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The Tree of Life:


A New Sense of Destiny

Chapter 1. This prophecy opens with an exposure of the corrupt state of the Church in respect to its doctrinal teachings. The chief cause is due to the violation of the law in Deuteronomy 23:18. The hire of harlots is used to sustain the worship of the Lord. The church, dependent upon the wealthy for her support, sometimes condones the unjust methods by which that wealth is earned. The Church in Russia has been blamed for upholding the vicious system of bureaucracy there in the past. It exemplifies an all too common practice that is debasing, and productive of great sorrow and perversion of the truth.

2. "Woe to them that devise mischief, because it is in the power of their hand." The power of knowledge can be as oppressive as the power of wealth, relentlessly enforcing conformity in matters of belief. The will to do so is equivalent to the deed. It cripples the church, distorting its teachings. The destroyer brings destruction upon himself. Enlightenment from the Word, however, shows the way out for all who turn to it, and walk in it.

3. Again the shadows lengthen. Self-love reasserts itself for further judgment. We "hate the good, and love the evil." The Lord cannot hear our cry, because our thoughts are for war, and not for peace. "The sun goes down over the prophets." God’s Word is there "full of power by the spirit of the Lord" for judgment, but we "abhor judgment, and pervert all equity." The church suffers, and we labor under the delusion that the Lord is on our side, "none evil can come upon us."

4. Through deeper humiliation we return to the heights. As the Lord trusts us, so must we trust our fellowmen, howsoever great may be our differences with them. The growth of the church, individually and collectively, is retarded by any attempt to force our way upon others. War is as futile in the church as in the world at large. "All people walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever." And then the halt, the outcast, and the afflicted, will be led into the church, and increase its power for good. The assimilation of the new forces will occasion pain in adjusting all to the new law, and sacrificing self-will to the Divine will. Constant effort is needed to sustain the solidarity of the church under trial. The Lord "shall gather them as the sheaves to the threshing floor. Arise, and thresh, O daughter of Zion; . . . and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth."

5. "Falsities will be destroyed among them, however much they may infest. The coming of the Lord, who is the God of the church, will gather" his own "together, and teach those who are in it. He will utterly destroy reasonings from falsities" (Assyria). He shall preserve his church. The old order must give way to the new.

6. The vision, however, is not realized. Prophecy and the facts of life are at variance. We gratefully believe that we have made progress in controlling our natural instincts, and that the Lord has protected us from ourselves on many occasions, but our faith in His grace is weak and inconstant. We are assiduous in our observance of the rituals of the Church, and in declaring our willingness to give all we have in His service. What more can be expected of us? Just that simple requirement which is so often lost sight of when tested: to do justice, to love mercy, and to humble ourselves to walk with God. Ours should be the invariable good life. But there is much yet to be overcome, and nothing short of suffering on account of our own waywardness will bring it into the light.

7. Woe is me! The Lord permits our evils to come to the surface. We are unable to enjoy life. We use reason to justify a distrust of everyone who does not live up to our standard. "They hunt every man his brother with a net. . . . The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge." Every man protects his own interests as his first concern. "Trust not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. . . . a man’s enemies are the men of his own home." The impossibility of realizing our heaven-born aspirations in such a state of mind appears in the light. A judgment follows. "A new church will be established, gathered from every nation. It will be taught and led." Evil will be removed from us, and "the Divine compassion will be there." "Who is a God like unto thee?" That is the meaning of the prophet Micah’s name, the profound reaction to the prophecy.


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