Taking The Reins
into His Own Hands
By : Victor T. Houteff
As most of our people hardly understand what the Spirit of Prophecy means by the statement : “The Lord shall take the reins in His Own hands” (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300) we are writing the following paragraphs.
The foregoing prophetic statement reveals two definite things. First, that the Lord is not now holding the reins in His Own hands, and, second, that at some time He will do so. That is, as God is not now ruling the denomination through its present organization, He must reorganize it. Moreover, it is stated that God will do this by means so simple that even “the workers will be surprised,” that is, He is not going to start reorganizing the denomination by something great, something complicated, or something which the world calls wonderful, but rather by humble means, quietly, slowly, steadily, and as naturally as represented by the mustard seed (Matthew 13 : 31, 32), and also as the unnoticeable lump of leaven working in dough (verse 33), whereas, the workers will still want to “control the work, but they will lose out as grass is choked by the wheat.
As God’s taking the reins in His Own hands has been demonstrated in times past, none need remain ignorant of the method He will now employ to “perfect His work of righteousness,” nor of the system He will use to rule over His Own.
In the days when Pharaoh reigned over God’s people, the Lord did not send a great army, led by a general trained in the school of the world, to set them free, and to give Him a chance to rule over them, but He sent Moses, the simple means, with his shepherd’s rod. To Pharaoh, this appeared so simple, so small, that he paid but little attention to that which was then taking place. Nevertheless, as he saw the leaven working in his kingdom, at times he became convinced that he should let Israel go, but as he viewed Moses’ work, simple as it was, his heart hardened, and he said : “Ha, it cannot be of God, I will not let Israel go.” This was repeated time and again. Then, finally, the blow came by the death of the first born, and there was a great cry throughout the land of Egypt as Israel went out. But as Pharaoh was not yet convinced that God had taken the reins in His Own hands, he and his army went to bring them back. Therefore, God employed the Red Sea as a means to protect His people and as
a means to destroy Pharaoh and his army. The Lord will work in no less miraculous a manner now to free His people from being ruled by a worldly organization. He will command the work Himself in the same manner as He did in Moses’ and David’s day.
Moreover, the voice of prophecy declares that : “the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king,” and that “afterward 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) That is, ancient Israel was to be scattered among the nations and be a kingdom no more for “many days,” but after the “many days“, they are to return and again become a kingdom, and “seek the Lord their God and David their king”. Therefore, as we are now living in the time of the returning of the 144.000, the twelve tribes, it is evident that they will at this time become a kingdom in the hand of the Lord God instead of being ruled by men through a common worldly organization.
In the days of Moses and in the days of David, when the Lord had the work in His Own hands, He spoke to the people through Moses and through David, and thus He ruled. In like manner will He, at this time, rule the work when He takes the reins in His Own hands.
In prophecy, God revealed to Ezekiel the injustice which, in the latter days, our time, would be done to God’s people by their shepherds, and said : “I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them ; I the Lord have spoken it.” (Ezekiel 34 : 23, 24) Thus Ezekiel was also told that the present system, an organization of many shepherds, will be replaced by a new one and be conducted by one shepherd instead of by many.
The people over whom the Lord is to take the reins in His Own hands, are, of course, only those who shall compose His kingdom. “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord : for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord : for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Therefore, the Lord’s taking the reins in His Own hands is the beginning of the establishing of His everlasting kingdom, just prior to His visible coming in the clouds. Daniel also in vision witnessed this fact and declared to the king thus : “in the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2 : 44).
Note that the kingdom is set up not after the days of these kings,” but in their days, and that those kingdoms are to be broken by it. Therefore, although at first, and before the resurrection, the kingdom will not be completed with all its subjects, it will have its beginning before the second coming of Christ.
Christ’s Own parable reveals this truth, for He says : “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit on 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 goat 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. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25 : 31 – 34, 41)
It is generally understood that when Christ visibly appears, the nations will die by the brightness of His coming, and thus the wicked will have no chance for either the Lord to speak to them or they to speak to Him. Furthermore, according to the parable, He sits on the throne of His glory instead of sitting on the clouds as in 1 Thess. 4 : 17. Therefore, the throne of His glory is His kingdom where He, invisibly to the nations, sits on the throne and gathers all nations before Him as recorded by the prophet Isaiah also, saying : “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills ; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (Isaiah 2 : 2).
The prophet Zechariah describes the case of the wicked and the conversion of the righteous in the following language : “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people : all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness : and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf : and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left : and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication : and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12 : 3 – 10).
The taking of the reins in His Own hands is therefore in the time of the gathering of His people from among the nations, by the voice : “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18 : 4).
When the voice shall be heard calling out God’s people there shall be no sinners in His kingdom, neither shall be the plagues fall there, for the saints are called out of Babylon because of the sins that are there and because the plagues are to fall upon all there.
In Matthew 13 : 49 is recorded the separation of the sinners from among God’s people, for at that time, says Christ, the wicked are taken out from among the just, whereas, by the voice recorded in the Revelation, the righteous are taken out from among the wicked ---- the manner of the one separation being the opposite of the other --- which fact proves that the Lord takes the reins in His Own hands before the commencement of the Loud Cry of Revelation 18 : 4.
Our danger at the present time does not lie in that which God has said He will do, for He is well able to handle the situation, but the great peril lies in that many of us are in danger of losing out by questioning and criticizing everything that arises in the unfolding of truth, criticizing the work and position of others, criticizing every branch of the work in which they have not themselves a part (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 690), instead of coming to the help of the Lord. Yes, some will attempt “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.” – Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300. Some go still farther by saying to the promised mouthpiece of God, “You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message.” – Testimonies to Ministers, p. 475.
Others, though not so dictatorial will not submit themselves to the leadership of God, for Jesus foresaw the class that “hatred Him” and “sent a message after Him, saying, we will not have this man to reign over us.” (Luke 19 : 14).
Therefore, because of their insubordination, Jesus has plainly told that at His appearing He shall command His servants, saying, “but those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me.” (Luke 19 : 27).
The parable makes it clear that through some man Jesus is to reign before His appearing, and that those who refuse to submit themselves to the one whom Jesus has chosen to represent Him shall lose out eternally.
Therefore, let no one by inaction or by some other way show a desire to defeat the prophetic word of God, but rather pray for “Thus saith the Lord God ; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.” (Ezekiel 36 : 37).
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?” (Heb. 2 : 1 – 3) “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not ? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb 3 : 1, 2, 18, 19) “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Heb. 4 : 1). “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke : howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years ? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness ?” (Heb 3 : 12 – 17)
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but, being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility : for God resisteth the proud, and give grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” (1 Pet 5 : 2 – 7) ---- The Symbolic Code, Vol. 4, No. 10 – 12, p. 5 Texas --- 1938.