently, the type points forward to a ministry in the anti-type made up of both sexes -- the first born who died represent the class that shall fall under the slaughter weapons of the five men, and the first born who escaped from death, represent the class that shall receive the mark of the man with the writer's inkhorn and pass from death to life. Thus the first born who lived and passed through the red sea, are a type of the 144,000. The first fruits of the harvest, are the servants of God in the time of the "loud cry" of the Third Angel's Message.
After the purification of the church and the sealing of the servants of God, then the message in the 18th chapter of Revelation shall culminate in a "loud cry:" "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.) As the saints hear the voice of the good Shepherd in the gospel message, they separate themselves from the world and join the 144,000. While this sifting process in the fallen churches is in progress, the man with the
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writer's inkhorn seals those who come out. When all the saints shall come out of Babylon into the church, then the work of the man with the writer's inkhorn shall cease and probation will close. (See "Early Writings," p. 279.) Therefore, the activity of the five men with the slaughter weapons shall continue and their work will cease when Christ comes to take His saints for it is they who have charge of the city -- church. (See Ezek. 9:1; "The Great Controversy," p. 656.) Then the present world will come to an end and the millennium of desolation commence; during which time the saints shall judge the wicked.
The 144,000 are called Israel because their experience
is a duplication of that of Ancient Israel going out of Egypt to possess
the promised land. Ancient Egypt is a symbol of the world.
The Egyptian bondage is a symbol of the bondage of sin. The exodus
movement is a type of the church separating from sin and sinners.
The destruction of the first born in Egypt and the drowning in the red
sea, denotes the destruction of the wicked in the separation of the saints.
The wilderness is a symbol of the church being apart from the world.
The destruction of the disobedient in the wilderness, is an illustration
of keeping the church clean after being purified. The possession
of the promised land is a type of Israel (the saints) possessing the world.
The war against the heathen in the promised land denotes the destruction
of the wicked in the world. We are going over the same road once
again, and in so doing, we must avoid the mistakes that were made in the