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Title: His Glorious Appearing
Author: White, James Springer
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          His Glorious Appearing

                   An Exposition of Matthew Twenty‐Four

                                    By

                           James Springer White

                         Revised and Illustrated

       “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the
                            world?”—DISCIPLES.

  “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the
                              doors.”—JESUS.

                            Eleventh Edition.

                     Review and Herald Publishing Co.

                           Battle Creek, Mich.

                                   1895



CONTENTS


Introductory.
Christ’s Prophecy.
   Persecution And False Prophets.
   Iniquity Abounds.
   The End.
When Shall These Things Be?
What Shall Be The Sign Of Thy Coming?
   Shortened For The Elect’s Sake.
   Lo, Here, And Lo, There.
   The Signs Of Christ’s Coming.
   “And The Stars Shall Fall.”
   “The Powers Of Heaven Shall Be Shaken.”
   “Sign Of The Son Of Man.”
   Parable Of The Fig‐Tree.
   “The Day And Hour.”
   Noah’s Time And Ours.
   Peace And Safety.
   The Final Separation.
   Those Who Watch Will Know The Time.
   The Faithful And Wise Servant.
   The Evil Servant.
Conclusion.
Choice Religious Books.



                               [Book Cover]



                              [Illustration]

                          The Light of the World



INTRODUCTORY.


“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his
servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7.

No truth of inspiration can be more clearly demonstrated than that God
reveals his designs to his prophets, that men and nations may be prepared
for their accomplishment. Before visiting with judgments, God has
uniformly sent forth warnings sufficient to enable the believing to escape
his wrath, and to condemn those who have not heeded the warning. This was
the case before the flood. The wickedness of the world had become very
great. Every imagination of the thoughts of the hearts of men was only
evil. It would seem that they had forfeited all claims for consideration.
Violence and corruption filled the earth, and the only way to eradicate
evil was to destroy it with its workers. But before doing so, the world
must be warned of the impending doom; and there was found one man who
would engage in the work. Noah had faith in God, and preached for one
hundred and twenty years the message of warning and salvation. His work
also testified with his words.


    “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet,
    moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by
    the which he condemned the world.” Heb. 11:7.


At a later period, when the nations had again become sunken in idolatry
and crime, and the destruction of wicked Sodom and Gomorrah was
determined, the Lord said,—


    “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that
    Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the
    nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” Gen. 18:17, 18.


And due notice was given to righteous Lot, who, with his daughters, was
preserved; and none, even in that guilty city, perished without due
warning. Lot evidently warned the people; and in thus communing with them,
was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.” 2 Peter 2:7, 8.
His righteous life had been a rebuke to them; and we have every reason to
believe that the holy example of Abraham in his worship of the true God
was known to them. He had at one time been their saviour, and rescued
their captives and spoil from the victorious enemy who was carrying them
away. But when Lot warned his friends of the approaching doom, “he seemed
as one that mocked.” Gen. 19:14. They, like the antediluvians, persisted
in sin, and drank of the wrath of God.

At a subsequent time the sins of Nineveh rose to heaven, and Jonah was
sent to bear to that proud capital the startling message, “Yet forty days
and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” The consciences of those sinners told
them the message was true; and from the least of them to the greatest they
humbled themselves, and the overhanging judgment was averted.

Before Christ commenced his earthly mission, John the Baptist was sent as
the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the
Lord.” By this means the expectation of the people was raised, and
doubtless many were through it led to accept of salvation, while the
generation at large was condemned for rejecting the light.

Our Saviour in his time saw the destruction of Jerusalem just in the
future of that generation, and faithfully warned the people, foretelling
signs by which it might be known when the desolation thereof was nigh.
Luke 21:21. Such is the testimony of inspiration respecting the dealings
of God with his people in past ages.

All who accept the Bible as the inspired word of God acknowledge that he
has been very faithful in warning people in past ages of impending
judgments and other events which affected their eternal welfare. Such
having been the divine plan in relation to past events, we would certainly
be justified in anticipating such warnings of Christ’s second coming as
would comport with the importance of the event. But when we come to regard
the future, and especially our own immediate future, the incredulity of
very many is at once aroused.

But what are the facts in the case? Can anything be learned from the Bible
relative to the time of the second advent? This is a grave inquiry; and,
from the very nature of the subject, is worthy of close investigation, and
a candid answer. It is a matter of painful regret that many, under the
influence of popular prejudice, have decided that the period of the second
advent is a secret, hidden with the Lord. While these can scarcely be
reached with this subject, as long as they remain under the influence of
those who denounce all investigation of it as prying into the secrets of
the Almighty, there is still, we believe, a larger class who wait for
evidence before deciding.

                              [Illustration]

                      Christ Weeping Over Jerusalem


We accept the Bible as a revelation from heaven. What God has revealed in
that book, let no man call a mystery, or a secret of the Almighty. “The
secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are
revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” Deut. 29:29. If the
sacred Scriptures, in a most clear and harmonious manner, point out the
signs of the approach of that great event, and if there is evidence that
“it is near, even at the doors,” the subject at once assumes great
importance.

When the disciples inquired, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of
the end of the world?” Jesus did not reprove them for inquiring into this
matter, nor tell them that it was purposely hidden from all men; but he
answered their question in the most definite manner.

The simple fact that the Lord mentions signs of his second advent, is the
best proof possible that his people were not to remain ignorant of the
relative nearness of the event. Add to this his injunctions to
watchfulness, and the blessings which he pronounces upon those who are
awake and watching at his coming, and it becomes a certainty that he would
not leave his people ignorant of the proximity of that event. Paul also
says that “unto _them that look for him_ shall he appear the second time
without sin unto salvation.” Heb. 9:28. And that a crown of righteousness
will be given “unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Tim. 4:8.

With these assurances we may look for plain and emphatic tokens of the
Saviour’s second coming.



CHRIST’S PROPHECY.


                              [Illustration]

                       Jesus on the Mount of Olives


Probably no other chapter of the Bible speaks more fully, and more
definitely, upon the subject of the second advent, than Matthew 24, in
Christ’s own words. We invite the attention of the candid reader to a
brief explanation of the entire chapter.


    VERSE 1: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and
    his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the
    temple.”


Jesus had been addressing the multitude, in the presence of his disciples.
He had reproved the scribes and the Pharisees for their sins, and had
declared, in the previous chapter, the doom of the Jews, their city, and
their temple. The disciples supposed that the temple would stand forever,
and they called the attention of Christ to its magnificence and strength,
and to the great stones that entered into the structure. On this point the
historian of those times, Josephus, says: “Now the temple was built of
stones that were white and strong, and each of their lengths was twenty‐
five cubits, their height was eight, and their breadth about
twelve.”—_“__Antiquities,__”__ book xv, chap. xi._ If we compute a cubit
at twenty inches, we shall be able to gain some idea of the size and
“manner” of these stones.


    VERSE 2: “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things?
    Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon
    another, that shall not be thrown down.”

    VERSE 3: “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples
    came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things
    be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of
    the world?”


This statement from the Master could not but deeply interest the
disciples. And it matters not whether they supposed that the destruction
of the temple, the coming of Christ, and the end of the age, would all
occur at the same time, or at different periods, since Christ, in his
answer in this chapter, has distinctly spoken of each separately, and has
given each its place in the prophetic history of events. If it were their
impression that the overthrow of the temple and the end of the world would
occur at the same time, it by no means proves that this would be the case.
As the Scriptures show, up to the time of the out‐pouring of the Holy
Spirit on the day of Pentecost, their ideas upon many points were crude
and inaccurate. Take as proof of this the parable which the Lord spake
when he was going into Jerusalem. Luke 19. They thought that the kingdom
of God should immediately appear. To correct this impression, the parable
of the nobleman was spoken. If they understood the parable at the time
when it was spoken, it did not fully eradicate the impression from their
minds, as is proved by what they did when they entered Jerusalem. We
cannot believe that they would have hailed him as the Son of David, and
rejoiced before him as a King in his triumph, if they had realized that he
was going into the city to be condemned and crucified as a malefactor.
Palm branches and shouts of triumph did not attend the steps of the lowly
and the condemned.

John admits for himself and Peter, after they had seen the empty
sepulcher, that “they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from
the dead.” John 20:9.

Again, after his resurrection, Jesus reproved two of his disciples, who,
though they had trusted that he would redeem Israel, were then sad and
disheartened. They did not then understand that Christ ought “to have
suffered these things, and to enter into his glory.” The suffering part
was still a mystery to them. And some of the apostles were so slow to
realize that which he had spoken to them, that they could hardly be
persuaded that he was indeed risen from the dead. And after he had been
with them full forty days, speaking to them of the things pertaining to
the kingdom, they did not yet understand “the times and the seasons,” and
therefore asked him, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the
kingdom to Israel?”

However the matter may have been entertained in the minds of the
disciples, it is evident that their query consisted of two distinct
questions in the mind of the Saviour. These questions relate, first, to
the destruction of Jerusalem; and, second, to Christ’s second coming at
the end of the world or age. They were distinctly answered by our Lord;
not, however, before the promiscuous multitude; but on the occasion of a
private interview with his disciples. Christ here speaks to his disciples;
hence his words in this prophetic discourse are addressed especially to
the church.


    VERSES 4, 5: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed
    that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I
    am Christ, and shall deceive many.”


Jesus knew the hearts of men, and that many impostors would arise, and
deceive multitudes. He here warns his disciples, and guards them against
the deceptions of corrupt and ambitious men. Such was the general
expectation of the appearance of the Messiah among the Jews, that many
would set up the claim that they were the Christ, to carry out selfish
purposes, or to gain notoriety, and the credulous people would be easily
led into the deception, and then be destroyed for sedition. We are
informed that in the days succeeding those of Christ, impostors arose in
great numbers. Josephus tells us of an Egyptian false prophet who led
30,000 men into the desert to show them signs, and then brought them to
Jerusalem as if to attack the city. He caused great pillage and
destruction in Judea, but in the time of battle, ran away, leaving his
followers to the exasperated Romans.—_“__Wars of the Jews,__”__ book ii,
chap. xiii._

                              [Illustration]

                            Ancient Jerusalem


In the former part of the second century Cazibee set himself at the head
of the Jewish nation and proclaimed himself their long‐expected Messiah.
To facilitate the success of his bold enterprise he changed his name to
that of Barchocheba, alluding to the Star foretold by Balaam. Adrian
raised an army, and sent it against him. He retired into a town called
Bither, where he was besieged. Barchocheba was killed in the siege, the
city was taken, and a dreadful havoc succeeded. The Jews themselves allow
that, during this short war against the Romans in defense of this false
Messiah, they lost five or six hundred thousand souls.—_Buck’s
Dictionary._

Dr. A. Clarke says, on the authority of Josephus, that “a few years
afterward, under the reign of Nero, while Felix was procurator of Judea,
impostors of this stamp were so frequent that some were taken and killed
almost every day.” And at intervals since then the Jews who are all the
time expecting the appearance of the Messiah have been repeatedly the
victims of cruel deception.


    VERSE 6: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that
    ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but
    the end is not yet.”


It is proper that we should consider what is meant by the term “the end,”
used in this verse; in verse 14, “then shall the end come;” and in verse
3, “the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world.” In the first place,
it may be unhesitatingly claimed that the term does not refer to the end
of the Jewish dispensation, which terminated at the crucifixion, nor to
the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred about forty years later.
Because, first, Jesus treated the question concerning the destruction of
the temple and that referring to his coming and the end of the world as
relating to two distinct events, widely separated in time. Second, the
signs which were to be premonitory of the end did not transpire before the
destruction of the temple. Third, the second coming of Christ, the close
of probation, the judgment, the resurrection, and the end of sin, death,
and mortality, are frequently and prominently associated together in the
Bible as constituting the most important epoch in human history. To limit
this thrilling discourse to the local and long past destruction of
Jerusalem would be to rob it of its force and grandeur. Not only would the
twenty‐fourth of Matthew which we are now studying be stultified, but very
much of the life and power of the Scriptures would be sacrificed by such a
course.

As to the meaning of the phrase, “the end of the world,” it may
consistently be translated “the end of the age,” and in the margin of the
Revised Bible it is rendered “the consummation of the age.” For an
inspired definition of the term, let the reader turn to Matt. 13:38‐40 and
its context, where the same words are used and repeated in the original:—


    “The tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that
    sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and
    the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered
    and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
    The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather
    out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do
    iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall
    be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


From Rev. 14:14‐16 we learn that the harvest of the earth and the second
coming of Christ are identical. So that by no possible means could it be
established that the “end of the world” means the destruction of
Jerusalem. Further evidence is found in Matt. 28:20 where the same
expression, both in the original and in the translation, is used: “Lo I am
with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” But no one would have the
audacity to claim that this promise expired in A. D. 70, as it must have
done if those questions of the disciples and the subsequent discourse of
Christ related only to the impending doom of the temple and city.


    VERSES 7, 8: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom
    against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and
    earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of
    sorrows.”


Wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes have occurred all along since
these words were spoken. Therefore, these, as they have ever existed,
cannot be regarded as the especial signs of the end. It may be claimed,
however, with a good degree of consistency, that the Scriptures teach that
these calamities would abound in the last days to such an extent as to
constitute a sign of the approaching Judgment. We wish to keep the
important fact distinctly before the mind, that the sacred Scriptures do
teach when men may not, and when they may, look for the second appearing
of Christ.

The sacred writers have so uniformly associated such judgments as war,
famine, pestilence, and earthquake, with the last Judgment, that the
disciples would be in danger of concluding that the end would immediately
follow the first appearance of these calamities; hence the caution given:
“These things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Here the
disciples were clearly taught that they should not expect the end in their
day. This fact is worthy of the candid attention of those who object to
the proclamation of the second advent of Christ in the form of an especial
message. These sometimes assert that it was right for the disciples to
look for Christ in their day, and that it has been scriptural and right
for all Christians to look for the second appearing of Christ in their
time, from the days of the chosen twelve to the present time. And they
decide that no more can be learned and believed upon this subject in our
time than by the Christians of past generations, and that the public mind
should not now be moved upon this great question, any more than in all
past time since the first advent of Christ.

We have seen that this position is incorrect so far as the early disciples
were concerned. They are directed to the distant future as the time when
their Lord should come. They are assured that they need not be troubled at
hearing of wars and rumors of wars; “for all these things must come to
pass, but the end is not yet.” Our Lord then guides the minds of his
disciples, as we shall see in the examination of this chapter, down over
the time of the great apostasy, and the long period of the rule of papal
Rome, before mentioning a sign of his second advent. He does not intimate
that his people during these long periods may expect the end. No, not
once. But when he comes to a later time, the Lord names signs in the sun,
in the moon, and in the stars, and adds: “When ye shall see all these
things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”

Mark this: Our Lord does not mention wars, famines, pestilences, and
earthquakes as signs of his second advent; but rather as events of common
occurrence all the way through the Christian age, which must exist before
the end. And history attests the fact that these calamities have covered
at least seventeen centuries. The following is from a work of Noah
Webster, LL. D., published in 1799:—


    “By famine and sword, 580,000 Jews were destroyed between A. D. 96
    and A. D. 180.

    “In Antioch, from A. D. 96 to A. D. 180, earthquakes destroyed 13
    cities and over 100,000 lives.

    “In Rome, A. D. 169, pestilence destroyed 10,000 daily.

    “In Rome, A. D. 187, pestilence appeared and continued three
    years.

    “In London, A. D. 310, by famine, 40,000 died.

    “In A. D. 446, September 17, an earthquake shook down the walls of
    Constantinople, and 57 towers fell.

    “In Rome, A. D. 539, in one district 50,000 died.

    “In Antioch, A. D. 588, an earthquake killed 60,000.

    “In A. D. 542, the plague killed 10,000 in one day in Turkey.

    “In A. D. 679, a severe famine in England, three years.

    “In A. D. 717, in Constantinople, 300,000 died of plague.

    “In A. D. 1005, earthquakes three months, followed by pestilence,
    by which it is said one third of the human race died.

    “In A. D. 1077, in Constantinople, so many died by plague and
    famine the living could not bury them.

    “In A. D. 1124, in Italy, there was such famine that the dead lay
    in the streets not buried; and in England one third of the people
    died of plague.

    “In A. D. 1294, in England thousands died of famine.

    “In A. D. 1346, in London, 50,000 died of plague and famine, and
    were buried in one grave‐yard; in Norwich, 50,000; in Venice,
    100,000; in Florence, 100,000; in Eastern nations, 20,000,000. It
    was called the black death.

    “In A. D. 1352, in China, 900,000 died of famine.

    “In A. D. 1427 in Dantzic, 80,000 died of plague.

    “In A. D. 1570, in Moscow, 200,000 died of plague.

    “In A. D. 1572, in Lyons, 50,000 died of plague.

    “In A. D. 1625, in London, 35,000 died of plague.

    “In A. D. 1656, in Naples, 300,000 died of plague.

    “In A. D. 1665, in London, 68,000 died of plague.

    “In A. D. 1755, an earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon,
    killing 50,000. In Mitylene, and the Archipelago, it shook down
    2000 houses. It shook all the Spanish coast. The plague followed,
    which destroyed 150,000 persons in Constantinople.”


Doubtless the figures in the above list should in some instances be
corrected to correspond with facts. But, taken as a whole, they do not
nearly represent the ravages of death in their enormity. For instance, the
Encyclopedia Britannica states that Hecker estimates the celebrated “black
death” of the fourteenth century in the different epidemics, to have swept
away one fourth of the inhabitants of Europe, or 25,000,000 people!



Persecution And False Prophets.


                              [Illustration]

                            Martyrdom of Huss


    VERSES 9, 10: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and
    shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s
    sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one
    another, and shall hate one another.”


Here is a brief description of the afflictions and martyrdom of the church
of Christ. Thousands of the faithful followers of Jesus were most cruelly
put to death by pagan Rome; yet the prophecy doubtless applies more
particularly to the long period of papal persecutions, in which not less
than fifty millions of Christians were put to death in the most cruel
manner that wicked men and demons could devise. In these verses we are
brought down over the long period of the martyrdom of the church of Jesus
Christ, to near the present generation. These verses being parallel with
verses 21 and 22, this subject will be noticed again.


    VERSE 11: “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive
    many.”


A true prophet is one who speaks for God. The spirit of prophecy is the
testimony of Jesus. Rev. 19:10. It is Jesus Christ speaking through human
lips or pen to his people. _Pseudo_, or false prophets, speak through the
agency of wicked spirits and the power of Satan. Their work is to deceive.
And while this is true of those who are under the direct inspiration of
superior beings, good or evil, it is true in a more restricted sense that
consecrated teachers of divine truth may be regarded as God’s prophets;
and teachers of error may properly be called false prophets. True and
false prophets may be known.

                              [Illustration]

                             The Crucifixion


The prophets of God are teachers of purity, reprovers of sin, and faithful
in warning the people of coming dangers. The duties of those whom God
calls to speak in his great name are clearly expressed by the sacred
writers. We here quote from three of them:—


    ISA. 58:1: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a
    trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of
    Jacob their sins.”

    JOEL 2:1: “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my
    holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for
    the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.”

    2 TIM. 4:1, 2: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord
    Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his
    appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season,
    out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long‐suffering and
    doctrine.”


False prophets do not reprove the people for their sins, and do not warn
them of coming danger; but they proclaim peace to the sinner. Their
teachings lead from God and his word, and are such as please the
unconverted mind. The inspired writers have also spoken definitely of the
testimony and work of false prophets. We here give several for example:—


    EZE. 13:9, 10: “And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see
    vanity, and that divine lies. They shall not be in the assembly of
    my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the
    house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel;
    and ye shall know that I am the Lord God. Because, even because
    they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no
    peace; and one built up a wall, and lo, others daubed it with
    untempered mortar.”

    JER. 6:13, 14: “For from the least of them even unto the greatest
    of them, every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet
    even unto the priest, every one dealeth falsely. They have healed
    also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying,
    Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”

    JER. 14:13, 14: “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, the prophets
    say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have
    famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place. Then the
    Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name. I sent
    them not, neither spake unto them.”


After stating the duty of the faithful servant of God to preach the word,
to reprove, to rebuke, and exhort with all long‐suffering and doctrine,
the apostle says:—


    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
    but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,
    having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the
    truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Tim. 4:3, 4.


That time has now fully come. The people choose pleasing fables, which do
not disturb them in their sins, rather than the reproving, searching
declarations of the word of God. They love to be deceived by the teachings
of false prophets, and “say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets,
Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy
deceits.” Isa. 30:10.


    “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord. Shall not my
    soul be avenged on such a nation as this? A wonderful and horrible
    thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and
    the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have
    it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jer. 5:29‐31.


The ears of the people are filled with the pleasing fables of the world’s
conversion, a good time coming, and that we are just entering the golden
age. The threatenings of God’s word on the proud, the haughty, the vain,
the rich, the sinners in Zion, and those out of Zion, are kept back by the
false teachers of these times. Many of them even dare to teach that the
moral code of the ten commandments is abrogated. And as the result of such
a course, and of such teaching, we see in the professed church of Jesus
Christ, that



Iniquity Abounds.


    VERSE 12: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many
    shall wax cold.”


It is evident that both the abounding of iniquity and the waxing cold of
the love of many, are fulfilled in the professed church of Jesus Christ.
Men must first experience the love of God and of heavenly things before
that love can grow cold. Hence, common, unconverted sinners are not here
referred to as apostatizing. And, again, the prevalence of iniquity in the
unconverted world alone, would stimulate the church to greater diligence,
and more godliness, instead of being a cause of apostasy. Hence, the
iniquity here mentioned is in the very heart of the professed church,
diffusing its chilling influence through the whole body. As the result,
the love of many has grown cold. With this, agree the words of the
apostle:—


    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,
    proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    without natural affection, truce‐breakers, false accusers,
    incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors,
    heady, high‐minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from
    such turn away.” 2 Tim. 3:1‐5.


Here is a catalogue of eighteen sins, all resting upon those having a form
of godliness. These are not infidels and common worldly sinners, for they
have not a form of godliness; but they are men and women professing to be
followers of Jesus Christ. And although they make a profession of piety as
high as heaven, these very sins lie at their doors. And by reason of their
example, and their chilling influence, many are led from the humble path
to heaven, and their love waxes cold.

                              [Illustration]

                              The Ascension



The End.


    VERSE 13: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall
    be saved.”


As before noted, the word _end_, whenever used in this chapter, refers to
the end of the age, and to nothing else. It is the end associated in the
New Testament with the second appearing of Jesus Christ. If it be urged
that the word “end” has reference to the close of mortal life, then we
reply that the disciples did not ask their Lord (see verse 3) when they
should die; but “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of
the world?” Neither does the Lord speak of death, when he says (see verse
6), “But the end is not yet.” And it would be strange indeed to suppose
that the word “end” (verse 14) meant death. If any think such a position
admissible, let them read it into the text, as follows: And this gospel of
the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all
nations, and then shall death come. Absurdity!


    VERSE 14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached In all
    the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end
    come.”


This is the first sign of the end given by our Lord in answer to the
question, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the
world?”

But it is robbed of its distinct power by that interpretation, sometimes
given, by which it is assumed that all men will receive the gospel and be
converted, and that then instead of the end, there will ensue a thousand
years in which all shall know the Lord. After this long period of peace
and safety, the end will come. How much is assumed on this text will
appear when we consider that the text does not say that every individual
will even hear this gospel of the kingdom. It does not state that any one
will be converted and made holy by it. And we find it far from intimating
that the world will be converted and remain so one thousand years. We have
no reason to conclude that greater measure of success is implied in this
text than that which has always attended the preaching of the gospel.
While a few have believed and received it, the great mass of men have
passed it by unheedingly. The text simply states: First, “And this gospel
of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world;” second, “For a witness
unto all nations;” third, “And _then_ [not one thousand years later, but
THEN] shall the end come.”

But to what does the term “gospel of the kingdom” refer? The query
sometimes rises as to whether the gospel in the common acceptation of the
word, or a gospel peculiarly related to the second coming of Christ is
here meant. No such distinction is to be drawn. There neither is, has
been, nor will be more than one gospel. “But though we, or an angel from
heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached
unto you, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:8.

The gospel, then, in this instance, is the same as Paul preached, which
was the “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” But in
Rev. 14:6 and 7 we read:—


    “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the
    everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth,
    and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying
    with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour
    of his judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven, and
    earth, and the sea, and the fountain of waters.”


The gospel is here called the “everlasting gospel,” and must necessarily
be referred to the gospel of Christ. In connection with the preaching of
that gospel, was the proclamation that the judgment hour had come. Not
that this message was appended to the gospel, but the angel who had the
everlasting gospel to preach said, “Fear God ... for the hour of his
judgment is come.”

The gospel of Jesus Christ embraces all truth relating to salvation. The
warnings, counsel, invitations, promises, precepts, prophecies, or
whatever the Lord would have the people hear,—the gospel embraces them
all. In the days of Noah, the gospel included repentance, faith,
obedience, with the promises of grace and mercy; it also included the
warning of the impending judgment. And the only way to escape that
judgment was through the gospel. So here in Revelation we have the gospel
with all it implies, including the message of Christ’s second coming and
kingdom and the judgment. Closely associated with this message are two
others as given in Rev. 14:8‐12. The first is merged into these. Then
immediately following their proclamation we have the following scene:—


    “And I looked and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat
    like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and
    in his hand a sharp sickle.... And he that sat on the cloud thrust
    in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” Rev.
    14:14‐16.


In Rev. 14:6‐16, then, we learn what is the meaning of the term “gospel of
the kingdom.” It is _the_ gospel, and it embraces the admonitions and
instructions relative to the second coming of Christ. And now that we have
reached that time, the complete gospel embraces the good news of the
coming kingdom with appropriate warnings and teachings. Our Saviour says
it “shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.”
The Revelator says the message is to be preached “to every nation,
kindred, tongue, and people.” When this shall be done, the end will come.

The world‐wide proclamation of the soon coming of Christ was inaugurated
about 1832. Since that time, the work of extending its warning voice has
gone on. A most remarkable feature of this movement is the fact that in
different countries individuals were moved upon, almost simultaneously, to
study the prophecies and proclaim the nearness of the end, although they
knew nothing of what was being done by others. In the United States and
Canada, in Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and in Asia, a profound
interest in this subject was created, and people were led to expect the
early appearance of Jesus. Since that time clearer light has appeared in
connection with the other messages of Revelation 14, and still the work is
onward. Wherever the light of the Bible has penetrated, the good news of
the coming Saviour is now going. Not only so, but messengers bearing this
gracious warning are rapidly finding their way into the dark portions of
the earth. Evidence of its extent and progress might be expressed in facts
and figures, but the rapid development of the work would soon leave these
in the rear. Let it suffice to say that at present the everlasting gospel
is being preached and published in all the leading languages and countries
of the world. The work has encircled the globe. It is rapidly reaching
every nation. We now wait for the approaching end; for when the purpose of
God in the proclamation of the coming reign of Christ shall be fully
accomplished, then the end will come.

Thus far in this discourse Jesus has passed over the entire Christian
dispensation. Beginning with a warning against the deceptions that were to
succeed his own times, he next describes wars and disasters, persecutions,
apostasy, the perils of the last days, and closes with a distinct sign of
the end.



WHEN SHALL THESE THINGS BE?


    VERSES 15‐20: “When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of
    desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy
    place (whoso readeth, let him understand); then let them which be
    in Judea flee into the mountains; let him which is on the housetop
    not come down to take anything out of his house; neither let him
    which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe
    unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those
    days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither
    on the Sabbath day.”


Our Lord having in verses 5‐14, passed over the important events in the
Christian age down to the end, goes back and introduces in verse 15 the
destruction of Jerusalem, in answer to the inquiry, “When shall these
things be?” Luke’s version of this language is, “When ye shall see
Jerusalem encompassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof
is nigh.” Luke 21:20. By this we know that the term “abomination of
desolation” refers to the Roman army. This desolating power is spoken of
by Daniel as follows:—


    “And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the
    city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood,
    and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.... And for
    the over‐spreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even
    until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon
    the desolate.” Margin, “desolator.” Dan. 9:26, 27.


                              [Illustration]

                    Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus


Here is a clear prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman
armies. Our Lord referred to the book of Daniel, and taught his disciples
to read and understand it; and when they should see take place what was
there predicted, they must make their escape.

It would seem to be impracticable to flee from a city after it was
encompassed with armies; but our Saviour did not speak at random. Josephus
tells us that Cestius, the Roman general who first led the attack upon
Jerusalem, became dismayed at the apparent forces and strength of the
city, and after having surrounded the city raised the siege. The historian
says: “He retired from the city, without any reason in the
world.”—_“__Wars,__”__ book ii, chap. xix._ And in the first words of the
succeeding chapter he further states: “After this calamity had befallen
Cestius, many of the most eminent Jews swam away from the city, as from a
ship when it was going to sink.”

Dr. A. Clarke, commenting on verse 16, says:—


    “This counsel was remembered and wisely followed by the Christians
    afterwards. Eusebius and Epiphanius say, that at this juncture,
    after Cestius Gallus had raised the siege, all who believed in
    Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond
    Jordan.”


The flight of the Christians of Judea to the mountains would be attended
with difficulties. And their subsequent condition would be that of
hardship and suffering. The Lord knew this, and gave them the instructions
and warnings necessary. The statement of verse 19 was given to save them
from the sorrows of unnecessary woe. That was a time of trouble.

Jesus recognizes the existence of the Sabbath, in verse 20, as late as the
destruction of Jerusalem, as verily as he does the seasons of the year.
_The Sabbath_, is the uniform term of both Testaments to designate the
very day on which Jehovah rested after the creation, the day upon which he
put his blessing, and which he set apart for man. Not only in this
instance does our Saviour show his regard for the sacred day of rest, but
in his life he kept it (see Luke 4:16); in his teaching he upheld it, and
taught its true character (Matt. 12:12); and when he lay in the tomb, the
devout women reverently rested “according to the commandment.” He himself
is Lord of the Sabbath, and he declares that it was made for man. Mark
2:27, 28. Jesus does not speak of the Sabbath as being only a seventh part
of time, or one day in seven, and no day in particular. The Sabbath is the
term used, referring to the last day of the first week of time, and to the
last day of each subsequent week.

It is thus that Jesus answered the question, “When shall these things be?”
He now proceeds to answer the second great question.



WHAT SHALL BE THE SIGN OF THY COMING?


    VERSE 21: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not
    since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall
    be.”


It is not surprising, perhaps, that upon a casual reading some should
conclude that this verse had its fulfillment at the siege of Jerusalem by
Titus. It was a time of great suffering, and the verse follows so closely
those which relate to the destruction of the city, that this explanation
suggests itself readily enough. But for good reasons we cannot accept that
application of this verse. Jesus is giving a continuous prophecy. The
narrative proceeds from verse to verse along the line of the entire
dispensation.

The “great tribulation” mentioned in verse 21 is that of the church of
Christ, and not the tribulation of the Jews at the destruction of
Jerusalem. We offer the following reasons for so deciding:—

1. It is a fact that the tribulation of the Christian church, especially
under the reign of the papacy, was greater than God’s people had suffered
before “since the beginning of the world.” The tribulation of the
Christian church has been greater than it will ever be again. True, a time
of trouble “such as never was,” spoken of in Dan. 12:1, is coming _upon
the wicked_; but we find in the same verse this blessed promise, “And at
that time thy people shall be delivered.” The tribulation of the Jews at
the destruction of Jerusalem was not greater than the world will ever
witness. The vials of Jehovah’s unmingled wrath are yet to be poured out,
not upon the people of one nation only, but upon the guilty people of all
nations.


    “The slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the
    earth even unto the other end of the earth; they shall not be
    lamented, neither gathered, nor buried.” Jer. 25:33.


2. If the tribulation be applied to the Jews, or to any other class of
unbelieving men, it cannot be harmonized with Dan. 12:1, which speaks of
the time of trouble such as never was, when Michael shall stand up.
Certainly there cannot be two times of trouble at different periods,
greater than ever was or ever would be. Therefore the “tribulation” spoken
of in Matt. 24:21, 29, applies not to the Jews, but to the church of
Christ, extending through the 1260 years of papal persecution; and the
“trouble” mentioned in Dan. 12:1, to the unbelieving world, to be
experienced by them in the future.

                              [Illustration]

                        St. Bartholomew Massacre.


3. The period of tribulation was shortened for the elect’s sake. This
cannot refer to the Jews, for their house had been pronounced desolate.
They were left of God in their hardness of heart and blindness of mind.
Says Paul, “Lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” The elect were the followers of
our Lord Jesus Christ. And where were they when tribulation was upon the
Jews?—They had fled to the mountains. It is absurd, then, to say that the
days of tribulation of the Jews in the city of Jerusalem, were shortened
for the sake of the elect, who had fled from the place of tribulation.
Moreover the tribulation that came upon Jerusalem was not restrained or
modified, but continued until the city was destroyed and its people were
given to the sword and to captivity.

4. The connection between verses 20 and 21 shows that the tribulation was
to commence with those Christians who were to flee out of the city. “But
pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath‐day;
for then shall be great tribulation.” Our Lord here speaks of the
tribulation which his people would suffer from the time of their flight
onward. We follow them in their flight to the mountains, and then pass
along down through the noted persecutions of the church of God under pagan
Rome, and we see, indeed, _tribulation_. And when we come to the period of
papal persecutions, we see them suffering the most cruel tortures, and
dying the most dreadful deaths that wicked men and demons could inflict.
This last period is especially noted in prophecy.

The prophet Daniel saw the papacy, its blasphemy, its ignorance, its work
of death on the saints, and its duration as a persecuting power, under the
symbol of the little horn.

                              [Illustration]

                     Taking the Pope Prisoner. 1798.


    “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall
    wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times
    and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and
    times and the dividing of time.” Dan. 7:25.


It is generally admitted that “a time and times and the dividing of time”
is 1260 years. The proof of it may readily be seen by comparing Rev.
12:14, 6; 13:5, with the scripture just quoted. In these passages we learn
that “time, times, and the dividing of time” is equivalent to a thousand
two hundred and threescore days, which equals three and one half Biblical
years, or “forty and two months.” Applying the scriptural rule of
interpretation, a day for a year (Eze. 4:6), we have 1260 years.

This period is to cover the supremacy of the papacy. The beginning of it
will be the point of the establishment of the power of the papacy. This
was the year 538 A. D. Justinian, emperor of Rome, with his capital at
Constantinople, espoused the cause of the bishop of Rome; and in 533 A. D.
issued a decree which constituted that prelate head of all the churches.
But the Arian Ostrogoths had possession of Rome, and it was not until they
had been rooted up that the city was accessible to the bishop. This was
accomplished in 538, by Belisarius, Justinian’s celebrated general. For a
concise and clear account of this occurrence we refer the reader to the
“Two Republics,” by A. T. Jones, pp. 551‐553.

Commencing the 1260 years A. D. 538, they reach to A. D. 1798, when
Berthier, a French general, took possession of Rome. The pope was made a
prisoner and carried with violence away from his palace and out of Italy.
The papacy was stripped of its civil power. Here ended the days of
tribulation spoken of by our Lord, which were—



Shortened For The Elect’s Sake.


    VERSE 22: “And except those days should be shortened, there should
    no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be
    shortened.”


The papacy was clothed with civil power to punish heretics, which it held
for 1260 years; and had not the period of tribulation of the elect in the
providence of God been shortened, the martyrdom of the church would have
continued to 1798, in which event, no flesh of the elect would have been
saved. But the Reformation under Martin Luther, and those associated with
this great reformer, modified this tribulation, and continued to restrain
the rage and power of the papacy until the suppression of the Jesuits in
1773, since which time, there has been no general persecution waged
against the church. Thus we are brought in this prophetic discourse of our
Lord, down into the eighteenth century, very near the present time. We
would naturally expect, then, that the instructions and warnings which
follow would be applicable to this generation.



Lo, Here, And Lo, There.


    VERSES 23‐27: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is
    Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false
    christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and
    wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive
    the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they
    shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth:
    behold: he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the
    lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west;
    so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”


In these verses the great theme of Christ’s second coming is again vividly
brought forth. Satan is ever on the alert to contravene by some device or
art, the work of God. His most successful plan is to deceive. By this
means he gains ready access to all such as desire to evade the force of
truth. And having deceived an individual, he not only prevents his
salvation, but gains to himself an adherent if not an active agent. So, as
the time for the second advent draws near, the enemy becomes particularly
active, knowing that he hath but a short time. In the words last quoted
our Lord seeks to prepare the minds of his people for the deceptions that
are to be practiced upon those who live near the time of his second
coming. There will be those who will cry, “Lo, here; or Lo, there,” some
will even claim to be Christ. They will purport to represent the truth in
regard to Christ’s coming in various plausible or fanatical ways. Others,
in order to reach other minds, will present theories of human device
accounting for the advent of Christ in various so‐called rational schemes.
Many sincere people will be led to expect the conversion of the world
through a millennium of peace. Others will be persuaded that the coming of
Christ means death. And even false prophets, showing great signs and
wonders, will appear. All these form an atmosphere of deception, the
miasma of which will stupefy, if it were possible, the elect of God.

In this fearful work will be engaged the notorious deceiver, the trained
agents of Satan, the worldly philosopher, worldly preachers, popular
ministers, critics of the Bible, and many whose eyes do not discern the
signs of the times. The Mormons call the people to the desert;
Spiritualism invites us to the secret chamber, where Satanic signs and
wonders are wrought to captivate the mind and divert it from the truth. Of
these “false prophets” Paul speaks in 1 Tim. 4:1:—


    “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some
    shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and
    doctrines of devils.”


In another scripture the apostle places the coming of Christ in connection
with—


    “The working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
    and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that
    perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they
    might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong
    delusions, that they should believe a lie.” 2 Thess. 2:9‐11.


These are some of the deceptions of which Christ is speaking in the text.
It is undoubtedly the work of modern Spiritualism. This work, in its
present form, originated in the year 1848, and constitutes and is to
constitute one of the most prominent signs of the end.

Let no one be deceived by any means. For these are but subterfuges. They
are not the coming of Christ. He has said, “I will come again, and receive
you unto myself.” John 14:3.

The angels said at his ascension,—


    “_This same Jesus_, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall
    _so come in like manner_ as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts
    1:11.


Paul tells us,—


    “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the
    voice of the archangel and with the trump of God.” 1 Thess. 4:16.


And here our Saviour says:—


    “As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth, unto the
    west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”


He will come literally, personally, the same Jesus who was here upon the
earth. Not in lowly form as an offering for sin, to be set at naught,
abused, and crucified, but in “all his glory” attended with “all the holy
angels.” Matt. 25:31. We shall know when he comes for “every eye shall see
him.” Rev. 1:7.

None of these evasions of the truth will ever be able to counterfeit the
real event. The Roman army did not come to Jerusalem in this way. Death
does not come in this way. The deceptive wonders of Spiritualism cannot
imitate the glory of Christ’s second coming. He will come in power and
great glory (verse 30); he will come in the glory of his Father (chapter
16:27); and in the glory of the holy angels (Luke 9:26); all the holy
angels shall come with him. Matt. 25:31. His coming will be as glorious
and resplendent as the lightning. When Jesus revealed himself to Saul of
Tarsus, there was a light above the brightness of the sun (Acts 26:13); of
the angel who appeared at the tomb after the resurrection of Jesus it is
said, “His countenance was like lightning” (Matt. 28:3); and Ezekiel says
of the messengers of the Most High, they “ran and returned as the
appearance of a flash of lightning.” Eze. 1:14.

When Jesus comes in the glory of his Father, with so glorious a train
attendant, his coming will indeed be as the lightning coming out of the
east and shining to the west, and no one will have any more occasion or
opportunity to say to his fellow, “See here,” than one would have to call
another to behold a gleam of lightning flashing through the heavens. The
vivid lightning flashing out of the distant east, and shining even to the
west, lights up the whole heavens. What, then, when the Lord comes in
flaming glory, and all the holy angels with him? The presence of only one
holy angel at the sepulcher where Christ lay dead, caused the Roman guard
to shake, and become as dead men. The light and glory of one angel
completely overpowered those strong sentinels. The Son of man is coming in
his own kingly glory, and in the glory of his Father, attended by all the
holy angels. Then the whole heavens will blaze with glory, and the whole
earth will tremble before him.



The Signs Of Christ’s Coming.


    VERSES 29‐31: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days
    shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
    and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the
    heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son
    of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth
    mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of
    heaven, with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels
    with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together
    his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the
    other.”


We have before seen that our Lord speaks in this chapter of the long
period of tribulation that was to come upon his followers, and we have
also seen how those days of tribulation were shortened for the elect’s
sake. Christ says that the sun should be darkened immediately after the
tribulation of those days. Mark in his gospel, gives it as follows:—


    “In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened,
    and the moon shall not give her light.” Mark 13:24.


This makes the time in which the sun was to be darkened more distinct and
definite. The days of tribulation were the 1260 years of papal supremacy,
beginning in 538 A. D. and ending with the capture of Rome and the pope by
the French in 1798. But we have already seen that the “tribulation” or
persecution of those days was “shortened” for the elect’s sake. That is,
the active persecution of the church by papal power ceased in 1773. Then,
according to Mark’s statement, the sun should be darkened between that
date and 1798. It was fulfilled. May 19, 1780, has passed into history as
“the dark day.”

This is a fact of so general knowledge that we need not consume space in
elucidating it. A few references to undoubted authorities will suffice.

Noah Webster’s dictionary, in the edition for 1869, under the head of
Explanatory and Pronouncing Vocabulary of Noted Names, says:—


    “_The dark day_, May 19, 1780—so called on account of a remarkable
    darkness on that day extending over all New England. In some
    places, persons could not see to read common print in the open air
    for several hours together. Birds sang their evening songs,
    disappeared, and became silent; fowls went to roost; cattle sought
    the barn‐yard; and candles were lighted in the houses. The
    obscuration began about ten o’clock in the morning, and continued
    till the middle of the next night, but with differences of degree
    and duration in different places. For several days previous, the
    wind had been variable, but chiefly from the south‐west and the
    north‐east. The true cause of this remarkable phenomenon is not
    known.”


From another good authority we quote:—


    “A solemn gloom of unusual darkness before ten o’clock,—a still
    darker cloud rolling under the sable curtain from the north and
    west before eleven o’clock,—excluded the light so that none could
    see to read or write in the House, even at either window, or
    distinguish persons at a small distance, or perceive any
    distinction of dress in the circle of attendants; wherefore, at
    eleven o’clock adjourned the House till two in the
    afternoon.”—_Journal of the Connecticut House of Representatives,
    Friday, May 19, 1780._


Herschel, the great astronomer, says:—


    “The dark day in Northern America was one of those wonderful
    phenomena of nature which will always be read with interest, but
    which philosophy is at a loss to explain.”


A contemporary paper contained the following:—


    “During the whole time a sickly, melancholy gloom overcast the
    face of nature. Nor was the darkness of the night less uncommon
    and terrifying than that of the day, for notwithstanding there was
    almost a full moon, no object was discernible but by the help of
    some artificial light, which seen from the neighboring houses and
    other places at a distance appeared through a kind of Egyptian
    darkness which seemed almost impervious to its rays. This unusual
    phenomenon excited the fears and apprehensions of many
    people.”—_Mass. Spy, Correspondence, 1780._


From another good authority we take the following:—


    “Almost, if not altogether alone as the most mysterious and as yet
    unexplained phenomenon of its kind in nature’s diversified range
    of events during the last century, stands the dark day of May 19,
    1780, a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens
    and atmosphere in New England, which brought intense alarm and
    distress to multitudes of minds, as well as dismay to the brute
    creation, the fowls fleeing, bewildered, to their roosts, and the
    birds to their nests, and the cattle returning to their stalls.
    Indeed thousands of the good people of that day became fully
    convinced that the end of all things terrestrial had come; many
    gave up, for the time, their secular pursuits, and betook
    themselves to religious devotions.”—“_Our First Century._”


An extract from a sermon preached at that time will be of interest:—


    “But especially I mention that _wonderful darkness_ on the 19th of
    May inst. [1780]. Then, as in our text, the sun was darkened; such
    a darkness as probably was never known before since the
    crucifixion of our Lord. People left their work in the house and
    in the field. Travelers stopped; schools broke up at eleven
    o’clock; people lighted candles at noonday; and the fire shone as
    at night. Some people, I have been told, were in dismay, and
    thought whether the day of Judgment was not drawing on. A great
    part of the following night also was singularly dark. The _moon,
    though in the full, gave no light_, as in our text.”—_From a
    manuscript sermon by Rev. Elam Potter, delivered May 28, 1780._


By the remarkable obscuration of the moon on the following night, the next
sign, “And the moon shall not give her light,” was fulfilled. Concerning
this it is only necessary to insert a few words:—


    “The night succeeding that day (May 19, 1780) was of such pitchy
    darkness that, in some instances, horses could not be compelled to
    leave the stable when wanted for service. About midnight, the
    clouds were dispersed, and the moon and stars appeared with
    unimpaired brilliancy.”—“_Stone’s History of Beverly._”


Mr. Tenny, of Exeter, N. H., quoted by Mr. Gage, to the Historical
Society, speaking of the dark day and dark night of May 19, 1780, says:—


    “The darkness of the following evening was probably as gross as
    has ever been observed since the Almighty first gave birth to
    light. I could not help conceiving at the time, that if every
    luminous body in the universe had been shrouded in impenetrable
    darkness, or struck out of existence, the darkness could not have
    been more complete. A sheet of white paper held within a few
    inches of the eye was equally invisible with the blackest velvet.”


Concerning a similar phenomenon in the Old World a reliable work says:—


    “Three years later, and Europe with its teeming millions went
    under as mysterious a cloud, which, though not so dense, yet
    continued longer and awoke a wonder and fear that was widely felt.
    A haze, for which no known cause was then assigned (though in
    subsequent years it has been supposed by some to have been
    volcanic dust), spread through the entire breadth of the
    atmosphere over all the continent far into Asia. It appeared in
    Denmark, May 29, reached France, June 14; Italy, June 16; Norway,
    June 22; Austria and Switzerland, June 23; Sweden, June 24; and
    Russia, June 25. By the close of the month it had overspread like
    a pall all Syria, and on July 18, had penetrated the heart of Asia
    to the Altai Mountains. The obscurity prevailed a greater portion
    of the summer, imparting to the sun an unnatural color of a dull,
    rusty red, and causing both the days and nights to wear a weird
    and gloomy aspect. The atmosphere was highly electric, and nature
    was greatly convulsed.

    “Dr. N. Webster in his valuable ‘History of Pestilences,’ vol. ii.
    p. 274, testifies to the general fear. As it was in America on the
    occurrence of the ‘dark day,’ so the churches in Europe were
    crowded with alarmed multitudes supplicating mercy of Heaven.
    Professor Lalande, the astronomer of France, attempted to quiet
    the popular fear by ascribing the darkened heavens to exhalations
    arising out of the earth; but both Webster and Humboldt (Cosmos
    IV., p. 75) rejected this solution of the mysterious obscurity.
    Protestant England shared in the alarm it occasioned; and the poet
    Cowper sang that all the elements ‘preached the general doom.’ It
    was to this unaccountable obscuration of light that he refers in
    his ‘Task:’—

    “ ‘Nature seems with dim and sickly eye
    To wait the close of all.’ ”

    —“_Great Consummation._”



“And The Stars Shall Fall.”


How this sign can be fulfilled is a query with some people, who, perhaps
captiously, remark that it would be impossible, since the earth itself is
but a small body compared with many of the vast worlds of space. But all
such queries are out of date now since the sign itself has already been
witnessed. On the night of November 13, 1833, the grandest display of
celestial fireworks ever beheld took place. From works of accepted
authority we take the following descriptions of this remarkable event:—


    “But the most sublime phenomenon of shooting stars, of which the
    world has furnished any record, was witnessed throughout the
    United States on the morning of the 13th of November, 1833. The
    entire extent of this astonishing exhibition has not been
    precisely ascertained; but it covered no inconsiderable portion of
    the earth’s surface.... The first appearance was that of fireworks
    of the most imposing grandeur, covering the entire vault of heaven
    with myriads of fire‐balls, resembling sky‐rockets. Their
    coruscations were bright, gleaming, and incessant, and they fell
    thick as the flakes in the early snows of December. To the
    splendors of this celestial exhibition the most brilliant sky‐
    rockets and fire‐works of art bear less relation than the
    twinkling of the most tiny star to the broad glare of the sun. The
    whole heavens seemed in motion, and suggested to some the awful
    grandeur of the image employed in the Apocalypse, upon the opening
    of the sixth seal, when ‘the stars of heaven fell unto the earth,
    even as a fig‐tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken
    of a mighty wind.’ ”—_Burritt’s __“__Geography of the
    Heavens,__”__ p. 163, ed. 1854._


                              [Illustration]

                            The Falling Stars.


A celebrated astronomer and meteorologist, says:—


    “Those who were so fortunate as to witness the exhibition of
    shooting stars on the morning of Nov. 13, 1833, probably saw the
    greatest display of celestial fire‐works that has ever been since
    the creation of the world, or at least within the annals covered
    by the pages of history.

    “In nearly all places the meteors began to attract notice by their
    unusual frequency as early as eleven o’clock, and increased in
    numbers and splendor until about four o’clock, from which time
    they gradually declined, but were visible until lost in the light
    of day. The meteors did not fly at random over all parts of the
    sky, but appeared to emanate from a point in the constellation
    Leo, near a star called Gamma Leonis, in the bend of the
    Sickle....

    “The extent of the shower of 1833 was such as to cover no
    inconsiderable part of the earth’s surface, from the middle of the
    Atlantic on the east to the Pacific on the west; and from the
    northern coast of South America to undefined regions among the
    British possessions on the north, the exhibition was visible, and
    everywhere presented nearly the same appearance. This is no longer
    to be regarded as a terrestrial but a celestial phenomenon, and
    shooting stars are now to be no more viewed as casual productions
    of the upper regions of the atmosphere, but as _visitants from
    other worlds_, or from the planetary voids.”—_Prof. Olmstead, of
    Yale College._

    “No philosopher or scholar has told or recorded an event, I
    suppose, like that of yesterday morning. A prophet 1800 years ago
    foretold it exactly, if we will be at the trouble of understanding
    stars falling to mean falling stars; or ‘_hoi asteres tou ouranou
    epesan eis teen geen_,’ in the only sense in which it is possible
    to be literally true.”—_Henry Dana Ward, in Journal of Commerce,
    Nov. 14, 1833._


Not only here in Matthew 24 is attention directed to these signs as
premonitory of the coming of Christ. The Lord through the prophet Joel
says:—


    “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
    before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.”


Under the sixth seal, as given in Rev. 6:12‐17, we have the following
language:—


    “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there
    was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of
    hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell
    unto the earth even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs when
    she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a
    scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island
    were moved out of their places.”


That the fourth and fifth seals apply to the papal persecution there can
be no reasonable doubt. If so, then the great earthquake with which the
sixth seal opens would be that of Lisbon, in 1755, which agitated the
greater part of the earth and destroyed many thousands of lives, 60,000 in
Lisbon alone.

The darkening of the sun and moon follows in 1780, and the falling of the
stars in 1833. Consequently the next event which we are to expect under
this seal is the departing of the heavens as a scroll. This being future,
we may say that we are living between the thirteenth and fourteenth verses
of Revelation 6.

In the gospel as written by Luke, however, we have at this point some
additional specifications given, which are of such interest at the present
juncture. And they rightfully belong to this exposition, since both
Matthew and Luke are giving versions of the same discourse. The passage
from Luke to which reference is made is the following:—


    “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the
    stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;
    the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear,
    and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:
    for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Luke 21:25‐27.


                              [Illustration]

                             Modern Cyclone.


The signs in the sun, moon, and stars are here spoken of less specifically
than by Matthew, while other features of the times, which Matthew does not
notice, are introduced between those signs and the shaking of the powers
of heaven. These are of peculiar interest to us because we are living in
the very days when the things that Luke speaks of are coming to pass. The
signs here predicted consist of violent commotions upon earth which cause
anxiety, perplexity, and distress among nations and in the hearts of men.
We may refer the expression, “the sea and the waves roaring,” to unusual
disturbances of the natural elements, and we have the most abundant
evidences of its fulfillment in the storms and convulsions of nature that
are occurring by sea and land, filling the heart with dread at the sight
of every dark cloud that arises. The tidal waves and volcanic upheavals at
sea have, in the last two or three decades, been marked with extraordinary
violence. On land, cyclones and earthquakes have carried on a fearful work
of destruction. Many instances might be cited to substantiate this
statement, but the events are too familiar to require it. Hardly a week
passes but some great calamity of this kind is recorded.

But the expression referred to is probably susceptible of another
application in which it will be found to be as forcible and pertinent to
the present state of affairs as in the one just noticed. This would be to
give the term “sea and waves” its symbolic meaning. The prophet of old
said: “And behold the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea.”
Dan. 7:2. We are told that the sea represents “peoples, and multitudes,
and nations, and tongues.” Rev. 17:15. Taking the words in this sense, the
meaning and fulfillment are still as apparent as before; and the
expression joins its force to that of the remainder of the passage—“upon
the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves
roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those
things which are coming on the earth.” In this sense the expression in
question would indicate commotion and violent disturbance in the social
and political world. In this meaning all will at once see the vivid force
of the text as applied to our times.

                              [Illustration]

                         Assassination of Carnot.


The times we live in are anomalous to any that have ever preceded us. For
some years there have been universal and active preparations for war, and
almost universal peace. To secure the greatest efficiency of armed forces
for defensive and offensive purposes, has been the prime consideration of
government, especially so, as far as the Old World nations are concerned.
Europe echoes to the tread of vast hosts of war while the nations are
driven to their wits’ end to provide for their support. It is well known
that these costly preparations are not for show; and the hearts of men
quail in view of the culmination which, though delayed, must soon be
reached.

But while the temple of Janus is closed as far as international strife is
concerned, and angel hands are holding the winds of war (see Rev. 7:1‐3),
internal strife and dissension are rending the vitals of the great nations
of earth. Within the confines of its own border, each of these nations is
cherishing elements of the deadliest nature. Trouble is brewing that has
for the people far more terror than foreign complications. For some time
the ominous mutterings of an oncoming storm have been heard in every land,
and it requires no remarkable acumen to discern the rapid approach of the
crisis.

The apostle James strikes directly at the matter in a prophetic glance and
exhortation in the following language:—


    “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that
    shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments
    are moth‐eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of
    them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as
    it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
    Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields,
    which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them
    which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of
    Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton;
    ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have
    condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” James
    5:1‐6.


The apostle locates the circumstances he here refers to in the last days.
He denounces the rich men who have heaped together treasures, the rust and
canker of which will be a witness against them. They live in pleasure and
wantonness while the cries of those whose wages they have kept back enter
into the ears of the Lord of Hosts.

There is a universal cry of hard times in all the world. It is hard to
obtain money; and yet, there never was so much money as at present. But it
is being collected—gathered in heaps—by the powerful few, while the
limited means of the masses are dwindling lower and lower. The poorer
classes witness the absorption of wealth by the money‐kings, with feelings
that are being aroused to the point of desperation by the sense of their
inability to secure what seems to them a more equitable distribution of
the things of this world. The laborers cry, and God hears their cry.

That these things are taking place to‐day as the most prominent feature of
our social life no one will for a moment deny. Such colossal fortunes the
world has heretofore at most but dreamed of. There are men living to‐day
who have risen in wealth from obscure stations to become lords of untold
millions. Their wealth passes the bounds of just computation, for it
includes the power of oppression by which it may be indefinitely
increased. The lavish expenditure of these means for selfish pleasure
often amounts to wantonness.

Well then, what is to be done? It is a difficult and delicate matter to
frame and secure legislation by which this or any other class of men shall
be deprived of the management of their own business as long as that
business is legitimate and is legitimately conducted. Shall anarchy and
violence be resorted to? Shall the laborer seize the torch and the weapons
of death? Shall the country be devastated by strikes, strife, and civil
war? Shall our communities be rent with murder, arson, treason, and
intense personal hatred and enmity? No one possessing the natural
instincts of humanity could contemplate such a condition of affairs except
with horror. There are ghouls of society who gloat in blood; but such are
not true citizens, they are not neighbors, they certainly are not
Christians.

But what shall we do as citizens, neighbors, and Christians? This is a
question of great importance just now. Inspiration long ago foresaw our
situation. The pitying Saviour long since anticipated the sufferings that
are to come upon this generation; and having, through his servant,
outlined the present condition of affairs so closely, he certainly would
not leave his followers uninformed as to the course he would have them
pursue. We have to read only two verses farther in James’s letter to find
the counsel we need.


    “_Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord._
    Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the
    earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early
    and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; _for
    the coming of the Lord draweth nigh_.” James 5:7, 8.


                              [Illustration]

                              Chicago Riot.


Oppression and revolt, combination and intrigue, strife and bloodshed,
never will cease until the supreme selfishness, which in the absence of
divine grace controls all men, gives place to true philanthropy, and a
brotherhood that is not outlined by class or sectional interests. This
happy time is coming. When Jesus comes, he will take to himself his power
and reign in righteousness. Then will the hills be brought low, the
valleys exalted, the crooked be made straight, and the rough places
smooth.

Those who are weary of strife, those who through misfortune or oppression
have been made to feel their need of relief will find rest to their souls
in looking for the coming of the Lord. It is vain to match evil with evil
or to try to cure wrong with wrong. The gospel of Christ is the only
remedy for these ills. And all that we can really do to counteract the
annoyances of this life must be done through the gospel of peace. In this
time of perplexity, distress, and fear, let every Christian hold up
Christ. Let his patient suffering be exemplified in whatever circumstances
may come. Just a little beyond, there is relief.

Strikes, boycotts, lock‐outs, trusts, unions, or any other human device or
demonstration only augments the trouble, as the experience of the past few
years shows. For there never was so much of these things as now, and never
was capital so insecure, business so uncertain, and labor in such distress
as at present. The employment of arbitrary force provokes greater efforts
on the opposite side, and thus the breach is widened and the strife
becomes more bitter. We do not argue the merits or demerits of the case.
That there is deep wrong involved, the fruits plainly show. It is our task
only to point out the one remedy available alike to either and all. That
remedy is the gospel of Christ, which is soon to close in a glorious
triumph for those who have patiently and faithfully wrought his will.



“The Powers Of Heaven Shall Be Shaken.”


We do not apprehend that this circumstance will occur as a sign of
Christ’s coming, but rather that it will constitute one of the events of
his coming, the same as the features mentioned in the next verse. An
evident distinction may be drawn between the _signs_ of the advent and the
circumstances of it. With the falling of the stars, the former cease; and
with the next event the latter commence. This event, the shaking of the
powers of heaven, we must regard as being future. It holds the same place
in the events of this chapter, that the departing of the heavens as a
scroll does in the events of the sixth seal of Revelation 6. Both follow
the falling stars. The Scriptures plainly teach that, prior to the
resurrection of the just by the voice of the Son of God, the voice of God
the Father will shake the heavens and the earth, when will be fulfilled
the shaking of the powers of the heaven. This is not the voice of the Son
of God as he descends to raise the dead. It comes from the throne of God
in the temple of heaven.


    “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from
    Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord
    will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children
    of Israel.” Joel 3:16.

    “Therefore will I shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove
    out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the
    day of his fierce anger.” Isa. 13:13.


Paul quotes from the words of the Lord by Haggai and comments as follows:—


    “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And
    this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things
    that are shaken.” Heb. 12:26, 27.



“Sign Of The Son Of Man.”


Neither is this one of the signs showing that the coming of the Son of man
is near, but “the sign of the Son of man in heaven.” It is that which
indicates his position. When Christ ascended from the mount of Olivet, “a
cloud received him” from the sight of his disciples. They still gazed at
the cloud as it rolled upward, bearing the Saviour toward the Father’s
throne but they could not see his person. When he comes “in like manner”
as he was taken up to heaven, the cloud will appear, small in the
distance, but as it draws near, it will signify to those who are looking
for his return, that he is there, and soon his presence will fill the
earth with matchless glory. In Rev. 14:14, the holy seer records his view
of the coming Saviour in the following words: “And I looked, and behold a
white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man.”

This is not a mass of vapor but a cloud of resplendent glory. He comes
“with power and great glory.” He will “come in the glory of his Father”
(Matt. 16:27); in his own glory, “and all the holy angels with him.” Matt.
25:31. The glory of the Father, of the Son, and of all the holy
angels—this glory will comprise the cloud which attends him on the way. Of
its intensity we can form no just conception. In the presence of one angel
the Roman guard “did quake and became as dead men.” There are ten thousand
times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of them in this throng.
Above the brightness of their glory is that of the Father and the Son.

At first the cloud is only perceptible, but as it approaches, it attracts
attention, and at length every eye is fastened intently upon the wonderful
spectacle. The trumpet resounds, the voice of the Archangel awakens the
dead, and they come forth to share in the glorious revelation of their
Redeemer. All nature is convulsed with her coming dissolution. Each moment
the glory draws nearer, and soon the wicked can no longer endure the
sight.


    “And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall
    see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and
    great glory.” Verse 30.


Again attention is directed to the parallel language of Rev. 6:15‐47:—


    “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men,
    and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man,
    and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of
    the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us,
    and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and
    from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is
    come; and who shall be able to stand?”


The prophet Isaiah describes the same thrilling event from the other
standpoint—that of the waiting people of God:—


    “He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe
    away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall
    he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it.
    And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have
    waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have
    waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
    Isa. 25:8, 9.


The apostle Paul gives a vivid description of the event with its attendant
circumstances as follows:—


    “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning
    them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which
    have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
    even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which
    are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent
    them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from
    heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the
    trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we
    which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them
    in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever
    be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:13‐17.


The once slighted, insulted, and crucified Saviour, now King of kings and
Lord of lords, is coming near the earth! His glory blazes everywhere! The
saints hope and rejoice with trembling. But what an hour for the wicked!
The tribes of the earth mourn. Amid the ruins of shivered creation they
hold one general prayer‐meeting. Kings and great men, rich men, chief
captains and mighty men, free and bond, all, yes, all unite in the general
wail. As the Son of man in the glory of his Father, attended by all the
holy angels, draws still nearer, consternation fills every breast. They
hide in dens and in the rocks of the mountains. Their only hope is to be
concealed from the glory of that scene. They know it is too late to pray
for mercy, that probation for the human family has ended forever.

But rocks cannot shelter them from the burning glory manifested by the
King of kings, attended by the whole heavenly host. When “the Son of man
shall come in the glory of the Father,” “and all the holy angels with
him,” no sinner can endure the scene and live. The exceeding brightness of
that vast multitude of angels, brighter than a thousand suns at noonday,
will pierce the sinner’s lowest hiding place, and will “make even a speedy
riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” Zeph. 1:18. The Son of man
will be seen “coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
But before his coming a great work will be done for his people. Should he
suddenly burst upon them now, they could not endure “the power and great
glory” of the scene. This subject is well illustrated by the following
words of the prophet:—


    “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord; his going
    forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the
    rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:3.


The morning is a beautiful figure of the opening glory of the day of God.
The day‐star first appears, then the dawn of day. And as the light of day
increases, the eyes are enabled to endure it, and view the sun shining in
his strength. But should the light of the sun burst upon the world
suddenly at midnight, no human eye could endure it.

So will the people of God be prepared to meet their coming King. They must
first break away from the love and cares of this world, and consecrate all
to the Lord. Then will they, in due time, share the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit “as the rain, as the latter and former rain upon the earth.” The
day‐star will arise in their hearts. 2 Peter 1:19. Those who have taken
heed to the sure word of prophecy through the dark, watching night, then
raise their heads in triumph. They are filled with faith and with the Holy
Spirit. Glory is poured upon them till they can gaze on Christ and angels.
The trumpet sounds. The angels are dispatched to the graves of the
righteous. The voice of the Son of God awakes the sleeping saints of all
ages. They come forth in immortal perfection and, as they leave the earth,
the living saints are changed. The “elect from one end of heaven to the
other,” each with an angel bright and strong to lead the way, are caught
up to meet the Lord, who waits in mid‐heaven to receive the purchase of
his blood. As language would fail to describe what follows, we leave the
reader to contemplate it, praying that we may be prepared to participate
in the meeting scene.



Parable Of The Fig‐Tree.


    VERSES 32, 33: “Now learn a parable of the fig‐tree; when his
    branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer
    is nigh. So likewise ye when ye shall see all these things, know
    that it [‘he,’ R. V.] is near, even at the doors.”


This parable is probably the most forcible figure that could be used with
which to illustrate this subject. When the trees of the field begin to put
forth their leaves, and the tender grass springs up, and the ground is
being covered with its green velvet carpet, we know that summer is nigh.
It is a certainty with us that summer is coming when we see these signs in
nature. We know that summer is nigh “_So, likewise_,” or, with the same
certainty, we may _know_ that Christ’s coming is near when the signs in
the sun, moon, and stars are fulfilled. How near?—Even at the doors. How
near may that be?


    VERSE 34: “Verily I say unto you. This generation shall not pass,
    till all these things be fulfilled.”


It is sometimes claimed that the generation spoken of was the one then
living. If so, it could have been to no greater extent than referring to
the answer of the question relating to the destruction of Jerusalem. But
it would be wholly illogical to limit the application of the statement to
that generation or to place its principal significance there. “All these
things” must include the signs and circumstances of which Christ has been
speaking. In the preceding verses he gives the parable of the fig‐tree,
and addresses those who are to be living at that time directly. “So
likewise _ye_, when _ye_ shall see all these things, _know_ that it is
near.” And then, “_This_ generation shall not pass.” What generation?
Evidently the one which he was addressing, and which saw “these things
come to pass.” Not only does such an interpretation do no violence to the
Saviour’s meaning, but it is obviously the only one that can be reasonably
entertained in regard to it.

Paul speaks in the first person of those who will be living when Jesus
comes, for he says, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” 1 Cor. 15:51,
52. Or, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thess. 4:17. The
things here mentioned by the apostle did not take place in his day. They
have not yet taken place. Notwithstanding, he speaks of them as though
they would take place in his day, and as if he were to have a part in
them.

The proclamation of the coming and kingdom of Christ is given to the last
generation. God sent Noah to preach to the last generation before the
flood, not to any preceding one. The very generation which was destroyed
by the waters of the flood saw Noah build the ark, and heard his warning
voice. So God has raised up men to give the solemn warning to the world at
the right time to give force to the warning. And the very generation of
men that live after the three great signs are fulfilled, and who hear and
reject the warning message of Heaven, will drink the cup of the unmingled
wrath of God. And those of this very generation who receive the message,
suffer disappointments, and endure the trials of the waiting position,
will witness the coming of Christ, and exclaim, “Lo, this is our God; we
have _waited_ for him, and he will save us.” Isa. 25:9.

With what emphasis our Lord gave utterance to this sentiment! It is a
rebuke upon our unbelief. As we read it, God help us to believe it:
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these
things be fulfilled.” And as though this were not enough to lead us to
unwavering faith, he adds these forcible words: “Heaven and earth shall
pass away but my words shall not pass away.”

The word and promises of men may fail; but Christ has given assurance that
his word, and his word in reference to this solemn truth, will stand
though heaven and earth fail.



“The Day And Hour.”


    VERSES 36, 37: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not
    the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe
    were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”


This has become a very familiar passage of scripture because of the
frequent use that is made of it to prove that nothing can be known of the
proximity of the second coming of Christ. But if we pause a moment and lay
beside this verse those we have just studied, we shall be able to discover
the exact truth at once. “When ye shall see these things, know that it is
near even at the doors;” and, “This generation shall not pass, till all
these things be fulfilled;” “But of that day and hour knoweth no man.” The
line of knowledge, then, lies between the former expressions and the
latter—between “even at the doors” and the definite day and hour. The
former we may know, and every Christian is commanded to know. The latter
no man knoweth. One may consistently say that he knows an event is near,
and yet say that he does not know the hour nor the day when it will take
place. That this is the scriptural teaching upon this point may be readily
proved by a reference to 1 Thess. 5:1‐4:—


    “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that
    I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of
    the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall
    say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them,
    as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But
    ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake
    you as a thief.”


An evident distinction is here drawn between two classes. Upon one class
the day of the Lord will come as a thief. Those of the other are not in
darkness that that day should come as a thief upon them. The children of
God are children of light. Their heavenly Father knows the end from the
beginning, and he has promised to reveal his secret to his people through
his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7.

The apostle Peter also bears testimony to the same truth.


    “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well
    that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place,
    until the day dawn and the day‐star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter
    1:19.


The dark place here spoken of is the future. The past is lighted up by
history, the present is brought to our knowledge by press and telegraph;
but the future no human art or wisdom can penetrate. Prophecy throws its
gleam into those dark regions, yet unexplored, and marks out the path of
human history centuries and ages before it has echoed to the footsteps of
mankind. When at last we pass along the pathway, we may, if we will,
recognize the waymarks set up here and there, every one of which is a
monument to the wisdom and knowledge of God, and the faithfulness of his
word. Those who have no eyes to discern these things, no ears to hear, nor
hearts to understand their significance, will pass on, and the final event
will come upon them unawares. Not so with those who take heed to the
things God has spoken.

We would not detract an iota from the force of the verse under
consideration. It means all it says. No man knows the definite time of
Christ’s coming. The day and hour, and even the year of the second advent
are purposely hidden. Some of the prophetic periods reach to the time of
the end, while others extend still farther down, very near to the end
itself; yet none of them reach to the coming of the Son of man. The
prophecies clearly point to the period of the second advent, but do not
give the definite time of that event.

But with this passage before us we may claim that it would be transcending
its meaning to claim upon its authority that nothing should or could be
known of the approach of Christ’s coming. More than that, it is not
inconsistent with the text nor improbable that prior to that event the
Lord will in his own way reveal that which has hitherto been withheld.
Those who claim that the text proves that nothing may be known of the
period of the second advent, make it prove too much for their own
unbelief. As recorded by Mark, the declaration reads: “But of that day and
that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither
the Son, but the Father.” If the text proves that men will know nothing of
the period of the second advent, it also proves that angels will know
nothing of it, and also that the Son will know nothing of it, till the
event takes place! This position proves too much, therefore proves nothing
to the point. Christ will know of the period of his second advent to this
world. The holy angels who wait around the throne of heaven to receive
messages relative to the part they act in the salvation of men, will know
of the time of this closing event of salvation. And so will the waiting,
watching people of God understand. An old English version of the passage
reads, “But that day and hour no man maketh known, neither the angels
which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” This is the correct
reading, according to several of the ablest critics of the age. The word
_know_ is used in the same sense here that it is by Paul in 1 Cor. 2:2:
“For I determined not to know [make known] anything among you, save Jesus
Christ and him crucified.” Men will not make known the day and hour,
angels will not make it known, neither will the Son; but the Father will
make it known. Says Campbell:—


    “Macknight argues that the term _known_ is here used as a
    causative, in the Hebrew sense of the conjugation _hiphil_, that
    is, _to make known_.... His [Christ’s] answer is just equivalent
    to saying, The Father will make it known when it pleases him; but
    he has not authorized man, angel, or the Son to make it known.
    Just in this sense, Paul uses the term _know_, 1 Cor. 2:2: ‘I came
    to you _making known_ the testimony of God; for I determined to
    _make known_ nothing among you but a crucified Christ.’ ”


Albert Barnes, in his “Notes on the Gospels,” says:—


    “Others have said that the verb rendered _knoweth_ means sometimes
    to _make_ known, or to reveal, and that the passage means, ‘that
    day and hour none maketh known, neither the angels, nor the Son,
    but the Father.’ It is true the word has sometimes that meaning,
    as 1 Cor. 2:2.”


When the patriarch’s work of warning and building was finished, God said
to him, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark.” “For yet seven days
and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights.”
So when the waiting, watching, weeping, toiling time shall be finished,
and the saints shall all be sealed, and shut in with God, then, we
conclude, will the voice of the Father from heaven make known the definite
time. See Rev. 16:17; Joel 3:16; Jer. 25:30.

The present is emphatically the waiting, watching time. It is the especial
period of the patience of the saints. The Lord appeals to us thus:—


    “Watch ye, therefore; for ye know not when the Master of the house
    cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the
    morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say
    unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Mark 13:35‐37.


One of the fatal consequences of not watching is distinctly stated in Rev.
3:3:—


    “If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a
    thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”


In consequence of not watching, the people will remain in ignorance of the
approach of that hour. And the unavoidable inference is that by watching
they will be aware of and prepared for its coming. In answer to the
agonizing prayer of the Son of God, “Father, glorify thy name,” there came
a voice from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify
it again.” The disciples understood these words from heaven, while the
people that stood by said it thundered. John 12:27‐29. So will the waiting
disciples of Christ understand the voice of God when he shall speak from
on high. But the unbelieving world will not understand it. In comparing
Noah’s days and ours, the Lord continues:—



Noah’s Time And Ours.


    VERSES 38, 39: “For as in the days that were before the flood,
    they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,
    until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until
    the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming
    of the Son of man be.”


A picture of the present condition of the mass of mankind is here drawn.
The people of the last generation will be like those before the flood,
while the ark was preparing. While Noah preached, and warned them of the
coming flood, they mocked. He built the ark; and they scoffed and jeered.
He was a preacher of righteousness. His works were calculated to give edge
to, and send home to the heart, what he preached. Every righteous sermon,
and every blow struck in building the ark, condemned a careless, scoffing
world. As the time drew nearer, the people grew more careless, more
hardened, more bold and impudent, and their condemnation surer. Noah and
his family stood alone. And could one family know more than all the world?
The ark was a matter of ridicule, and Noah was regarded as a willful
bigot.

But the Lord calls Noah into the ark. And by the hand of Providence the
beasts are led into the ark; and the Lord shuts Noah in. This is regarded
at first by the scoffing multitude as something wonderful; but it is soon
explained away by the wiser ones, so as to calm their fears, and they
breathe easier.

The day of expectation finally arrives. The sun rises as usual, and the
heavens are clear. “Now where is old Noah’s flood?” is heard from a
thousand impious lips. The farmer is caring for his herds and lands, and
the mechanic is pursuing his work of building. On this very day, some are
being joined in marriage. With many it is a day of unusual feasting and
sports. And while all are looking to long years of future prosperity and
happiness, suddenly the heavens gather blackness. Fear fills every heart.
The windows of heaven open, and the rain descends in torrents. “The
fountains of the great deep are broken up,” and here and there come
gushing up rivers of water. The valleys are fast filling up, and thousands
are swept away in death. Awful death! made still more horrible by being in
consequence of slighted mercy! But where is Noah? Ah! safe in the ark,
borne upon the billows. Safe from the flood, for God “shut him in.”

By some people, the evidences of the soon coming of Christ are considered
insufficient to base faith upon. But the testimony and acts of one man in
the case of Noah, condemned the people destroyed by the flood. The
evidences then were sufficient, otherwise the world would not have been
condemned. But a hundred times more convincing evidences come pouring in
upon us that the day of the Lord is near, and hasteth greatly. We follow
down the several prophetic chains of Daniel and of the Revelation, and we
find ourselves in every instance standing just before the day of wrath. We
see the signs spoken of by prophets, by Christ, and by the apostles,
fulfilling or fulfilled. And at the right time, and in the right manner,
to fulfill certain prophecies, a solemn message arises in different parts
of the world: “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy
mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the
Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.” Joel 2:1. Wherever we look, we see
prophecy fulfilling. While the knowledge of God and the spirit of holiness
are departing, spiritual wickedness, like a flood, covers the land.

But these evidences are considered insufficient to rest faith upon. Well,
what kind of evidence would the unbelieving have? “When the signs of the
end,” says the skeptic, “are fulfilled, they will be so plain that no one
can doubt.” But if the signs are of such a nature, and are fulfilled in
such a manner, as to compel all to believe in the coming of Christ, how
can it be as it was in the days of Noah? Men were not then compelled to
believe. But eight believing souls were saved, while all the world besides
sank in their unbelief beneath the waters of the flood. God has never
revealed his truth to man in a manner to compel him to believe. Those who
have wished to doubt his word, have found a wide field in which to doubt,
and a broad road to perdition; while those who have wished to believe,
have ever found an everlasting rock upon which to rest their faith.

Just before the end, the world will be hardened in sin, and indifferent to
the claims of God. Men will be careless in regard to the warnings of
danger, and blinded by cares, pleasures, and riches. An unbelieving
generation will be eating, drinking, marrying, building, planting, and
sowing. It is right to eat and drink to sustain nature, but the sin is in
excess and gluttony. The marriage covenant is holy, but God’s glory is
seldom thought of. Building, planting, and sowing, necessary for
convenient shelter, food, and clothing, are right; but the world has gone
wholly after these things, so that men have no time nor disposition to
think of God, heaven, Christ’s coming, and the Judgment. This world is
their god, and all their energies of body and mind are made to serve it.
And the evil day is put far away.

The faithful watchman who sounds the alarm as he sees destruction coming,
is held up before the people from the pulpits of our land, and by the
religious press, as a fanatic, a teacher of dangerous heresies; while in
contrast is set forth a long period of peace and prosperity to the church.
So the churches are quieted to sleep. The scoffer continues to scoff, and
the mocker mocks on. But that day is coming. Thus saith the prophet of
God:—


    “Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a
    destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint,
    and every man’s heart shall melt. And they shall be afraid; pangs
    and sorrows shall take hold of them.... Behold, the day of the
    Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the
    land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of
    it.” Isa. 13:6‐9.


                              [Illustration]

                            The Day of Wrath.


Most dreadful day! and is it near?—Yes; it hasteth! It hasteth greatly!
What a description given by the prophet! Read it; and as you read, try to
realize how dreadful will be that day:—


    “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth
    greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man
    shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of
    trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of
    darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day
    of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against
    the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they
    shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the
    Lord; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh
    as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to
    deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land
    shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he shall make
    even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” Zeph.
    1:14‐18.



Peace And Safety.


The attitude of the religious world toward this most important subject is
worthy of more than passing notice both because of its effect upon the
cause of truth and also because it of itself is a sign of the times. While
it is true that many individuals in the different Christian denominations
recognize with more or less distinctness the fact that we are living in
the last days, with many of these it does not become a practical truth.
Outside of these there are many who ridicule the idea as preposterous and
outlandish; and in opposition to the message that Christ is soon coming,
raise the cry of, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Such teaching is
alluded to by the prophet in Eze. 13:10, 11.

The groundwork of the peace and safety cry is the doctrine of the temporal
millennium. This teaches that the world is now entering, or about to enter
upon a period of universal peace and good will, that the moral tone of the
world is improving, men and nations are learning righteousness; and the
gospel of Christ is about to become the controlling principle in public
and private life. And, further, this happy state will continue for one
thousand years, which period of time the word millennium literally
signifies. At the end of that time, perhaps, the Lord will come. However,
if this doctrine be true, it will make but little difference to this
generation or to the one living at the close of the period whether he does
or not. The verses we have just considered which liken the last days to
those of Noah wholly disprove this position. In addition to what Matthew
states, Luke gives a still more forcible version of our Saviour’s words:—


    “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days
    of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives,
    they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into
    the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also
    as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they
    bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day
    that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from
    heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day
    when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:26‐30.


Paul writes in his epistles to Timothy as follows:—


    “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some
    shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and
    doctrines of devils.” 1 Tim. 4:1.

    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,
    proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers,
    incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors,
    heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from
    such turn away.” 2 Tim. 3:1‐5.

    “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving,
    and being deceived.” Verse 13.


In very many scriptures it is plainly declared that when Christ comes, he
comes not only to reward and save his people but also to punish his
enemies. Looking upon the last days he exclaims, “Nevertheless when the
Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8. The idea
of a thousand years of peace and righteousness before Christ comes might
be dismissed as utterly out of the question. But space will be given to
one or two passages supposed to teach it, which will represent the whole
class. The first and chief is found in Isa. 2:2‐4:—


    “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. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go
    up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob;
    and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:
    for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord
    from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall
    rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into
    ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not
    lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any
    more.”


Almost the same language is used in Micah 4:1‐3. It is enough to call
attention to the authorship of the propositions contained in the text.
They come from the people. “Many people shall go and say, Come ye,” etc.
Inspiration asserts that in the last days the mountain or power of the
Lord’s house or church shall be established in the tops of the mountains,
or civil power. Undoubtedly it will. Everything is tending to the union of
Church and State and the professed church of Christ is riding on a high
tide to civil power in all lands. But farewell to godliness and spiritual
power. When this is accomplished, in a general chorus all will proclaim
the dawning millennium.

How the Lord regards the people who are saying these things is shown in
the succeeding verses:—


    “Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob,
    because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers
    like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children
    of strangers. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither
    is there any end of their treasures; their land also is full of
    horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: their land
    also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands,
    that which their own fingers have made.” Isa. 2:6‐8.


Now let us see what God says on the same point and concerning the same
time:—


    “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the
    mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:
    beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into
    spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and
    come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about:
    thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the
    heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for
    there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in
    the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the
    press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
    Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of
    the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon
    shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The
    Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from
    Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord
    will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children
    of Israel.” Joel 3:9‐16.


Mark, this is not what the people say, but what the Lord says of the very
same time when the people are preaching a good time coming.

Another verse referred to, and representing quite a numerous class of
similar ones, is found in Num. 14:21.


    “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the
    glory of the Lord.”


There is no occasion to modify or limit the meaning of those words; for
their utmost significance will be realized. But when?—When sin and the
curse are wiped away. After the purifying fires of the day of the Lord
have burned up the last work and relic of rebellion, and the earth made
new in Edenic glory comes again from the hand of its Maker, as beautiful,
yea, more beautiful, if possible, than at first. It would not be within
the limits of this pamphlet to follow out this subject, but the reader is
referred to the following scriptures: Isa. 65:17‐22; 2 Peter 3:13;
Revelation 21 and 22, and to published works.

In that state this and all kindred scriptures will meet a fulfillment that
is ample and complete. But for such a condition of things this side of the
coming of Christ neither the Bible nor the trend of events give any
promise whatever.

Judging of the probability of the conversion of the world from the facts,
it would seem to be far from striking. The following table gives a
comparatively accurate showing of the present religious status of the
world:—

Jews and Parsees         15,470,000
Greek Catholics          84,136,000
Protestants             114,815,500
Brahminical Hindoos     120,000,000
Mohammedans             122,400,000
Roman Catholics         255,000,000
Pagans                  227,000,000
Buddhists               482,000,000
Unclassified             51,050,000

Concerning the very small proportion of this number classed in the list of
Christians, Bishop Foster has very aptly said:—


    “There are some who too fondly anticipate a millennium. There is a
    lack of information on the progress of Christianity. The facts are
    misstated daily in pulpits all over the country. Ministers
    hesitate to present the worst side for fear of causing
    discouragement, and they create hopes that are never realized. We
    are not at the dawn of a millennium. Compared with the work to be
    done, the past is nothing. Our children’s children for ten
    generations to come must labor harder than we are doing, to
    accomplish the conversion of the world. The world’s population is
    1,500,000,000. Of these, Christians number less than a third; and
    half of that third belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. The
    Protestants number 114,000,000. They are divided into 500 sects.
    And this number of their strength includes, also, all the thieves,
    ex‐convicts, the debased, besotted, and the speckled and streaked
    in Christendom.”—_Northwestern Christian Advocate of Dec. 2,
    1885._


Farther on in the same article the Bishop said:—


    “Before us we have the great problem—the 1,100,000,000 of pagans
    to convert to Christianity. That is the solid rock that looms up
    in our path. Look at it; see what work has been done in 1800
    years, and how much is yet to be accomplished. In India, after
    more than a hundred years of mission work, we have 600,000 native
    converts and 2,000,000 Christians among 260,000,000 heathen. Can
    we remove that solid boulder that is as old as the hills?... Our
    Methodist Church we think the most divine and ineffable. We boast
    that we are going to conquer the world, and come from our palaces
    and princely farms to subscribe fifty cents a head for the
    undertaking! It is a burning disgrace that excites pity and
    disgust.”


And as to the prospects for universal peace, the following recent
statement of the armament of Europe does not indicate that the nations are
really contemplating such a happy consummation:—

Russia: 1,519,810 men, 181,000 horses, 2,084 cannon
Germany: 835,000 men, 96,000 horses, 2,022 cannon
Austria: 856,980 men, 58,125 horses, 1,600 cannon
England: 478,800 men
France: 1,850,000 men

The remaining states of Europe make up with the above a total of about
6,000,000 men.



The Final Separation.


    VERSES 40, 41: “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be
    taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the
    mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”


This language shows the final separation between the righteous and the
wicked. There is no elaborate explanation as to how the circumstances will
meet their fulfillment, but that is not the essential force of the text.
The line will in some cases be drawn between those who are intimately
related. Some members of the same family will be taken away by the
judgments of God, while others will be left to receive their coming Lord.



Those Who Watch Will Know The Time.


    VERSES 42‐44: “Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your
    Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house
    had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have
    watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
    Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not
    the Son of man cometh.”


The injunction to watchfulness is repeatedly given by our Saviour in
connection with his teaching in reference to his second advent. These
injunctions must apply especially to those who live in proximity to that
event. This fact is convincing evidence that the Lord is not displeased
with those who anticipate his coming, and study the word in reference to
it. No one watches for that which he does not expect, and indifference or
aversion toward the coming of Christ is sure evidence of coldness toward
Christ himself. If we love Jesus, we shall love his appearing and if we
love his appearing, we shall be eagerly watching and waiting for it. But
if we knew the hour when he would come, we should not watch for his
coming, nor could we with eagerness expect his coming if we had no
knowledge of its approach. The course of time has been measured off in
definite periods down to the beginning of the present generation. The time
from the end of the prophetic periods to the coming of Christ is
emphatically the waiting, watching time. Those who watch, as our Lord
commands, will eventually know the time. No man will make it known, for it
is not revealed to man in the Scriptures. Angels will not make it known,
though they may minister to, and communicate with, the children of men.
Neither will the Son. But the Father will make it known when he speaks
again from heaven.

It is undoubtedly true that the unscriptural and irrational course pursued
by many so‐called Adventists in repeatedly setting a time of their own for
the Lord to come has had the effect to disgust many with the whole matter.
This is the enemy’s work. He will seek thus to obscure each truth by
bringing it into the shadow of reproach. But it is unwise to be thus
misled. Probably there is no prophecy that better describes the present
state of unbelief in the world in regard to the second advent, caused
partly by fanatical time‐movements, than the following:—


    “Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of
    Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?
    Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God: I will make this
    proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in
    Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of
    every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor
    flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the
    Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to
    pass; it shall be no more prolonged, for in your days, O
    rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith
    the Lord God.” Eze. 12:22‐25.


The burden of this prophecy is time; therefore the word here mentioned
that the Lord will speak, will be the time. Rev. 3:3, is also to the
point:—


    “Remember, therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold
    fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come
    on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come
    upon thee.”


Those who do not watch, will not know the hour. Those who watch will know
the hour.

The present watching, waiting position requires much faith and patience.
Says Paul:—


    “Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great
    recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye
    have done the will of God [in proclaiming the coming of Christ],
    ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that
    shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live
    by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure
    in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but
    of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Heb. 10:35‐39.


Says James: “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.
Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and
hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be
ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth
nigh.” James 5:7, 8.

Jesus says: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will
keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world
to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Rev. 3:10.

The present position and present duty of God’s people are defined in Rev.
14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the
commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”



The Faithful And Wise Servant.


    VERSES 45‐47: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his
    lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due
    season? Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh shall
    find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler
    over all his goods.”


In this figure, Christ is represented as the Lord of the household of
faith (see Mark 13:35; Heb. 3:6), leaving his house, and committing the
work of caring for his church to his servants. A blessing is promised
those servants who are found faithfully discharging this duty when their
Lord comes. They are to feed the flock of God, over whom the Holy Ghost
hath made them overseers. Acts 20:28. They must preach the word. 2 Tim.
4:2. They should watch for souls as they that must give account. Heb.
13:17. They will not only give meat to the household, but they will give
it in due season. They will preach the _present_ truth.

And meat in due season when Christ’s coming draws near, will be the gospel
of the kingdom. Verse 14. It will embrace warnings, instructions, and
encouragements pertaining to a message that is designed and adapted to
prepare the world for so solemn an event. Suppose, for a moment, that when
Noah had received his message of the coming flood to give to the world, he
had reasoned with worldly wisdom that as such a thing never had occurred,
and from all appearances seemed very unlikely to occur, and hence to
preach it would subject him to reproach, it would be better to avoid any
particular allusion to such an unwelcome subject. His preaching seemed to
excite only ridicule. He could retain his own private convictions and
preach the ordinary principles of righteousness, saying, “Do not so, my
brethren.” And if the people were only prepared for the flood, that would
be all that would be necessary. Of such a course we can say two things. He
would thus have proved very unfaithful to his trust, and the blood of his
fellow‐men would have been upon him; and he would have done just as
thousands are doing now. He certainly would not have represented the
faithful and wise servant. So it is now. A solemn responsibility is placed
upon the watchmen:—


    “Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto
    them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the
    land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
    if when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the
    trumpet, and warn the people; then whosoever heareth the sound of
    the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take
    him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound
    of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him.
    But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the
    watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the
    people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from
    among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I
    require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set
    thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt
    hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.” Eze. 33:2‐7.


When Jesus comes, the faithful servants will be found proclaiming his
coming and teaching the necessary preparation. The Saviour speaks of such
as “faithful and wise.”

1. He is faithful. As a faithful watchman, he will give timely warning
when he sees the sword coming. His work just before the end, is seen in
the following scriptures:—


    “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy
    mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day
    of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.” Joel 2:1.

    “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show
    my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
    Isa. 58:1.

    “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ,
    who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his
    kingdom, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
    reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long‐suffering and doctrine. For
    the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but
    after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,
    having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the
    truth, and shall be turned into fables. But watch thou in all
    things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make
    full proof of thy ministry.” 2. Tim. 4:1‐5.


2. He is wise. “He that winneth souls is wise.” He must be wise. He will
hold forth the truth in its harmony and beauty, and thus expose error and
win men to the truth. When it becomes his duty to “reprove and rebuke,” it
will be at a proper time and place, and then with all “long‐suffering and
doctrine.” He will study to show himself “approved unto God, a workman
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2
Tim. 2:15.



The Evil Servant.


    VERSES 48‐51: “But and if that evil servant shall say in his
    heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his
    fellow‐servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord
    of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him,
    and in an hour that he is not aware of; and shall cut him asunder,
    and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be
    weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


What the evil servant says and does, shows most clearly the position and
work of the faithful and wise servant. The evil servant says, “My lord
delayeth his coming,” because the faithful servant is proclaiming the
coming of his lord. The evil servant smites the faithful servant, because
he teaches the soon coming of his Lord. The faithful servant, true to his
commission to preach the “gospel of the kingdom” to a fallen church and a
scoffing world, toils on, and for this the evil servant smites him. Not
with the fist, perhaps, but with the tongue of obloquy and reproach. That
there should be professed servants of Christ engaged in smiting those who
are faithfully warning the world, need not cause surprise in view of the
past, but must cause sorrow in the heart of every lover of truth. The
wicked servant says in heart, and some are saying with their lips, The
Lord is not coming. The world is now just starting out upon its career of
knowledge and enjoyment. Where is the promise or indication of his coming?
Some say, He may come to‐night, he may not come in a million years, thus
neutralizing the truth. Such men will be found criticising and discounting
the Scriptures and subjecting them to the tests of human philosophy and
science. The only safety for the people is to look beyond such watchmen.
Let them take the Bible for themselves, and there discerning the truth,
embrace it, and live according to it.



CONCLUSION.


The impression prevails to some extent that he who teaches that Christ is
soon coming is acting the _rôle_ of an alarmist. If so, we have seen that
the great Teacher has placed himself at the head of the class. No one has
spoken more positively upon this point than he has done. He said, “In my
Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told
you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for
you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am,
there ye may be also.” John 14:2, 3. There is nothing ambiguous about that
language. A child can understand it. It means that Jesus will come again.
In the remarkable chapter we have here reviewed, the Saviour takes up the
subject specifically, and not only affirms the fact of his coming, but
foretells in explicit language the events which he would have us recognize
as signs of the near approach of his coming and the end of the world.

But the message of Christ’s second coming is not sensational in its
essential character. It is a solemn, practical truth. It is full of
warning and admonition to sinners and worldly professors, and full of
comfort to the faithful followers of Christ. It is spoken of in the
Scriptures as a fact, established upon the word which never fails. When
speaking of his second advent, the Saviour said, “Heaven and earth shall
pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” Matt. 24:35. To disbelieve in
his coming would be to doubt one of the two great features of the gospel
plan. What the harvest is to seed‐time, Christ’s second advent will be to
his first. To doubt that he ever came to earth would be to subvert the
gospel. To disbelieve his second coming would nullify in the mind his
first coming, and rob the sacrifice of its glorious reward.

The apostle Paul speaks of the second advent as “that blessed hope.” Titus
2:13. Jesus says: “And when these things [the signs of his coming] begin
to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption
draweth nigh.” The prophet Isaiah anticipates the feelings of God’s people
who will witness the event, and expresses them in the following manner:
“And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for
him, and he will save us: This is the Lord; we have waited for him, we
will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isa. 25:9.

At his coming, the dead in Christ will be raised to everlasting life. The
righteous living will be changed to immortality. The hand of our Saviour
will wipe away all tears; “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things
are passed away.”

Why should we not rejoice in such a prospect? Who would not welcome such a
friend? Who would not rejoice in the prospect of such a consummation?

But it is true that the grand event will not be attended with joy alone.
There will be dismay and anguish. For while one prophet records the
exclamations of joyful anticipation, another has foreseen and recorded the
cry of despair. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the
rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman,
and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the
mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us
from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the
Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to
stand?” Rev. 6:15‐17. A vast number will thus lament. All who cannot join
the shout of welcome will unite in the wail of despair. There will be but
two classes in that day. And to one of those classes each one living will
belong. To which shall I belong? Solemn question. To which party will you
belong, reader? No one can _wait_ for Christ who is not prepared for his
coming. Only the precious blood of Jesus that cleanses from sin can
prepare us to receive him and fit us to dwell in his presence. Have you an
interest in his forgiving love? Is your peace made with God? If so, his
coming will have no terror to you, for he comes to save his waiting
people.



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[Transcriber’s Note: Obvious printer’s errors have been corrected.]





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