My fellow Pilgrims to the Holy City:
Greetings to you in the sweet and precious name of Jesus Christ (Y’shuah). I am coming to you at this time with a bit of exciting information. For over 85 years now The Shepherd’s Rod has been growing in the Adventist church, to the great vexation of our church leaders, and its growth and survival over the years has been unstoppable, even though it has been maligned and falsely associated with the nefarious Branch-Davidian movement of David Koresh, and other false teachers.
Recently, an Adventist Preacher/Elder, who has made a deep study into the teachings of The Shepherd’s Rod, has unveiled a series of YouTube videos in which he completely “dismantles,” and exposes “What Shepherd’s Rod Believe and Why It’s Error.” This video series is a must see for every serious-minded Seventh-day Adventist. Here is the link to the first one, dealing with Daniel 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-Ac1U4wxQw
Here is an audio file presentation I delivered a few months ago, without any knowledge of Elder Skyes’ ministry: https://sdaprophecies.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/the-kingdom-of-glory-audio-files/
Below I have provided some historical collections of our Denomination’s established teachings on Jeremiah’s “battle-axe.” So, as you review the video from Elder Skyes, it will be helpful to keep these pillar church doctrines in mind.
In this first one, here is our historical view on the “battle axe” (Jer. 51: 20) and the Stone’s filling the whole earth (Dan. 2: 35).
“We have come to see that the stone is the saints, who are to take the Kingdom. Also that they are the rod with which the nations are to be broken; (see Psa. 2: 8, 9; 72: 1-2; 110: Jer. 10: 16-18; 51: 19-25. “The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the ROD of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name. Thou art my battle-axe, and weapons of war, for with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider, &c. See also Rev. 2: 25-28; Psa. 149.— Well the saints of the most High shall take the Kingdom.”– The Day-Star, January 24, 1846, G.W. Peavey, p. 25, Col. 2, paragraph 2. Emphasis added; Italics belong to original; also found at: http://documents.adventistarchives.org/AdvRelated/WMC/WMC18460124-V09-07,08.pdf
Through its familiar dialectic, the precursor to Bible Readings for the Home, published in 1888, surveyed the topic of Daniel 2, and it is helpful to see how it leads the reader to the correct conclusions, (please check the verses out as you read below):
50. After the image had been developed, what did the prophet see? Verses 34, 35.
51. What do we understand this stone to be? Verse 44.
52. Could not this stone symbolize the gospel of Christ, and its introduction into the hearts of men? Verses 34, 35.
53. At what time, then, do we understand this kingdom is to be set up? Verse 44.– THE BIBLE-READING GAZETTE, Review and Herald Publishing, 1888, p. 85; also found at: http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Books/BR1888.pdf
I love history, and I love Bible study, and the most important part of my church life is Sabbath School, because it is “the church at study.” Now, look with me at our denomination’s teaching in 1975, regarding the Lord’s “battle axe,” to see if it is Jesus or Babylon. Why? Because in his attempted “dismantling” of the Rod, Elder Skyes is alone, among all Bible commentators, in his suggestion that this “battle-axe” is Jesus Christ, on account of the phrase “The Lord of Hosts is His name” (v. 19).
“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.
“Read also Jer. 51:21-23; 50:23. By divine inspiration Jeremiah calls Babylon a “battle axe” or a “hammer” (RSV). God used this hammer for the accomplishments of His purposes. About one hundred years earlier the prophet Isaiah had spoken of Assyria as “the rod of mine anger” (Isa. 10:5), “used by God for a season as the rod of His anger for the punishment of the nations.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 349.– Adult Sabbath School Lessons No. 322, October-December, 1975, Lesson 9, entitled: Babylon—Ancient and Modern, Sunday, November 23, p. 72, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/SSQ/SS19751001-04.pdf
In our most recent quarterly on Jeremiah, the lesson did not cover Jer. 51, hence I would have cited it here. So our most recent denominational position of Jer. 51: 20 demonstrates that as a church we believe (wrong or right) that the “battle-axe” is Babylon. We need to see the authority that the fine elder presents for the foreign conclusions he has drawn from this text, for in his interpretation he has manifestly charted his own path, contrary to the established position. Why is he being honored as a hero of the faith, while the Shepherd’s Rod is condemned?
Overall: You should see how Harold Skyes, in his effort to “dismantle” The Shepherd’s Rod as error, has actually served only to dismantle the established Seventh-day Adventist doctrines. It is true in the popular culture that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and so since the General Conference disdains the Rod, and elder Skyes also shares a similar disdain, then his popularity in our churches will rise, but at what cost? I was saddened that the Elder did not show an artistic depiction generated by the SDA Church in contrast to that of the Shepherd’s Rod. In fact, I went searching for those colorful Voice of Prophecy and Amazing Facts charts, without any success. If you find an Adventist prophecy illustration of Daniel 2 which either depicts the mountain(s), or discusses it or them, please forward to me. I’d be grateful, as my searches even in the Bible commentary prove nil.
Let me now show in juxtaposition the artistic depiction from The Shepherd’s Rod, vs. that of the SDA Denomination. First, though, please read the text:
“Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Dan. 2: 45.
- Do you notice that there is a mountain from which the stone was “cut”? If you do, you will have seen what nearly 100% of all modern Adventist authors on this subject have not. Now look at the two artistic depictions:
It is rather amusing to see the SDA “stone” hurtling through interstellar space to make its touchdown at the image’s feet, whereas The Shepherd’s Rod depiction (picture on the right) shows exactly what Daniel described–the stone cut from the mountain. Not shown on this slide is that the same stone became a “great mountain” and filled the whole earth, (Dan. 2: 35), not heaven, as Elder Skyes projects.
Now prior to Harold Skyes’ presentation, an Adventist church in Arizona had published their power point presentation in their effort to “discredit” the Shepherd’s Rod, but all I have remaining of that expose, is the broken link: http://www.noahsarkpediatrics.com/Rebuttal_to_the_Rod.pdf
If you have not done so before, take a look at my website: www.sdaprophecies.wordpress.com, and listen to my presentation of Daniel 2, and let’s talk about the comparative theology of Skyes vs the Rod. You can search my site for audio files and listen to Daniel 2: https://sdaprophecies.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/the-kingdom-of-glory-audio-files/ and other kindred topics.
I encourage sharing elder Skyes presentation with anyone, for he demonstrated that he is a very poor student of the Scriptures. Just one reason here: The Bible uses various symbols to represent the same object or concept, under different circumstances, and as students of the Word, we must be sensitive to this.
- It uses a mountain to represent his church, or a kingdom such as Babylon.
- It uses a lion to represent Jesus Christ (Y’shauh), or Satan
- It uses a serpent to represent Jesus Christ or Satan
- It uses a “star” to represent Jesus Christ or Satan
- It uses “winds” to represent wars and strifes, and false doctrines, as well as “bad news”
- It uses water to represent truth or people, or salvation, or eternal life, or nations, etc
- It uses honey and milk to represent the Word of God
- It uses a stone to represent Jesus Christ, Jerusalem, or the saints, such as “Peter”
With these variations, we cannot simply pick a verse or quotation to register a truth, but must respect the context in which the symbols live.
Personally, I have no bitterness for the Elder, and see him as a Saul of Tarsus, kicking against the proverbial prick. While there, do take the time to read the healthy exchange both he and I had. My handle is “Heralding King”. Please also keep in mind my book, What Every Seventh-day Adventist Should Know About The Shepherd’s Rod, to be released by May 2016.
The challenge Daniel 2 presents for SDA theologians is the fact that the stone was “cut out” of the mountain. The verb to “cut out”, clearly shows an act of “separation” as on the day of atonement, which does not fit the context of Christ’s coming from heaven to this earth. Secondly, another nuisance point is that the stone was “cut out” from a “mountain” (most Adventists do not know this), and it also became “a great mountain and filled the whole earth,” (SDA theology does not explain this, just the verse is quoted without any commentary.) Here is a great SDA resource online: http://www.remnantofgod.org/daniel2.htm
Below are more historical statements on the true SDA teaching of these prophecies, demonstrating that Elder Skyes’ interpretation is an undoing of the historical SDA teaching and not an undoing of the Shepherd’s Rod:
The service outlined for this great temple was one of sacrifice. It cannot therefore belong to the future, for in God’s plan the last sacrifice has long since been offered. Never again will He accept the blood of bulls or goats, for these were only typical, and they all pointed to the cross. Had Israel been loyal to Jehovah, He had wonderful plans in which they could have acted a part, but failing in that loyalty the battle axe (Jer. 51: 20-22) had to be cast aside as of no value. Then He had finally to choose another people to do His work. Matt. 21:43.– Australian Record, February 27, 1939, p. 5, Col. 2; http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/AAR/AAR19390227-V43-09.pdf
The captivity permitted to come upon Israel was designed as a chastisement that might lead them back to repentance and obedience. And with that thought in mind the Lord planned great things for His restored people. Speaking of them and the part they were to act in ruling the nations, the Lord said through Jeremiah :— “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; and with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider. . . . I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will’ I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.” Jer. 51 : 20-23. In return for their chastisement by the nations the Lord intended to use them as a rod wherewith to chastise the nations for the evil that, was fast filling up their cup of iniquity.– Australian Signs of the Times, August, 29, 1904, p. 4, Col. 2; http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/STAUS/STAUS19040829-V19-35.pdf
The evidence is overwhelming that the “battle-axe” and the stone are one and the same, and that this has been a long held Seventh-day Adventist position. To now condemn the Shepherd’s Rod as false prophecy in the light of our denominational history is impossible without condemning the Adventist church as an institution build on the foundations of “false prophecy.” Please observe the below quotation, delivered while Ellen White was alive, in an official Denomination organ in which she published the church for over a hundred years now has held that the “battle-axe” is God’s people, originally Israel after the flesh. How then could Harold Skyes get away with teaching the very opposite, that it is and always has been Jesus Christ? This only goes to show that as long as someone simply appears to be opposing the Shepherd’s Rod that such ones are elevated in the eyes of church leaders and members alike, even it it requires them distancing themselves from the denomination’s historical roots.
Then it was that the Lord put His sword into the hand of Israel, and sent them to destroy the people whom He had already judged unworthy of life. Just as surely as the waters of the deluge visited His wrath upon the antediluvian world, and just as certainly as the fires of Sodom poured out His judgments upon the cities of the plain, so surely did Israel wield the sword of the Lord in meeting out destruction upon the people of Canaan. ” Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war,” said the Lord in speaking of Israel. Jer. 51 : 20. Had that people proved loyal and obedient, they would have so remained, for the Lord had planned great things through their instrumentality. Deut. 7 : 5, 23. But in their wilfulness the battle-axe lost its edge, and then the Lord had to use other nations to chastise Israel. True, Israel fought many battles the Lord never planned, and for which He can in no way be held responsible. Some of these were wilful battles, some, struggles for place and power that the Lord did not design for His people. Others, again, were for mere self aggrandisement. But the battles commanded by Jehovah were not of like character with these. They were deluge-struggles, judgment out-pourings in which Israel was but the instrument of divine visitation. God chose to take that way of punishing a rebellious and unrepenting people, and Israel was the instrument just as logically as the deluge or the fires of Sodom.– Signs of the Times, Melbourne Australia, July 14, 1913, p. 439; http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/STAUS/STAUS19130714-V28-28.pdf