And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, Which shall stand for an ensign of the people: To it shall the Gentiles seek: And his rest shall be glorious.
Song of Solomon 6:9
My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
The passionate words of the Psalmist King rolled on and the scribe’s pen struggled to keep pace as he set down David’s new song. The king paused and the scribe glanced up to catch the far-away vision in David’s eyes as he continued:
Psalm 132: 4 – 6--I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids. Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mightly God of Jacob. Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
A GLORIOUS PROPHECY
The Psalmist could not have known the great prophetic significance of his new song. It recalled the joy of the discovery of the ark of the covenant and of bringing it to its resting place in the tabernacle at Jerusalem. It gave utterance to David’s great zeal to build the Lord a house, a place where God could dwell. However, in prophetic terms, David was foreseeing the establishment and fulfillment of God’s last days’ program. The birth of Christ in the little town of Bethlehem Ephratah was the beginning of God’s plan for a new tabernacle, a new temple of God, a spiritual house where God would dwell. The last phase of this divine program, eventually to culminate in the second coming of the Lord, was to begin in the fields of the wood, where David said he found the habitation of the Lord. That those words have reference to the Church is clearly shown, for in verse 13 of this same Psalm David tells us that Zion (prophetic term for the Church) has been chosen by God as His habitation.
Thus, the prophetic connection is specific and distinct. The plan of God for the last days which began with the coming of Christ (“Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah” or Bethlehem where Christ was born) was to reach its fulfillment in the time of the end, when the habitation of the Lord was to be found in the fields of the wood.
THE PLACE OF ITS FULFILLMENT
How can we identify and recognize the place of this prophetic fulfillment? Let us follow the clear path of prophecy in the Scriptures. The apostle Paul in Acts 20: 29 foretells the great falling away, or apostasy, which would plunge the early Church into darkness. (Also read 2 Thessalonians 2: 1 – 3; Timothy 4: 1 – 3.) The final act of this tragedy occurred in A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicea when the Church became a mere instrument of the Roman state, and substituted a creed for the Word of God. That great darkness was to cover the divine Church for almost sixteen centuries. The fact that the Church was lost to view in this great obscurity makes David’s use of the work “found” doubly significant.
Isaiah 49:19 reveals that the Church would rise from obscurity (or be “found”) in a place far removed from where it went down. To bring about the fulfillment of this prophecy, God began working back in the time of Columbus to prepare a place that would provide the proper atmosphere and the necessary conditions for the Church to rise and perform its functions. That place was the United States of America, thousands of miles from the place where the Church’s great apostasy occurred.
Centuries after David recorded his prophetic words, the same Spirit which inspired their utterance also stirred the hearts of those whom God had chosen as the instruments of their fulfillment. When the time was ripe, God began to move among the humble folks of western North Carolina who began to search the Scriptures for the truth and new light, agreeing to discard all man-made creeds and to accept the whole Bible rightly divided. Into this small but significant beginning God sent a humble servant by the name of A. J. Tomlinson. Then on June 12, 1903 a small group met at a mountain home in Cherokee County, North Carolina, to make a more thorough search of the Scriptures and to seek God for His will. Early on the morning of June 13, A. J. Tomlinson climbed alone to the mountaintop to pray and there received a revelation that was to transform all their lives and open a new chapter in the history of the Church of God. The great truth which dawned in the heart and soul of this saintly man was that this small group was in reality the Church of God of the Bible, for they had agreed together to accept the whole Bible, rightly divided and to walk in all the light as it shined on their pathway. To this revelation the group unanimously assented and A. J. Tomlinson became member to take the covenant of membership in the light of that understanding. This was the event and the place where David’s prophecy was fulfilled: “We found it (the Church) in the fields of the wood.”
A GREAT AWAKENING
Picture the drama. An early morning climb up the steep slope, a period of agonizing prayer, and the quite but unmistakable voice of God speaking to the heart. The return to the small group of saints waiting expectantly in the rough mountain home, their awe and reverence when an awareness of the sacredness of this moment of truth breaks upon them like the dawn of recently past, followed by the solemn administering of the membership covenant. These are some of the elements comprising this event of tremendous significance which took place on June 13, 1903 in the Fields of the Wood. Although hidden on this day from all minds and hearts except these few seekers after truth, the great light so suddenly and unexpectedly shining forth from this brushy woodland in western North Carolina, heralded the great awakening of the last days and began the fulfillment of the last phase of God’s great plan of the ages.
THE PLACE COMMEMORATED
It is altogether fitting that this spot should be commemorated and hallowed, for no other happening in the Twentieth Century is so filled with significance to the children of God. From this place the Church of God has gone forth bearing the flame of truth, proclaiming to the world the divine revelation of the true fold of God and opening wide its loving arms to all the races and nations of the earth. Fields of the Wood is not just a religious retreat or a tourist attraction. It marks and beautifies the very spot where the Church of God emerged from the deep blackness of the Dark Ages to become once more the great beacon of truth to a world still groping in spiritual darkness. (This was also in fulfillment of Isaiah 60: 1 – 3.) The Church of God lay desolate and lost through the centuries, we found it again in the Fields of the Wood.
Fields of the Wood is a memorial project of the Church of God of Prophecy, consisting of over 200 acres dedicated to the revelation of the divine will through the engraving of God’s Word on stone and the erection of memorials of spiritual significance. Fields of the Wood nestles in the midst of the wild beauty of the Great Smokey Mountains like a polished emerald in a heap of uncut jewels. It is a place where the voice of God speaks to the hearts of thousands through the messages of salvation and of God’s plan for mankind engraved in the stones and markers found there. These voiceless markers speak in silent but emphatic words the glorious truths of God. A marker is located in Fields of the Wood and stands where the house stood in which the services were conducted June 12, 13, 1903, when the Church arose from the dark ages in fulfillment of Isaiah 60: 1, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”
Fields of the Wood is located on TVA Highway 294, 18 miles west of Murphy, North Carolina U.S.A. People of all races and religious beliefs are welcome to visit Fields of the Wood to enjoy the presence of God and to see the dramatic presentation of truth in a unique and revealing manner. Visitors are admitted without charge in order that all may freely receive the spiritual blessings awaiting them at Fields of the Wood.