Summer 2018: Leadership and End Time Prophecy
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The Old Testament is replete with stories that hold great lessons for us who are living near to the culmination of all things. The successes and failures of the great people of God are faithfully recorded so that we may not lose courage when we face similar circumstances.

The book of Judges is packed with narratives which have a distinct eschatological flavour. In the time of the judges Israel had a theocratic system of government where God directly exercised supreme authority over both religious and political affairs. The will of God was communicated to the nation through the judges and the people were spared the restrictions and regulations imposed by the other rulers of the nations around them. It is indeed strange that the nation of Israel clamoured for a king and that in the time when Samuel, a man of impeccable character, was judge in Israel. This was a direct rejection of the governance of God and a type of the rebellion in heaven, nevertheless, God accommodated their wish because even this action would, through divine providence, eventually inoculate humanity against the evil of such a choice. The Lord comforted Samuel with these words:

1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

The time is fast approaching when this world will have filled up the measure of its cup and the God of heaven will intervene and set up a kingdom which will never be removed. Once again God will be the supreme ruler and those who have drunk the cup of salvation and have made the character of God their study and have hungered and thirsted for this righteousness will once again find solace under the shadow of His wings.

In the light of this, what system of governance should we strive for in the church? Should we not as far as possible emulate the system of governance which God instituted and which the Israelites rejected? Did not Jesus point the way when He said:

Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

Mat 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Ellen White writes:

The organization of the church at Jerusalem was to serve as a model for the organization of churches in every other place where messengers of truth should win converts to the gospel. Those to whom was given the responsibility of the general oversight of the church were not to lord it over God’s heritage, but, as wise shepherds, were to “feed the flock of God, ... being ensamples to the flock” ( 1 Peter 5:2, 3); and the deacons were to be “men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.” These men were to take their position unitedly on the side of right and to maintain it with firmness and decision. Thus they would have a uniting influence upon the entire flock. { AA 91.1}

Later in the history of the early church, when in various parts of the world many groups of believers had been formed into churches, the organization of the church was further perfected, so that order and harmonious action might be maintained. Every member was exhorted to act well his part. Each was to make a wise use of the talents entrusted to him. Some were endowed by the Holy Spirit with special gifts—“first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28. But all these classes of workers were to labor in harmony. { AA 91.2}

One of the stories in the book of Judges that bears amazing parallels to the time we are living in is the story of Deborah and Barak and their conflict with Jabin the Canaanite king and his general Sisera. Now there is danger of drawing too close a parallel, but nevertheless the eschatological flavour of the narrative cannot be denied.

Jdg 4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.

Jdg 4:2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.

Jdg 4:3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

Jdg 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

The name Jabin means one who is intelligent or discerning and Sisera means horse and swift. The enemies of God and His people are thus worldly wise and have the military power to back them up. The chariots of iron at the kings disposal where equipped with sharp scythe like swords attached to their axles so that any adversary in their path would be cut asunder like wheat before the harvester.

Deborah means “bee”, a pollinator, and she was married to Lapithdoth which means lamp and enlightened, whilst Barak means thunder and lightning. The prophetess is the disseminator of truth and she is married typologically to the source of light and enlightenment. The General, Barak, has at his disposal the weapons of God namely thunder and lightning as opposed to worldly strength represented by horses and chariots.

Jdg 4:5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Jdg 4:6And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?

Jdg 4:7And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.

Barak was the son of Abinoam, which means father of pleasantness, and he lived in Kedesh which was a city of refuge. When approaching the prophets of old or Jerusalem, the path was always “up”. The reference to the river Kishon introduces the eschatological final judgement which was also prefigured by Elijah who executed the prophets of Baal at the same river.

1Ki 18:40 And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

The story continues:

Jdg 4:8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.

Jdg 4:9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

The words “If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go” are full of meaning. If we draw a parallel to our beloved church today, then Deborah would be the equivalent of Ellen Gould White and Barak would equate with those that stand in the forefront and have to fight the battles of the Lord. “Ellen” means light and mercy, “Gould” is gold (refined in the fire) and “White” stands for righteousness. Can we afford today to fight the battles of the Lord if we are not equipped with the testimonies that place the conflict we are in within the context of the Great Controversy? Can we stand if we do not take this knowledge with us?

Jdg 4:10And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.

Jdg 4:11Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.

Another important role player in this narrative is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite who was related to the father in law of Moses. Jael, which means Ibex (a sure footed mountain goat) is married to Heber whose name means alliance. Jael is the one that recognises Sisera and slays him by driving a tent peg through his temple whilst he is seeking refuge in her tent. She is the woman that receives the glory and is honoured in the song of Deborah for her courageous deed.

Jdg 5:24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.

Who can this woman represent? Her husband had “severed himself from the Kenites”, he had separated himself from worldly influences. Can she represent the church, which is honoured for her deed. It is not the individual that fights the battles of the Lord that receives the glory, he or she is only doing their duty, it is the church that is the ‘church militant’ that will eventually be the ‘church triumphant’. The battle is the Lord’s but she is the queen decked in the gold of Ophir, His bride, that stands by His side. In the Biblical narrative the armies of heaven fight the final battle but Christ does not bypass his bride in this final victory as is evident in the song of Deborah:

Jdg 5:19The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.

Jdg 5:20They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.

Jdg 5:21The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.

Jdg 5:22Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones.

Jdg 5:23Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.

Jdg 5:24Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.

Jdg 5:25He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.

Jdg 5:26She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.

Jdg 5:27At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

It is evident that not all the Israelites shared the same commitment to the call of Deborah as did Barak and many refused to come to the help of the Lord. Sadly this may be repeated in our time as there are those within our ranks who deem the testimonies outdated. The church militant faces the same adversaries today as it did in the time of the judges and the outcome will be the same as it was then. There exists in the world today a worldly wise king and he has armies under the command of a general that seeks to destroy the last vestige of Protestantism that remains in the world today. When this power attempts to enter even the tents of God’s beloved he will meet his end as verily as did Sisera.

Dan 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

The pen of inspiration writes:

During ages of spiritual darkness the church of God has been as a city set on a hill. From age to age, through successive generations, the pure doctrines of heaven have been unfolding within its borders. Enfeebled and defective as it may appear, the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard. It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts. {AA 12.1}

Many today cherish a spirit of independence and believe that God does not require of them to have denominational ties, but it is within the church that the final drama will unfold.

Some have advanced the thought that, as we near the close of time, every child of God will act independently of any religious organization. But I have been instructed by the Lord that in this work there is no such thing as every man's being independent. [FROM MANUSCRIPT READ BEFORE THE DELEGATES AT THE GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION, WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 30, 1909.]‑‑9T 257, 258 (1909). {LDE 47.2}

The Redeemer of the world does not sanction experience and exercise in religious matters independent of his organized and acknowledged church. Many have an idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and experience, independent of his recognized followers on earth. But in the history of the conversion of Saul, important principles are given us, which we should ever bear in mind. He was brought directly into the presence of Christ. He was one whom Christ intended for a most important work, one who was to be "a chosen vessel" unto him; yet he did not personally impart to him the lessons of truth. He arrested his course and convicted him; but when asked by him, "What wilt thou have me to do?" the Saviour placed him in connection with his church, and let them direct him what to do. {LP 31.1}

Revelation 22:17 makes it quite clear that Christ and His church act in unison, the Spirit and the bride work together.

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Do we need an organized Church:?

Oh, how Satan would rejoice if he could succeed in his efforts to get in among this people and disorganize the work at a time when thorough organization is essential and will be the greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings and to refute claims not endorsed by the Word of God! We want to hold the lines evenly, that there shall be no breaking down of the system of organization and order that has been built up by wise, careful labor. License must not be given to disorderly elements that desire to control the work at this time. {LDE 47.1}

In his article Beheading Christ, Keith Drury makes an interesting point regarding Christ and His choice of bride. Many are willing to choose Christ, but they are not willing to choose His bride. Drury writes:

I have decided to submit to Christ’s tastes in bride-picking. If He wants the church as His bride I will accept her too. Jesus Christ, the head of the body is easy to love. The body of Christ is harder to love. But I have chosen to love her for one single reason—Christ loves her and considers her beautiful. Perhaps he sees possibilities in her I don’t see? Perhaps that’s how He sees me too?

The idea that one church and one church alone should be the representative of God in these times is offensive to many and the idea that the Spirit of Prophecy should be an integral part of that church is even more offensive, not only to people outside the church but even to many within. Many attempt to marginalize the Spirit of Prophecy and to make it of non-effect but I am convinced that it will yet prove to be the unifying factor that will bring the church into harmony before the final battle will be fought. Instead of marginalizing or relegating the testimonies to the scrap heap of 19th century thinking, they should be made more prominent as we move closer to the end.

As the end draws near, and the work of giving the last warning to the world extends, it becomes more important for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His providence has linked with the work of the third angel's message from its very rise.‑‑Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 654. (1889) {Ev 255.2}

In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will, and the course that He would have them pursue.‑‑Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 661. (1889) {Ev 255.3}

What is it that binds us together? Is it not the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus? Is the testimony of Jesus not an integral part of remnant theology? The testimonies are the guiding light through the labyrinth of error. We dare not be without them and like Barak we should proclaim:

If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.”

The song of Deborah and Barak prefigures the song of Moses and the Lamb which will be sung by those that will be gathered on the sea of glass:

Rev 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Rev 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

When the song of Moses was sung, the prophetess Miriam led the children of Israel in this song of praise. Is it too far-fetched to assume that a prophetess will lead the women (the church) in the antitypical song of victory over the antitypical Pharaoh and his generals?

Exo 15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Exo 15:21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

Now is not the time to haul down our colours. Shall ridicule or contempt stand in our way? Considering every wind of doctrine blowing through the corridors of Adventism, there is no other unifying factor that can bring us together other than faith in the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy.

When they were scattered by persecution, they went forth filled with missionary zeal. They realized the responsibility of their mission. They knew that they held in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world; and they were constrained by the love of Christ to break this bread to all who were in need.—The Acts of the Apostles, 106. { ChS 159.1}

God means that testing truth shall be brought to the front, and become a subject of examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated. Every controversy, every reproach, every slander, will be God’s means of provoking inquiry, and awakening minds that otherwise would slumber.—Testimonies for the Church 5:453. { ChS 159.2}

Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

True leadership will be in harmony with the principles of the Spirit of Prophecy and will bind us together as one in the one church of God in these last days. We are to be Seventh Day Adventists first in mind and soul and action. We are to be of one accord as were the disciples at Pentecost so that the refreshing showers of the latter rain may fill the earth with their glory.

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