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WHEN THE LORD TAKES THE REINS
"The spasmodic, fitful movements of some who claim to be Christians is well represented by the work of strong but untrained horses. When one pulls forward, another pulls back; and at the voice of their master, one plunges ahead, and the other stands immovable. If men will not move in concert in the great and grand work for this time, there will be confusion." Testimonies to Ministers pp. 489, 490.
"...There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands...." Testimonies to Ministers p. 300.
"Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle." Zechariah 10:3.
WHEN THE LORD TAKES THE REINS
We are going to study a prophecy from the Scriptures that very few people understand. This prophecy has been a mystery to Bible scholars for many years. Before we go into this prophecy though, let us examine a few quotations from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy regarding the importance of understanding all the prophecies that the Lord in His wisdom has written for our benefit.
We know that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 2 Tim. 3:16.
"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 Peter 1:21.
Surely all will agree that all the prophecies that were put in the Scriptures were written there for man's benefit and admonition, and many were written especially for those upon whom the ends of the world are come. (1 Cor. 10:11.)
"There are many who do not understand the prophecies relating to these days, and they must be enlightened. It is the duty of both watchmen and laymen to give the trumpet a certain sound. Be in earnest, "cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Letter 1, 1875." Evangelism pp. 194-195.
Increased Light on the Prophecies.--- Increased light will shine upon all the grand truths of prophecy, and they will be seen in freshness and brilliancy, because the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness will illuminate the whole." Evangelism p. 198.
"Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God.---Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 34. (1892.)" Counsels to Writers and Editors p. 35.
KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE PROPHECIES.
"The Bible is its own expositor. One passage will prove to be a key that will unlock other passages, and in this way light will be shed upon the hidden meaning of the word. By comparing different texts treating on the same subject, viewing their bearing on every side, the true meaning of the Scriptures will be made evident.
"...How little has been done by the church as a body professing to believe the Bible, to gather up the scattered jewels of God's word into one perfect chain of truth! The jewels of truth do not lie upon the surface, as many suppose....
"The jewels of truth lie scattered over the field of revelation; but they have been buried beneath human traditions, beneath the sayings and commandments of men, and the wisdom from heaven has been practically ignored; . . .There are veins of truth yet to be discovered; but spiritual things are spiritually discerned....
"But those who profess to believe in Jesus, should ever press to the light. They should daily pray for the light of the Holy Spirit to shine upon the pages of the sacred book, that they may be enabled to comprehend the things of the Spirit of God. We must have implicit trust in God's word, or we are lost....
"The reason that many professed Christians do not have a clear, well-defined experience, is that they do not think it is their privilege to understand what God has spoken through His word...." Fundamentals of Christian Education pp. 187-189.
"God's Spirit has illuminated every page of Holy Writ, but there are those upon whom it makes little impression, because it is imperfectly understood." Testimonies to Ministers p. 112.
Let us now proceed to examine one of those veins of truth, a prophecy of the Old Testament that was written many years ago for those upon whom the ends of the world are come. Let us turn to the Word of God to find out how and when the Lord takes the reins in His own hands. (See: Testimonies to Ministers p. 300.)
"And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country." Zech. 6:1-8.
These verses contain one of the most remarkable and important pictorial prophecies recorded in Sacred Writ, and their true interpretation brings a soul-gripping revelation of momentous church history both past and future.
Herein we see four chariots coming out from between two brass mountains. The chariots are pulled by different colored horses.
HOW CAN WE UNDERSTAND THIS PROPHECY?
The first thing we have to ascertain is whether this prophecy is literal or symbolic.
"The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. Christ has given the promise: 'If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.' John 7:17." Great Controversy p, 599.
"...The Old Testament is the gospel in figures and symbols. The New Testament is the substance. One is as essential as the other...." Counsels to Writers and Editors p. 26.
It is quickly discerned at a glance that this must be a Symbolic Prophecy as one does not normally see mountains composed of brass and different colored horses going in designated directions without the aid of a driver.
In order to correctly understand this prophecy, the first symbol to be
considered is the mountains of brass.
What do the Mountains Represent?
"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Micah 4:1,2.
Here we see that in the last days, God's church is likened unto a mountain.
In Isaiah 56:7 the Scriptures again use the symbolism of a mountain to represent God's church.
"Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people." Isa. 56:7.
Now let us see the Spirit of Prophecy comments on this text, "Many and wonderful are the promises recorded in the Scriptures regarding the church. 'Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.' Isaiah 56:7." Acts of the Apostles p. 9.
Why dose the Lord us a mountain to symbolize His church in this prophecy? Let us turn to the Spirit of Prophecy to find our answer.
"Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains--in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed--the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.
"God had provided for His people a sanctuary of awful grandeur, befitting the mighty truths committed to their trust. To those faithful exiles the mountains were an emblem of the immutable righteousness of Jehovah. They pointed their children to the heights towering above them in unchanging majesty, and spoke to them of Him with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning, whose word is as enduring as the everlasting hills. God had set fast the mountains and girded them with strength; no arm but that of Infinite Power could move them out of their place. In like manner He had established His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and upon earth. The arm of man might reach his fellow men and destroy their lives; but that arm could as readily uproot the mountains from their foundations, and hurl them into the sea, as it could change one precept of the law of Jehovah, or blot out one of His promises to those who do His will. In their fidelity to His law, God's servants should be as firm as the unchanging hills.
"The mountains that girded their lowly valleys were a constant witness to God's creative power, and a never-failing assurance of His protecting care. Those pilgrims learned to love the silent symbols of Jehovah's presence." Great Controversy pp. 65,66.
Thus we must conclude that the mountains in this prophecy must represent God's church.
The fact that there are two mountains with a valley in between from which the chariots come, distinctly show us that these two mountains must represent God's church in two different periods of time when His church could be symbolized as a strong and durable mountain, We must remember that God never has more than one true church at a time.
MOUNTAINS OF BRASS.
What significance is there in the fact that these mountains are composed of brass?
If the mountains represent God's church in two different periods of time, then the metal brass, must be characteristic of God's church at that particular time. Let us see if brass has any outstanding properties that could be characteristic of God's true church.
BRASS---"Articles made from brass are free from dirt, gas and other defects so that the product can be polished to a brilliant finish." World Book Encyclopedia, 1962, Vol. 2 p. 467.
Now let us see how the Spirit of Prophecy describes the remnant church when she becomes the church triumphant.
"His church is to be a temple built after the divine similitude, and the angelic architect has brought his golden measuring rod from heaven, that every stone may be hewed and squared by the divine measurement and polished to shine as an emblem of heaven, radiating in all directions the bright, clear beams of the Sun of Righteousness....The dross, the worthless material, will be consumed, and the influence of the truth testifies to the world of its sanctifying, ennobling character...." Testimonies to Ministers pp. 17,18.
Being composed of brass, the two mountains can never, in even the smallest part be carried away by wind or flood. Matter not what betide them, they stand immovable. And as they are symbols of God's holy church, they must therefore represent her at a time when she is able to withstand the storm when she is a clean and fit place for the dwelling of His Holy Presence.
Has God ever had a church fitting this description?
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Acts 2:1-4.
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls....Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:41,47.
Thus we see that the early Christian church may fittingly be represented as the first brass mountain-a strong and durable church in which the Holy Spirit dwelt. Now let us see what the Spirit of Prophecy has to say about this church.
"The apostles encountered those in the church who professed godliness while they were secretly cherishing iniquity. Ananias and Sapphira acted the part of deceivers, pretending to make an entire sacrifice for God, when they were covetously withholding a portion for themselves. The Spirit of truth revealed to the apostles the real character of these pretenders, and the judgments of God rid the church of this foul blot upon its purity. This signal evidence of the discerning Spirit of Christ in the church was a terror to hypocrites and evildoers." Great Controversy p. 44.
"Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the disciples were to receive a marvelous power. Their testimony was to be confirmed by signs and wonders. Miracles would be wrought, not only by the apostles, but by those who received their message. Jesus said, "In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mark 16:17, 18." Desire of Ages p. 821.
Thus we see that the first brass mountain fittingly represents the early Apostolic church in her purity. Logic would lead us to conclude that if the first brass mountain represents God's church at a time when the church was strong and durable, able to withstand the storms of persecution and endowed with the Pentecostal power of the Holy Spirit, then in order to be consistent we would have to conclude that the second brass mountain must also represent God's church at a time when she will again be endowed with this same power.
Dose our church at the present time meet this condition?
"The church is not now the separate and peculiar people she was when the fires of persecution were kindled against her. How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! I saw that if the church had always retained her peculiar, holy character, the power of the Holy Spirit which was imparted to the disciples would still be with her. The sick would be healed, devils would be rebuked and cast out, and she would be mighty and a terror to her enemies." Early Writings p. 227.
"From considerations like these, it is evident that the perfect state of
the church here predicted is still in the future;..." Early Writings p.
"A Hope of Reform.---The church must and will shine forth "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." God's servants must, by laboring together with Christ, roll away the curse that has made the church so lukewarm. [Rev. 3:15-19 quoted.] The chastening reveals a hope of reform [vs. 20, 21 quoted] (Letter 130, 1902)." 7 Bible Commentary p. 966, E.G. White.
The facts so far established show God's dwelling place in two separate sections, for He has only one church organization at a time. The truth having been solidly established that the Early Christian Church is symbolized by the first "Brass Mountain," and the Purified Church that closes the gospel work by the other, (which is yet future) then it follows as a logical sequence that the valley lying between the two mountains (the space through which the chariots come forth), therefore denotes the period of church history between the two holy church organizations.
This valley then must symbolize the history of the church from the time when the Apostolic church's purity began to wane until the time when the Lord purifies the seventh church (Laodicea), when she shall go forth conquering and to conquer (Prophets and Kings p. 725), becoming the church triumphant (Testimonies to Ministers p. 47), the church in whom Christ character will be perfectly reproduced (Christ's Object Lessons p. 69), thus ushering in the period of the Second Brass Mountain. (Follow the Chart provided with this study.)
God's Church Represented by Many Symbols.
God's church has been represented all down through the ages by various symbols depending upon the varied conditions and circumstances in which the church is typified.
Isaiah speaks of God's church as a crown of glory, showing the honor and glory that will be conferred upon God's church in the last days.
"Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God." Isa. 62:3.
Jeremiah portrays the might and courage of the church by the symbolism of a Battle Ax.
"Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;" Jer. 51:20
John the Revelator portrays the church as a beautiful golden Candlestick, depicting how the church should be the light of the world.
"...and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." Rev. 1:20.
When the Lord wanted to portray how true and pure the church must be, He symbolized it by a comely and delicate woman, a virgin.
"I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman." Jer. 6:2.
"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." 2 Cor. 11:2.
Thus we see that God typifies His church by various symbols depending upon
the truths that He is endeavoring to portray in that particular instance. If the
Lord wanted to portray how close His relationship is to His church He wouldn't
use the symbol of a candlestick or a mountain. The symbol of a Bride would be
more fitting. Would the Lord use the symbol of a virgin to portray how strong
and durable His church must be? Of course not. The symbol of a brass mountain
would be more fitting.
The Four Chariots.
Since God's church was not a pure and powerful church during the period of time represented by the valley between the two Holy church periods, then God's symbolism for His church during this period of time is represented by a symbol depicting the condition of His church at that period of time. For a church in the work of gathering souls, the most fitting symbol is a "chariot," and for its leadership, naturally "horses".
"And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord." Isa. 66:20
Says the prophet Zechariah: "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD. " Zech. 14:20. As symbols to illustrate various lessons, horses are quite prominently employed in the Scriptures, being in every instance perfectly adapted, of course, to the circumstance or situation. In this connection, they represent people (the leaders of the church), for the sounding of their "bells" is "HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD;" whereas "The spasmodic, fitful movements of some who claim to be Christians is well represented by the work of strong but untrained horses. When one pulls forward, another pulls back;" Testimonies to Ministers pp . 485, 490.
As there are, in the symbolization before us, four chariots to be identified, we must therefore consider each one separately, beginning with
The First Chariot.
One of the keys to understanding this prophecy is found in Zechariah's question in verses 4 and 5.
"Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth." Zech . 6:4, 5.
Notice that these four Spirits are Heaven-born, therefore they must be Heaven-born messages carried by His church on earth.
"This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth." 1 John 5:6.
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24.
The consecutive order of the chariots indicates a series of gospel events. " In the first chariot were red horses." That the color red stands for bloodshed, the Spirit of Prophecy bears out: "As we were traveling along, we met a company who also were gazing at the glories of the place. I noticed red as a border on their garments; their crowns were brilliant; their robes were pure white. As we greeted them, I asked Jesus who they were. He said they were MARTYRS that had been slain for Him." Early Writings pp. 18,19. The red border on the garments of this company being symbolic of martyrdom, obviously, then, the red color of the "horses" denotes the martyred leaders of the church before 538 A.D.
In response to Zechariah's question as to who the horses were and where they were going, the angel answered: "The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country, And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth." Zech. 6:6,7. Though the angel's answer discloses the respective directions toward which the black, white, grisled, and bay horses went, It omits to make the slightest mention of the Red Horses, thus riveting the conclusion that the Red Horses were martyred and went nowhere so far as their final destination is concerned. This being clear, our next step, logically, is to identify
The Second Chariot.
"And in the second chariot (were) black horses," Universally, the figurative significance of "black" is bondage, So as the martyrdom of the early Christian church was followed by the Dark Ages of religion, from 538 A. D to 1798 A. D., it is evident that the chariot with the black horses represents the church and its leadership during this long prophetic period in ecclesiastical Roman bondage. This fact is borne out by the angel's explanation of the horses' destination: "The black horses, " he said, " . . .go forth into the north country. " And "the north country" is the Biblical term for ancient Babylon, as is quickly seen from the following Scriptures:
". . .saith the Lord God; . . I will bring. . . Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, . ,from the North." Ezek. 26:7. Again: when the Jews were returning from Babylon to Jerusalem, God spoke through His prophet Zechariah, saying: "Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the North" (Zech 2:6), thus identifying Babylon as the "North Country." But as we are dealing with the fulfillment of prophecy in the New Testament era, the north country in this connection must be antitypical Babylon---Christianized Rome---where God's people during the New Testament period have gone. This clear-cut truth concerning the second chariot, leads us to the exposition
The Third Chariot.
And there were "In the third chariot white horses." Since Black is significant of bondage, then white, being the opposite of black, must denote Liberty. Accordingly, the white horses with their chariot must be symbolical of the church following her 1260 year period of Roman bondage. Said the angel to Zechariah: "The white go forth after" the Black Horses, to the north country. The white chariot therefore represent a free church, carrying a heaven-born message to the north country shortly after 1798 A. D., in the time of religious liberty, after Protestantism had broken away from Papal Rome. The only such message found on record is that of the Millerite Movement, of which we read:
"To William Miller and his co-laborers it was given to preach the warning in America. This country became the center of the great advent movement....The writings of Miller and his associates were carried to distant lands. Wherever missionaries had penetrated in all the world, were sent the glad tidings of Christ's speedy return." Great Controversy p. 368.
But though "the White Horses" went to the "north country, " the Millerites, or "First Advent Movement," was not in response to the call, "come out of her My people." This is made clear by Miller's own words: "In all my labors....I never had the desire or thought to establish any separate interest from the existing denominations, or to benefit one at the expense of another. I thought to benefit all." Great Controversy p. 375.
The concluding revelation is: "Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted My Spirit in the north country." Zech. 6:8. After the warning message by the Millerite movement had been rejected by the churches, in the fulfillment of the words, "have quieted My Spirit in the north country, "God withdrew His Spirit from them. In evidence of this, "the second Angel" announced: "Babylon is fallen." Rev.14:8.
Babylon at this time experienced only a moral fall. She does not completely fall until the time of the Loud Cry. See Great Controversy pp. 389-390.
The foregoing chain of facts surrounding the first three symbolical "chariots", shows that the series of gospel events which they comprehend terminated with the Millerite movement, in 1844 A.D., And the additional fact that the "white" color of the "horses" also denotes purity, show that the "third chariot" is symbolical of the church which of all the seven churches is the only one that is white, without condemnation---the Philadelphia church (Rev. 3: 7).
The Millerite, or "First Advent Movement," being the only one that never cast out any of its brethren, is consequently the only church which can be represented by the white chariot, and the only one worthy of the name "Philadelphia"---"brotherly love."
Ever true to God, it closed its brief but spotless career in 1844, its appointed destination. Having lived its entire life under the personal supervision of its founder, it was never new-modeled. Thus being without condemnation, as perfectly illustrated by the third "chariot" and its "white horses," it stands out in bold relief to the succeeding movement represented by
The Fourth Chariot.
Since the first three "chariots" embrace the history of the church from the Early Christian Church up to 1844 A.D., the fourth one must represent a subsequent church organization-successor to the Millerite, or Philadelphia church. The last of "the seven churches, " the church of the "Laodiceans," necessarily, therefore, is the one symbolized by the "Fourth Chariot."
Just as the name "Philadelphia" fits only one church organization, and only one of the chariots, so the name "Laodicean" an logically fit only one of the chariots and only one denomination. The word, itself, is derived from the Greek word, Lego-dikean, meaning, "declaring judgment." After the event of the Philadelphian church, there must therefore be a church declaring judgment. And it is a historical fact that in 1844 A.D., the very year the Millerite movement came to the end of its appointed course, a new movement, our Seventh-day Adventist denomination, arose, proclaiming: "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." Rev. 14:7.
Grisled and The Bay Horses---Double Leadership.
And in the "fourth chariot" were "grisled and bay horses." The anomalous part of this symbolical prophecy is manifestly, that the fourth chariot, unlike the other three, has a double span of horses.
Just as the colors of the preceding horses are significant so the colors of this double team on this last chariot are also significant. The marginal reference in your Bible will tell you that the Bay horses are a strong team and indeed they must be as Zechariah tells us that they are the team that eventually wins out in their determination to go to and fro through the earth, Zech. 6:6,7.
The color "Bay" is a definite hue or color, easy to be defined, a very common color. As the Bible marginal reference has already told us that the "Bay" horses are a strong team, then we will proceed on to find the significance of the "grisled" colored horses. A "grisled" color is not a definite hue or color It is an undefined color. In this setting the word "grisled could be synonymous with the word "Laodicea", "neither cold nor hot." Ministry and laity alike are warned that if we continue to remain in a "lukewarm" (grisled) condition that we will be spewed out. "Because you are lukewarm, I must spew you out of My mouth." 7 Bible Commentary p. 963, E. G. White.
The Spirit of Prophecy forewarned us years ago that two parties would be developed in our church. "A new life is coming from heaven and taking possession of all God's people. But divisions will come in the church. Two parties will be developed. The wheat and tares grow up together for the harvest." 2 Selected Messages p. 114.
"While the Lord brings into the church those who are truly converted, Satan at the same time brings persons who are not converted into its fellowship. While Christ is sowing the good seed, Satan is sowing the tares. There are two opposing influences continually exerted on the members of the church. One influence is working for the purification of the church, and the other for the corrupting of the people of God." Testimonies to Ministers p. 46.
Can we not see clearly the Two Classes of people today in our church as depicted by the grisled and bay team?
In speaking of the ministry (horses), the servant of the Lord counseled us years ago that some of the ministry as well as the laity need to be converted. "Some ministers, as well as people, need converting. They need to be torn to pieces and made over new. Their work among the churches is worse than lost, and in their present weak, tottering condition, it would be more pleasing to God for them to cease their efforts to help others, and labor with their hands until they are converted. Then they could strengthen their brethren." Testimonies, Vol. 1 p. 37.
"I tell you plainly, brethren, unless the ministers are converted, our churches will be sickly and ready to die....
"When ministers realize the necessity of thorough reformation in themselves, when they feel that they must reach a higher standard, their influence upon the churches will be uplifting and refining.
"There are sinners in the ministry." Testimonies to Ministers pp. 143, 145.
"The work the Lord would do to set the churches in order is not done, because the individual members-and especially the leaders of the flock--would not be corrected." Selected Messages p. 47.
Our object in quoting these statements as recorded in the Spirit of Prophecy is not to just criticize or to find fault with the ministry of our church but to simply point out the truth that we as a denomination have tares in the ministry as well as in the laity. We know the Lord has his faithful ministers as well as faithful laity. But Satan has also sown his tares among ministry and laity alike. Those ministers or leaders who prove to be faithful are represented by the "Bay" team.
Most arresting about the whole symbolism is the paradoxical fact that the grisled went "toward the south country, and the bay went forth, and ...walked to and fro through the earth"! Zech. 6:6,7. The grisled go one way, and the bay, another way, and yet both are pulling the same chariot.
The Scripture asks the question, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed"? Amos 3:3. The dissimilar teams hitched to the fourth chariot, each pulling in a different direction from the other, show not only that there is a Double Leadership in the Laodicean church, but also that the one is opposed to the other in character as well as in purpose. This condition being a strange one, the wise will well consider it. Seeing that the Word of God has spoken it, and that the symbolism perfectly describes the contest which, before their very eyes, is taking place, they will tenaciously take hold of the truth.
Many years ago the servant of the Lord commented on this very condition, when she said: "I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders.
"The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 217.
Thus we can see that the "south country" or Egypt, the direction into which the "grisled" team is headed is symbolical of the world. Just as ancient Israel while wandering in the wilderness, wanted to go back to Egypt, so modern Israel is walking in her foot steps today. "The professed followers of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people....Daily the church is being converted to the world." Christ's Object Lessons pp. 315,316.
"I have been shown that the spirit of the world is fast leavening the church. You are following the same path as did ancient Israel. There is the same falling away from your holy calling as God's peculiar people. ...Your neglect to follow the light will place you in a more unfavorable position than the Jews upon whom Christ pronounced a woe." Testimonies, Vol. 5 pp. 75, 76.
Grisled Team Cut Off
Seeing that the chariot is drawn by both teams, each pulling in a different direction from the other, obviously both cannot win out without breaking it in two, thus leaving it ruined and useless, One pair or the other, therefore, must be cut out of the traces. And the fact that the bay (the "strong horses"-verse 3, margin) are the ones who eventually will be enabled to "walk to and fro through the earth" while the grisled have attempted to take the chariot toward the south country (Egypt, the world), shows that the bay team during the Loud Cry, (the period of the second brass mountain) are to possess the chariot and to preach "this gospel of the kingdom...in all the-world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matt. 24:14.
The Spirit of Prophecy commenting on this particular time says: "Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers." Great Controversy p. 612.
"...But the Lord will use in the accomplishment of His work means that we do not now see. He will raise up from among the common people, men and women to do His work, even as of old He called fishermen to be His disciples. There will soon be an awakening that will surprise many. Those who do not realize the necessity of what is to be done, will be passed by, and the heavenly messengers will work with those who are called the common people, fitting them to carry the truth to many places. Now is the time for us to awake and do what we can." Loma Linda Messages p. 83. (The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters p. 319)
"God will work a work in our day that but few anticipate. He will raise up and exalt among us those who are taught rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the outward training of scientific institutions....God will manifest that He is not dependent on learned, self-important mortals." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 82.
What Happens to the Grisled Team?
Since the Spirit of Prophecy tells us that "Only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it, the Third angel's message when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry" (R&H Nov. 19, 1908), the question naturally arises, What Happens to the Grisled Team, to those who do not overcome temptation in the strength of the Mighty One?
We found in our studies that when the Judgment for the living commences or just before the Loud Cry begins to be proclaimed that the Lord Himself commissions the five angels with slaughter weapons to go through the city (church) and slay all those who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads, men, women and little children perish together. See: Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 211. In speaking of those who have ministered to others, the Spirit of Prophecy says: "It is with reluctance that the Lord withdraws His presence from those who have been blessed with great light and who have felt the power of the word in ministering to others. They were once His faithful servants, favored with His presence and guidance; but they departed from Him and led others into error, and therefore are brought under the divine displeasure." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 212. Thus we can clearly see that the Lord Himself will remove the grisled team .
"Angels keep a faithful record of every man's work, and as judgment passes upon the house of God, the sentence of each is recorded by his name, and the angel is commissioned to spare not the unfaithful servants, but to cut them down at the time of slaughter." Testimonies, Vol. 1p. 198.
"When trees without fruit are cut down as cumberers of the ground, when multitudes of false brethren are distinguished from the true, then the hidden ones will be revealed to view, and with hosannas range under the banner of Christ. Those who have been timid and self-distrustful will declare themselves openly for Christ and His truth. The most weak and hesitating in the church will be as David--willing to do and dare." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 81.
The fulfillment of this prophecy will bring into being the Second Brass Mountain, God's purified remnant church.
The hidden ones are brought to view when God purifies His church. They will be the first fruits of the final harvest, the 144,000 (the bay team). "The great issue so near at hand (the purification of the church) will weed out those whom God has not appointed and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain...." Selected Messages Book 3 p. 385 (Letter 55, 1886).
Thus we can see with the 144,000 as the Loud Cry ministry, the Second Brass Mountain will come into being.
Isaiah calls this pure, true, sanctified ministry, "the holy people". "And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion," (after the purification of the church) "and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." Isaiah 4:3,4.
"Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken." Isaiah 62:11,12.
What is the Work that is Before this Holy People?
(144,000, Bay Team)
"For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many." Isaiah 66:16.
In the next few verses Isaiah will tell us what happens to those who escape this slaying (those who receive the mark, or seal in their foreheads as recorded in Ezekiel 9:1-11).
"And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel" (144,000) "bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord." Isaiah 66:19,20.
Now we can clearly envisage a great ingathering of souls which will culminate in the establishment of the second brass mountain, the church which will perfectly reflect the image of Jesus. "When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own." Christ's Object Lessons p. 69.
Thus we can see that the Lord will use His pure, true, sanctified ministry, (the bay team, the 144,000 first-fruits) to garner in earth's final harvest, the great multitude of Revelation 7:9, the harvest John saw after he saw the sealing of the 144,000. "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;" Rev. 7:9.
The 144,000 are the Bay Team, those who are without fault before the throne of God (Rev. 14:5). They will eventually become the second brass mountain (the church triumphant). Being the nucleus of the second brass mountain, they will be "Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. 'Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners' (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer." Prophets & Kings p. 725.
The Lord Takes The Reins.
"There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God, they will need the divine touch. They will need to drink more deeply and continuously at the fountain of living water, in order that they may discern God's work at every point." Testimonies to Ministers p. 300.
"Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view." Testimonies, Vol. 5 pp. 80,81.
"The end is near, stealing upon us stealthily, imperceptibly, like the noiseless approach of a thief in the night. May the Lord grant that we shall no longer sleep as do others, but that we shall watch and be sober. The truth is soon to triumph gloriously, and all who now choose to be laborers together with God, will triumph with it. The time is short; the night soon cometh when no man can work.-- Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 135. (1909)" Evangelism p. 692.
It is our prayer that the reader of this booklet be among those who will compose or make up the Bay Team, those who will have a part in proclaiming this message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, under the power of the Holy Spirit. "Today you are to have your vessel purified, that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord--fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit...." Evangelism p. 702.