Herald of the Bridegroom
WATCHMAN!________________GIVE THEM WARNING FROM ME!
“WATCH ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all THESE THINGS that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:36. HOB 2.1
The appointment of watchmen, or the command to watch, always implies that there is danger to be avoided, and, as the counterpart of the danger, some important interests to be secured. HOB 2.2
Upon the faithfulness of the watch may depend the preservation of a whole country from conquest, when exposed to the armies or fleets of that country’s enemies; upon the faithfulness of the watch often depends the safety of the lives and the property on board the ship at sea; on the faithfulness of the watch we are constantly dependent for the security of our families and habitations against the danger of being consumed by fire, and for the security of our property against the depredations of the thief in the night. HOB 2.3
But in reference to these interests, men rarely make a mistake. Every precaution is adopted to place faithful and competent sentinels upon our watch-towers in time of war; our ships must be well manned, and our cities well guarded. HOB 2.4
Are there, however, no other dangers which threaten us? no other interests to be secured? O, yes! The sentinels of our armies, and the seamen in our ships, and the watchmen in our cities, may all do their duty; our country may be well guarded; our cities, and dwellings, and ships, and treasures, may be well protected; but if, in reference to the end of the great voyage, we are asleep,-if our souls are driven with the wind and tossed,-if our eternal interests are unsecured,-the substance is left for the shadow, the true riches for those which must perish with the using. HOB 2.5
Our text speaks of an event, to be prepared for which we must be looking out, with at least as much interest as the man to whose trust our perishable earthly concerns may be committed. It stands at the close of that most important discourse of the Lord Jesus, as reported by St. Luke, in which he speaks particularly, though also of other things, of his coming to our earth; of the signs which should indicate its approach; of “the things” which should accompany his advent; of the consequences of being prepared or not; and all to lead us to a sure and timely preparation. HOB 3.1
The great event referred to in the text is stated in these words: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory.” (Verse 27.) The things that shall come to pass in connection with his advent, and which make it a matter of so much interest and apprehension to man, are more fully presented by Matthew (24 and 25) and the prophets and apostles generally. HOB 3.2
The object of the following discourse, is to inquire, 1. What are these events which are to take place in connection with the advent? and, 2. Whether we have reason to look for any of them before the personal and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ? HOB 3.3
1. What are these things which are to take place in connection with the coming of Christ? In answering this question we shall select only those portions of the word of God which are of so plain a character as hardly to leave room for a doubt as to their application. We shall not, however, presume to give the exact order in which these things will occur, nor do we suppose it to be possible to give an idea of that scene of terror as it will eventually be realized; but what God has spoken we may speak, and we may be assured that it will be found in this, as in every part of his word, that has already been experienced, the one half cannot be told us. HOB 3.4
His word, then, assures us that the most terrible agencies and instrumentalities, with which man has ever become acquainted, will be employed in executing wrath upon the wicked in the day of wrath. HOB 4.1
The first of these agencies of destruction, which we shall mention, is the whirlwind. It is spoken of in these words: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.” Jeremiah 25:32. “Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.” Jeremiah 30:23, 24. (See also Ezekiel 13:9-13.) With the terrible character of the whirlwind, or tornado, all must be more or less acquainted. Though more prevalent in the tropical and mountainous regions of the earth, they have been felt in almost every part of it. Their violence is sometimes so great that massive rocks are overturned, and the largest trees prostrated, or carried up into the air; and buildings are demolished, or parts of them torn away almost as if it were done by the carpenter’s axe. It was by a tornado of this kind that one of our south-western cities was visited a few years ago, and a large number of our fellow-men perished in a most sudden and alarming manner. In this case, the rich mansion and the humble cottage, the stately steam-boat and the rude freight-boat, were dashed to pieces as if smitten with the besom of destruction. This is but one of the many instances which might be cited to show us the power of Him with whom we have to do, and the terrible character of this agent of destruction, by which God will soon visit the wicked. HOB 4.2
The second of these avenging agencies, which we will consider, is the hail-storm. “And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scatterings, and tempest, and hail-stones.” Isaiah 30:30. “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” Revelation 16:21. (See Isaiah 29:6. Ezekiel 13:10, 11.) HOB 4.3
The devastations effected by the hail-storm are as appalling, as the scene presented during its continuance is sublime and terrible. When God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind, in a strain of most surpassing majesty, he called attention to this agency as follows: “Hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and of war?” One of the sorest plagues of Egypt “was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous;” and, in the conquest of the land of Canaan, in one of the battles, “there were more which died with hail-stones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.” Joshua 10:11. HOB 5.1
The most sublime and awful scene, in the physical world, ever witnessed by the writer, was during a hail-storm in the summer of 1841, in Rhode Island. In this case, the largest hail-stones were about half the size of a hen’s egg. These filled the air over our heads, and, as they fell, bounded along upon the ground, giving to everything a strange appearance of wild commotion, as if the earth actually trembled under the shock. Horses and cattle, apparently terrified almost beyond measure, knew not where to fly for shelter. The windows in our dwellings were broken, and one could not help feeling that it needed no very great augmentation of the storm to demolish even the buildings themselves. HOB 5.2
The faces of many were seen to gather paleness during this scene; but what was that, or anything of the kind which man has ever yet witnessed, compared with the hail-storm which God has declared shall constitute a part of the last plagues? HOB 5.3
The third of these instrumentalities of vengeance, of which we shall speak, is the earthquake. “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and i will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come.” Haggai 2:6, 7. “I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen.” Haggai 2:2, 22. “But now he hath promised, saying, Yet once, more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signified the removing of those things that are shaken, (the heavens and the earth,) as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Hebrews 12:26, 27. “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.” Revelation 16:18, 19. (See also Isaiah 13:13, 14. Ezekiel 38:19, 20. Joel 3:16.) HOB 6.1
Of all the purely natural calamities by which mankind have been visited, none of them excite so much terror as the earthquake. Even in those portions of the earth where they are the most common, the intense feeling of apprehension is scarcely lessened by their frequency. No exhibition of nature’s power so completely sets at defiance all the skill of man, or treats his most gigantic means of security with such mockery and scorn. It exhibits to us at once, and in a most striking manner, the weakness of man and the power of God. Mr. Stephens, the celebrated traveler, who can never be suspected of a want of firmness, in speaking of the sensations felt during an earthquake while he was in Central America, says he never before was so sensible of man’s nothingness as at that moment. Not only were the dwellings, the usual places of security, fled from as the points of special danger, but the solid ground was heaving like the waves of the ocean. Professor Risley, who was at Guadaloupe during the earthquake in February last, in the interesting account he gives of it, speaks as follows:— HOB 6.2
“The first thing that attracted my attention was a sudden jar, accompanied by a rumbling sound, like distant thunder. I had, some two weeks before this, been at Port Royal, in the Island of Martinique, and seen the effects of a similar visitation, and I instantly knew what it meant. So sudden was the shock, that, within two seconds from the instant I first felt the jar, I looked up, and saw the whole building, commencing at the farther end, falling upon the people; the joints opened, and all began to come down with an awful crash. I instantly uttered the word ‘Jump!’ The man who sat opposite to me turned his head, and looked up sideways, but never rose from his seat; and, at precisely the same moment, and without stopping to turn myself about, I started from my seat, and actually jumped sideways out of the window, through glass, sash, and all, landing some ten or twelve feet in the yard below. I think it could not have been over three to five seconds from the instant I first felt the jar, to the instant my feet struck the pavement. HOB 7.1
“My impression on touching the ground was its indescribably rapid motion; I can compare it to nothing, unless it might be that of a sieve of a threshing mill in its most rapid motion. I should judge, from the distance I was thrown, first one way and then the other, which the lateral motion of the earth must have been from eleven to fourteen feet. I succeeded, not withstanding, in retaining my feet for some eight or ten seconds, till I got away from the building to the distance of thirty or forty yards, into an open lot of ground. HOB 7.2
“While I was walking this distance of thirty or forty yards, I saw the buildings of the whole city tumbling into one mass of ruins, and also the earth opening in the lower part of the town, and spouting up immense volumes of water, to the height of a hundred and fifty feet. The multitude of thoughts which passed through my mind during these few seconds is utterly inconceivable and incredible. HOB 7.3
“By the time I had escaped to the distance of the thirty or forty yards which I spoke of, the violence of the first shock had seemed to abate a very little, but was almost instantaneously renewed again, with far greater violence, than before; and then it was that I lost all consciousness, until I found my boy in my arms.” “I then began to look about me, and saw various individuals,-men, women, and children,-of all classes and ages, wandering about, half frantic, like myself. Some were in search of a son or a daughter; others, of a father or a mother; some, of brothers and sisters; others, of friends and relatives; all weeping, or in the utmost, inconceivable agony, pitching and falling about among the ruins and dead bodies. They would go from one dead body to another, overhauling them to see if they could find the persons sought for, and, if not successful, pass on to another. HOB 8.1
“At this time, the whole city was in one vast pile of ruins, the awful appearance of which it is utterly impossible to give even the faintest idea. Even the place and direction of the streets were in many cases obliterated, and could not be found. HOB 8.2
“From the place where I first recovered my consciousness, I suppose I could have thrown a stone over at least eight hundred of the dead and dying. As to the whole number of persons who ultimately perished by that earthquake, I should judge there must have been ten or fifteen thousand.” HOB 8.3
What, then, must be the dreadful character of that scene when the “great earthquake, so mighty and so great” as to surpass everything of the kind which has ever astonished or afflicted mankind, shall convulse the earth? HOB 8.4
Another and still more appalling scene is to be realized in “the great battle of God Almighty.” It would be most appalling if it were only a war of the ordinary kind. Impassioned and perverted reason and genius make the agents and elements of nature a hundred-fold more murderous than in their ordinary movements they can be. But this scene of strife and blood is to be unlike anything which the world has ever yet seen. HOB 8.5
It is to be, 1. A war of the King of kings,-He whose right it is to reign,-against his enemies, who would not that He should reign over them. “Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” “Then thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” “These (the kings) shall, make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:14. “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet.” “These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth; and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:19-21. (See also Isaiah 63:1-6; 66:15, 16. Zephaniah 3:8. Revelation 16:13, 14.) HOB 9.1
2. It is a war of vengeance against the usurpers of his land and throne, and also on account of the persecutions and oppressions of his people. “And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night-vision. It shall even be as when a hungry man dreameth, and behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty; or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and behold he drinketh; but he awaketh, and behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.” Isaiah 29:7, 8. (See also Isaiah 14:24-27. Ezekiel 38:17, 21-23. Joel 3:1, 2. Zechariah 9:14, 15; 12:1-9; 14:3, 4.) HOB 9.2
3. It will be a universal war. This is clearly stated in some of the texts already quoted. But others speak of this in particular. “The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 25:30, 31. “And 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; they shall be dung upon the ground.” Jeremiah 25:33. (See also Joel 3:9-14.) HOB 10.1
4. It will be a war of mutual slaughter. “Every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” Ezekiel 37:21. “And I will overthrow the chariots and those that ride in them, and the horses and their riders shall come down EVERY ONE BY THE SWORD OF HIS BROTHER.” Haggai 2:22. HOB 10.2
These portions of the word of God present some of the things in view of which we are called upon to “watch and pray always, that we may be accounted worthy to escape” them. HOB 10.3
To His testimony we have added nothing of fancy, nothing that is not warranted by the plainest facts of experience. Indeed, no creations of fancy could reach the reality. More we need not say, less we could not say. Yet who can contemplate the scene of terror spread out before us in connection with either of those agencies mentioned above, without feeling his heart grow faint within him? But, O, how overwhelming, how perfectly mute with horror, are we struck, by a view of the wide-spread desolation and carnage occasioned by their combined, and doubtless universal agency! And, if our hearts sicken with horror in view of the scene, what must be its reality! HOB 10.4
We have, however, noticed only the more prominent features of the frightful picture, and not yet even all of these. We have yet to add, because God has spoken it, that the terrors of that day are to be consummated by “the heavens being on fire, and passing away with a great noise; and the melting of the elements with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.” HOB 11.1
And all that we have thus far noticed is but outline. The more vivid and startling shades of the picture are furnished by the particular exhibition of the manner in which the human mind will be called into activity under the circumstances of the case, and as individuals or classes have stood, and will then stand, related to each other and to God. And why should we forbear to present these particulars, since God has done it? It is not that we love to dwell upon such scenes, that we bring them to view, but that their presentation may lead our fellow-men to take warning, and be the more ready to fly to Christ for mercy and help while he is on the mercy-seat, or at least that we may be found faithful. HOB 11.2
One important circumstance, which will aggravate the anguish of the ungodly in the day of their “judgment and perdition,” is this: their troubles will come suddenly. Afflictions which are considered only of an ordinary character, and which pass on to their crisis gradually, would be almost insupportable, were they to come upon us without any previous warning. The loss of a friend in whom our lives are bound up,-if we are permitted to wait at the side of their sick-bed, and to mark the gradual workings of the disease, while hope as gradually leaves us,-may find us calmly resigned to our lot; when,-if that same friend should leave us in usual health in the morning, and be brought before us a mangled and lifeless corpse in the course of the day, or should fall suddenly into the arms of death by our side,-it might throw us into paroxysms of grief that would threaten even our own life. In one case, we are prepared for it, in some measure, by anticipation; in the other, it comes suddenly and unexpectedly. HOB 11.3
And this will be the case with the lost in that day. From their business and pleasures, and honors and riches; whether in the field or the bed-buying or selling-at the fire-side, or at the church-at sea, or on the land-planting, building, or journeying-mingling in the dregs of public infamy, or reigning as the idol in the circle of fashion;-from all the multiplied and engrossing pursuits of life they will be summoned to receive “their part” in the last plagues, to “go away into everlasting punishment!” HOB 12.1
When they shall say peace and safety, then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION COMETH UPON THEM, and they shall not escape. As a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth? If thou therefore shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief! HOB 12.2
And then, also, will start into new activity the mighty faculties and energies of the soul, to prey upon their victim like the undying worm and the unquenchable fire. No man can form a conception of the power of the human mind, until he is placed in a condition favorable to its development. Whoever has been placed in circumstances any way similar to those of Professor Risley, above, will understand the full import of this remark,—“The multitude of thoughts which passed through my mind, during these few seconds, is utterly inconceivable and incredible!” HOB 12.3
God has endowed every man with faculties which only need, to be called into exercise by an occasion suitable to the result, in order to invest him with a heaven of unspeakable bliss, or a hell terrible enough without any positive judicial infliction. And while the positive infliction must be experienced, the laws and powers of our being will also exert their own natural strength. Memory and comparison, and conscience, and fancy, may inflict upon their possessor, agony as intense as could be inflicted by the most malicious and ingenious fiends of hell. HOB 12.4
And all their terrible power will be felt to the utmost by the unhappy ones who reject the counsel of God. As in the case of “the rich man,” memory will cite them to the past, and as its fiery record is unrolled, there will stand out in burning relief, the position occupied in this life with all its abused and perverted blessings, and neglected duties, and dishonored relations. Comparison, with its endless analogies and contrasts, will arrange the past, the present, and the future; bring up each sinner’s lot with that of every other one; what it is, with what it might have been; the comparative folly of the choice which has resulted in such a destiny; and every comparison will only serve to heighten the sense of the sinner’s loss. How many will then realize all that is fearful in the reported dream of the dying student, who, as he started up in the midst of his last reveries, exclaimed, “I thought I had squared the circle, and must perish forever for it!” How many will find their ambition to have been more frightful than the startling conception of Kirk White, “a death’s head concealed beneath the mask of beauty?” To how many will the most envied and enchanting fascinations of the world constitute the most horrible imagery of hell? HOB 13.1
Conscience, the mean time, forges its bolts and chains, and scorpion whips of these hoarded,” treasures of wrath;” while fancy, soaring and sinking in its wildest flights, converts all the outward elements and agencies of wrath into emblems of the raging torture within, and fails, even with its darkest creations, to match what is actually felt. HOB 13.2
Another bitter ingredient in the cup of the wicked will be this. Every one will then see and feel that his ruin is the fruit of his own doings, and the just infliction of a sin-avenging God. Our heaviest calamities often lose their severity when we can trace them to causes over which we have had no control, or to which our agency is secondary or remote. But no alleviation of this kind will soothe the pains of the lost. HOB 13.3
Then they will reproach themselves and say, “How have I hated instruction and my heart despised reproof!” “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 they said to the mountains, 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?” Revelation 6:15-17. But while each lost individual of our race will charge his lot upon his own guilt, the direct or indirect agency of others with whom they have been related, will be called into mind. The rich man “in hell” remembered his “brethren,”-others are spoken of as cursing “their king and their God” under their calamities. And when we are told that the evil servant, whom his lord made ruler over his household to give them their portion of meat in due season, shall have his portion with the hypocrite,-what may we suppose will be the feelings called forth between the deceiver and the deceived, when their portion is assigned them? God has told us that “the shepherds shall have no way to flee nor the principal of the flock to escape,” when “he shall feed them with judgment.” “Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded; yea, they shall all cover their lips.” God “will make them contemptible and base before all the people, according as they have not kept his ways, but have been partial in the law.” We may form some idea of the consequences of these dishonored relations by what we see sometimes in this life. A case occurs to us, which, however revolting, is on that account but the more appropriate. It took place on board a ship, as follows: She was crossing the banks of N. F., and as night drew on, there was every appearance of her getting among icebergs. The captain was expostulated with to lay to, or put the ship on another tack; but he refused, and kept on till about midnight, when she ran on to an island of ice. In a moment all was confusion and despair. The captain was among the first to fall on his knees and beg for mercy. While he was thus engaged, an enraged wicked sailor seized hold of him with a determination to throw him into the sea. The captain then exclaimed, “What are you about? you had better call on God for mercy, for we shall all shortly be in eternity!” The wicked man replied, “I’ll have the pleasure of throwing you into hell, first, since it is on your account that we are in this condition!” HOB 14.1
And a similar result will be experienced from the whole circle of the dishonored relations of this world. There will be the murderer, the oppressor, the seducer, the traitor, the liar, the unrighteous of all classes, with more or less of their victims. And though we can hardly form an idea of the mutual miseries to which they must be exposed when thus thrown into each others’ society, we are not without some painful exhibitions of this kind in the present world. We have only to look for a moment upon a community in a state of anarchy and civil war, or into a company of criminals; or even into a shop’s company, or ship’s crew, who are accustomed to the furious outbreakings of wicked and unrestrained passion. A confinement with enraged tigers could not be more revolting, than with such human beings in such a condition. And there will scarcely be a more bitter element in the anguish of the wicked, than the absence of all the righteous. None but sinners—“the abominable!” No love—no truth—no confidence—no respect for each other. All “hateful and hating one another!” HOB 15.1
And these will not only he exposed to the direct manifestations of hatred and malice; but the law of association will keep the elements of their miseries in agitation like the successive waves of a raging sea,-thus causing them “to weep and howl for the miseries that are come upon them,” The wailings of “the kings of the earth” will call forth a corresponding lamentation from “the merchants,” and “the shipmasters,” and, “all the company in ships,” and “the sailors,” over their departed joys, their folly and their common “plagues.” And thus the wailings of a Judas will call forth a long chorus of similar wailings from every Judas among the multitudes of the lost. HOB 15.2
While all will feel assured that their lot is fixed for having sinned against the same God, those who have participated in the same sins, as they severally wail over their condition, will strike the key note for all who are in the same dark prison-house, to kindle afresh the fire within, and from which there is no escape. Well might the Psalmist exclaim,—“Gather not my soul with sinners!” HOB 16.1
What a depth of meaning is there to the words of the Apostle, when he speaks of the wicked as “treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath!” And this day of wrath, which is to bring all “these things” to view as a reality, we believe, is AT THE DOOR! HOB 16.2
We now pass to consider the second point of our inquiry. Have we any reason to look for any of these things before the personal and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ? HOB 16.3
Though it may be impossible to determine the exact chronological order of the events which are to close up the present state of things and introduce the eternal state; still we shall find there is much more light, even upon this, than might at first be supposed. As that day is spoken of by “all the prophets” of the Old Testament, and also by “our Lord and his apostles,” in the New, as the grand subject of interest and hope to the church, it would be surprising indeed if they had given us no clue to the order in which the events of that day are to occur. And though this order may not have been a particular object with them, in the main, still, if it can be settled in reference to a few of the items, and the grand parts of the process as a whole, it will be no very difficult work to arrange the other items, so far, at least, as to answer the question under consideration. HOB 16.4
The widest and most general views of the grand process, as a whole, are expressed in these terms,—“The day of judgment,”—“the end of the world,”— “the last day,” etc., etc., which must of necessity comprehend all the particulars spoken of at other times—“the finishing the mystery of God,” “the setting up of the kingdom,” “the coming of Christ,” etc., etc. And even in these most general views there is some light upon the order in which the prominent parts of the great scene are to occur. It is very probable, however, that several of the particulars spoken of, both in the case of the righteous and the wicked, will take place simultaneously. We shall begin with a consideration of the most general views. HOB 16.5
But before we proceed any further,-as we shall have somewhat to do with the book of Revelation, in determining the order of the events to be considered, we need to make a remark upon one peculiarity of that book, which is not sufficiently considered-the relation of its parts to each other. Some have supposed that the events brought to view in the book must occur in the same consecutive order in which they are described. On this supposition, we must have several judgment scenes, and falls of Babylon; some half-dozen periods of 1260 years, and as many millenniums. The absurdity of the supposition is its own refutation. The book does undoubtedly give us a consecutive view of events, as they are to occur down to the eternal state, but in one case only is the description consecutive—that of “the seals.” The consecutive order of the trumpets is interrupted by a particular description of the history of events and periods and organizations, which, although they must be included in the time embraced in the seals and trumpets, are not particularly noted in the events of either. HOB 17.1
We should keep in mind that the same field is passed over several times, and that two things cannot be described at the same time. One view is completed before another is begun; and, therefore, events which may be contemporaneous in fact, are placed widely apart in the description; while, in other cases, events which precede others in the description are to take place after them in fact. The book consists, very much, of separate and independent sketches, which are introduced by the familiar phrases, “I looked and behold,” “after these things I saw,” etc., etc., which are to be matched together, not by the order in which they are written, but by the great points, or features of the scene brought to view in the sketch. Let it be settled that there is but one millennium-one judgment scene-one great battle-one fall of Babylon, (its final destruction is a different event,) and we know that the part of each sketch, in which either of them is brought to view, matches, in its chronological relations, with the same point in every other sketch in which the same thing occurs. HOB 17.2
(A) In the diagram, at the close, we have exhibited the period, with some of its events, from the fall of popery in 1798, to the end-which we confidently expect “about the year 1843.” It includes the prophetic history of the two-horned beast of Revelation 13., and also of the four angels of Revelation 7. That this beast is the symbol of “the European system” under Napoleon, who at the same time wielded the sceptre of France and Italy, we think any one must be satisfied who is at all acquainted with the history of that time. The history of Napoleon, by L’Ardeche, lately published, is, probably, the best. (See vol. I., from p. 239, and the whole of vol. II.) HOB 18.1
(B) That the “four angels” denote the “Four Great Powers,” England, Russia, Austria and Prussia, we believe to be quite as evident; and, since this application has not been so fully pointed out, if at all, and as it stands intimately connected with our present inquiry, a few remarks may be made upon it here. HOB 18.2
The part taken by the “Great Powers,” in the religious, as well as political, affairs of the world, since the fall of Napoleon, and the remarkable circumstances which called them to their position, are certainly of a character sufficiently important to be noted in the prophecy. Mr. Croly thus speaks of their mission: “A league of the four great European powers, England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, was for the first time practically combined against the French Empire. HOB 18.3
“It is among the most remarkable circumstances of an extraordinary period, that this measure had defied all efforts for its accomplishment before. All the powers had been successively at war with France; but it was by duple or triple alliances. The whole labor of diplomacy, in the full consciousness that the hope of Europe depended on an alliance of the four, had continually failed. Some strange impediment had always started up to forbid a coalition, which yet each and all felt essential to their common safety. HOB 19.1
“The mysterious and invincible restraint was now removed. The prophecy pronounces that it was removed by the command of heaven! By the same command, the four allies were summoned to consummate the overthrow of the empire of blood and Atheism. HOB 19.2
“Its objects were not less remarkable than its construction. Unlike all others, the alliance was formed, not for possession of territory, nor for permanent continuance, nor even against the enemy as a nation. Its declared and single purpose was the extinction of Napoleon, and, with him, of his system.” HOB 19.3
The chronology of their mission is strikingly, marked. 1. It is during the events of “the sixth seal,” and that brings us to the judgment scene, when the presence of Him “who sits upon the throne,” smites the wicked with terror, and “the great day of his wrath is come.” This evidently places their mission near the end. HOB 19.4
2. Their special work is, to control the affairs of the world till the servants of God are sealed. Not during the whole sealing time brought to view, but till it is completed. And this gives us a second clue to the chronology of their mission, by connecting it with the finishing of “the mystery of God”-which we are assured, in the most solemn manner, takes place “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall BEGIN to sound.” And this angel introduces the reign of Christ-the time of the dead, that they should be judged,-to reward the righteous, and destroy the wicked. Compare Revelation 10:5-7, and 11:15-17. HOB 19.5
“The mystery of God,” here spoken of by the revelator, is, without doubt, the same that is so frequently mentioned in the Apostolic writings. See Ephesians 2:11-22; 3:1-12; 1:1-14. Colossians 1:21-28. Acts 15:13-19. Romans 9:24-30; 10:11-21; 11:12-27. HOB 20.1
This mystery consisted in offering salvation to all by faith, through the preaching of the gospel; that God should thus “visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name,” that they might become “fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel.” “In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were SEALED with that holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, UNTIL THE REDEMPTION OF THE PURCHASED POSSESSION.” Its grand result, when “finished,” is thus expressed by the Apostle. “Having made known unto us THE MYSTERY of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself, THAT IN THE DISPENSATION OF THE FULNESS OF TIMES, HE MIGHT GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven and which are on earth.” HOB 20.2
The special work of the “four angels,” which was to continue “till the servants of God were scaled,” must, therefore, terminate when “the mystery of God is finished, in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, WHEN HE SHALL BEGIN TO SOUND.” We hardly need to inform the world that the great powers, named above, have performed the work assigned to these angels since 1815. Their work, we believe, is nearly done. So the word of God assures us, and also their present relation to each other. The last arrival from Europe brought the information that Russia had withdrawn, or was about to “withdraw from the conference of London,”-an event which would amount to a termination of their united agency. This view of the events which are to introduce the eternal state makes it very clear, that “our gathering together unto Christ” is among the first, as to order, of the events of that day. HOB 20.3
We now proceed, with the question before us. HOB 21.1
One of the most general views of the final process is thus expressed: “the end of the world,”—“the harvest.” It is thus brought to view by our Lord, by John, and by the old prophets. The natural order of the agricultural transactions of the harvest, adopted to illustrate the manner in which mankind are to be disposed of at the end of the world, is, to secure “the wheat,” “the precious fruits,” first, and then to dispose of the tares and the chaff by burning. (See Luke 3:17) HOB 21.2
The view of the Revelator is both natural and conclusive, it being a connected view of the order in which the events of the great harvest are to take place. “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 another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” Revelation 14:14-16. This is evidently the harvest of the wheat; that of the tares follows. “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cost it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.” Revelation 14:17-19. (Compare. Revelation 19:15. Joel 3:13.) HOB 21.3
According to this view, the deliverance of the righteous evidently precedes the destruction of the wicked. HOB 21.4
Another of the more general views is expressed in these familiar terms: “the day of God,” “the day of judgment,” “the day of wrath,” etc. Much confusion of opinion prevails upon the final judgment, by losing sight of this most essential fact in the case, that the judicial process consists of these two important divisions: 1. The trial, in which the party arraigned is “judged by the law” and evidence, in view of which a decision of condemnation or acquittal is made; and, 2. The execution of that decision. Unless this distinction is kept in mind, the word of God will apparently contradict itself upon the subject. Compare John 5:22. Hebrews 12:23. Daniel 7:9, 10, 22. See tract on the Judgment, by J. Litch. HOB 22.1
The particular time and manner in which the trial of men will take place is not given us to know so fully; but, in reference to the execution of the judicial decision, the word of God is very plain. We know, however, that, as “judgment is given to them that live and reign with Christ after the first resurrection,” the trial must precede the resurrection, because judgment cannot be given in a case, without a decision to that effect. HOB 22.2
In the symbolic exhibition of the judgment, (Matthew 25.) Christ executes the decision which appears to have been already made by the Father, and refers to that for the reason of the sentence which he pronounces. HOB 22.3
According to this view, also, the righteous are disposed of first. With this the view in Revelation 11:18, agrees. The dead are judged, the righteous rewarded, the wicked destroyed. The eleventh verse of Revelation 20. is a separate view of Christ as the disposer of the physical world. (Compare with Hebrews 1:10-12.) The remaining verses of this twentieth chapter are also a distinct view of the judgment of the dead, including their trial “before God out of the books,” and also of the judgment executed upon them after the trial. It is true, the account of the scene comes after the account of the binding of Satan, the first resurrection, etc.; but as the trial must precede the resurrection of the righteous dead, the fulfillment of that part of the view must be placed, chronologically, before what is written in the preceding part of the chapter. The time which should intervene between the resurrection of the righteous, (those written in the book of life,) and the resurrection and judgment of the rest of the dead, (those who are not found written in the book of life,) had been before stated in the fourth and fifth verses. HOB 22.4
The order of the events in the judgment scene, so far as the execution is concerned, is evidently this: All the righteous having had judgment given to them in the trial, 1. The righteous dead are raised, and the living are changed; 2. They are caught up together, and begin to reign in life with Christ “in the air;” 3. The living wicked are “left” for the mighty angels, who come with Christ in flaming fire, to take vengeance on them, by destroying them out of the earth with the plagues written in the word of God, some of which we have already noticed. HOB 23.1
We come now to consider the order of events as indicated by the more specific portions of prophecy. HOB 23.2
1. The setting up of the kingdom. “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom,” etc. That this is the same kingdom which is given to “one like the Son of man,” and “to the saints of the Most High,” (Daniel 7:13, 14, 22, 27,) is clearly settled, inasmuch as there can be only one such universal and everlasting kingdom. The setting up of the kingdom can mean nothing less than its organization, by bringing the King and his subjects together; the coronation of the King by the authorized power; his acknowledgment as such by his subjects; the placing of the King upon his throne, and the appointment of those who are to fill places of authority. And this must necessarily include these several particulars:— HOB 23.3
1. The giving up the kingdom, on the throne of which Christ now sits, (see Revelation 3:21. Hebrews 1:13. 8:1,) to God even the Father. 2. The “appearing” of Christ to the saints. 3. “Our gathering together unto Him.” 4. The giving of the kingdoms of this world to the Son of man; and lastly, His coming to “Mount Zion,” that the King may be set upon the holy hill, the location of the throne of David, which the Lord God will give to Him whose right it is. HOB 23.4
The setting up of the kingdom, therefore, with its group of relative events, makes it very clear that the appearing of Christ to gather his saints, is the first event we are to look for in the series which is to close up the present order of things. HOB 24.2
2. “Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” The sanctuary is “the mountain of thine inheritance, the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.” Exodus 15:17. Psalm 78:54, 55. Isaiah 63:18. Daniel 9:17. It is the place which “the Almighty God” promised to Abraham, and to his seed after him, “for an everlasting possession.” Genesis 17:1-10. The territory possessed, in part at least, by his natural seed, (though most of the time in bondage, on account of their sins,) after their deliverance from Egypt, till the seed came to whom the promise was made, “which is Christ.” This possession of the land, however, was only a type and pledge of the fulfilment of the “better promises,” made to Abraham, and his seed through Christ, in the immortal state. Compare Genesis 15:8-18. Galatians 3:16-19, 26-29. Hebrews 4:8, 9; 8:6; 9:15; 10:34; 11:8-16; 12:18-28. HOB 24.3
Here is to be “the city of the Great King,” “the throne of the Lord,” the metropolis of the everlasting and universal kingdom, which is to be set up by the God of heaven. Ezekiel 37:26-28. Isaiah 9:6, 7. HOB 24.5
The change predicted to take place in the condition of the sanctuary, according to the different significations of the word, rendered “cleansed,” and other plain portions of prophecy, is this: 1. It is to be “justified.” The sentence of indignation, which gave it “to be trodden under foot,” will then be repealed. HOB 24.6
2. It is to be “vindicated” by the execution of the threatened wrath upon its adversaries. HOB 25.1
3. It is to be “cleansed” by the fires of the last day, and the new creation. HOB 25.2
The vindication is the work of Jesus Christ, and is to begin at the time of its justification: see the last texts referred to. The result of the great comprehensive view of all the prophets, in reference to the church and her inheritance, is this: they lead us away into the future by two corresponding lines, according to which, one party is the subject of indignation, the other, the instrument of inflicting the indignation. At the end of the lines the scene is reversed. One party is the covenant people of God, the other her enemies and oppressors; the former is now “trodden under foot;” the change comes “at the last end of the indignation.” Deuteronomy 32:29-43. Isaiah 49:25, 26. Daniel 8:9; 2:1-7. Micah 7:7-10. Zephaniah 3:14-20. HOB 25.4
This work, which fulfils the prediction in reference to the sanctuary, is necessarily. blended with the previous views, the harvest, and setting up of the kingdom. As soon as the deliverance of the righteous is effected the plagues of the wicked begin,-perhaps they will be poured out successively; probably several of them together,-but the particular work of vindicating, or avenging the sanctuary is assigned to the sixth and seventh vials. HOB 25.5
Although the “appearing” of Christ for the salvation of his people, by gathering them to himself, has taken place: and the glorified hosts, seen “in the air,“ “like a clear heat after rain, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest,” or, “as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire,” (probably resembling the cloud which received the ascending Saviour,) have caused all the tribes of the earth to mourn; still, the Lord has not yet come to our earth, to “stand on mount Zion,” or “the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.” “The way of the kings of the east,” corresponding with the sections of the image which lay in that direction, is to be prepared. “The kings of the earth, and of the whole world, are to be gathered to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.” “Multitudes, multitudes of the heathen are to be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;” and then, to these multitudes, of whom it is said, “the wickedness is great,” who are made up of the worshippers of the beast, the scoffers, the evil servants, those whose hearts were so “over-charged with surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life,” and all who were so unwatchful as to be “left” to their nakedness and “shame,” at the time of gathering “them that were ready;” to them he comes, according to his oft-repeated declaration, “as a thief!” And the enemies of his truth, the usurpers of his throne, the oppressors of his people, the angry nations, are destroyed by the King of kings, with his heavenly army of “mighty ones!” HOB 25.6
As the vindication of the sanctuary is the work of our Lord by his personal interposition, and as he comes with all his saints with him, and as they must be gathered to him “in the air,” before they can come with him to the earth, his appearing and their gathering together unto him, must precede the vindication. HOB 26.1
This brief consideration of the more general views and prominent events of the great scene for which we are now looking, may be sufficient to settle the question, that we have nothing now to look for, but the appearing of our Lord, and the summons of the last trump, which, “in the twinkling of an eye,” quickens the dead in Christ to life, and changes the living saints to become equal unto the angels. But we wish to notice a few other particulars which have been looked upon as somewhat obscure, though it would seem that, by “comparing scripture with scripture,” they may be made plain. They are the standing up of Michael-the silence in heaven-and the time, as to the order of events, when the last plagues begin. As these particulars are intimately connected with the opening of the temple in heaven, and the appearing of the ark of testimony, they may all be considered in connection. We notice this vision of the ark and temple, because it will enable us to see, in a still more clear and satisfactory light, the whole series of details in the great scene, at the same time that it gives us this clue to the chronology of the vials, i. e. of the time of their commencement; though, without this, since the execution of wrath against the wicked does not begin till the righteous are delivered, and as these vials “fill up the wrath of God,” they must be placed after the appearing of Christ, and the gathering of the saints. HOB 26.2
Under the seventh trumpet,-(Revelation 11:15-19,) after the great voices in heaven pour forth their strains of joy that the kingdoms of this world are given to Christ; and the four and twenty elders give thanks to God, that he has taken to him his great power and reigned, and that the time is come that he should reward his saints, and destroy the wicked,-the actual scene is introduced as follows: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” The mission of the angels of wrath, with their plagues, is brought to view at the 5th verse of chapter 15: “And after that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” HOB 27.1
The vision of the last plagues is thus stated: “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” Revelation 16:17. HOB 28.1
It is thus made very plain that all this work of wrath against the wicked bears an important relation to this view of the temple. HOB 28.2
“The temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven” agrees with the holy of holies in the ancient tabernacle of Moses, and the temple of Solomon. It is undoubtedly the “true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man,” into which our great High Priest has entered, and from which he is to “appear to them that look for him, without sin (a sin offering) unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:2-11, 24-28. The time of opening the holy of holies, and the right to perform its service, were among the strictest regulations of the Mosaic law. Any intrusion was death. Leviticus 16:2. Hebrews 9:7. The opening of the temple of God, so as to disclose the ark of his testament, must denote that the work of “our great High Priest in the presence of God,” is ended. HOB 28.3
The work of Christ, “the captain of the host of the Lord,”-like that of Cyrus, (one of the most eminent typical agents of Providence,) in the case of ancient Babylon,-when he comes to the earth, is to execute “the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple.” Jeremiah 51:11. And the same power which has trodden the earthly sanctuary and host under foot, has also “opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” Revelation 13:6. HOB 28.4
In the ancient theocracy, all the important movements of the hosts of God were indicated in connection with the ark. Exodus 25:10-22. Numbers 9:15-23; 10:33-36.The standing formula, to be repeated at the setting forward of the ark, which expressed their prayer to God, and their expectation in reference to their and his enemies, was this: “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Psalm 68:1. This temple view of the revelator exhibits something of this character; and if what he sees is not identical with the standing up of Christ, it is certainly preparatory to it; for by the standing up of Christ is meant his actual exaltation to authority and power as a king; and his exaltation is followed by the sudden and certain destruction of all his enemies. In reference to them he standeth up to execute judgment. Isaiah 3:13. Psalm 82:1. Isaiah 2:11, 17, 19, 21; 33:3, 10. Micah 5:4, (margin) 15. Psalm 76:8, 9. 82, 94, 110. HOB 28.5
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Daniel 12:1. HOB 29.1
As soon as his exaltation takes place, and the deliverance of his people is effected, the work of vengeance begins. As to order and time, therefore, the next view of our Lord is undoubtedly given, Revelation 14:14. He comes forth from the holy of holies; he is seated on the white cloud, which is doubtless the white throne also, with his golden crown; and, at the direction of “another angel out of the temple,” informing him that “the time is come,” he thrusts in his sickle and the earth is reaped. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear-unto salvation.” HOB 29.2
The work of vengeance begins by “his angels;” it is closed up by the personal interposition of Christ. This takes place at “the great battle,” which synchronizes with the treading of “the wine-press of the wrath of God,” under the sixth and seventh vials. But the whole series of plagues follows the opening of the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven. HOB 29.3
The period of silence seems to be necessarily connected with the standing up of Christ, as the latter also is with the vision of the ark and temple. A command of silence to “all flesh before the Lord,” is issued, (Zechariah 2:13,) in connection with his coming “to dwell in the midst of the daughter of Zion.” And the reason given is, “for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.” See Habakkuk 2:20. Isaiah 41:1. Such a silence was commanded by Joshua in the conquest of Jericho, the first city of the Canaanites which fell before the presence of the ark, in the overthrow of the enemies of God, of his purposes and people. Joshua 6:1-16. This overthrow was distinguished by the presence of “the captain of the host of the Lord,” as well as that of the ark of God. Joshua 5:13-15. HOB 30.1
The possession of old Canaan, the inheritance of the old covenant, was the pledge of the possession of the “better country,” the “eternal inheritance” of the new and everlasting covenant. Genesis 15. May not the conquest of the former be typical, in some, respects, of what is to take place when the Captain of our salvation shall interpose to bring the church of the first born unto Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem? If it may, and we may be guided in this particular by Zechariah, above, the silence would coincide with the final overthrow of great Babylon. But would this accord with the order of events as brought to view by the seals, under the 7th of which the silence takes place? Let us see. HOB 30.2
The sixth seal unfolds the signs which were immediately to precede the end of the world, with the end itself, beginning with “a great earthquake.” The order of events in the scene contemplated, as to their character, and the parties introduced, is like that observed by Christ. Matthew 24:29-31. Luke 21:25-28. That is, it begins with the signs in the physical world, Revelation 6:12-14; passing next to the fate of the wicked, 15-17. The finishing of the mystery of God is then brought to view, which includes the sealing of the heirs, 7:1-8, and the gathering together in one all things in Christ. “Therefore are they before the throne,” 9-17. HOB 30.3
The presentation of the church, as here, “faultless before the presence of his glory,” is an important item in the grand series now under consideration. Jude 24. Colossians 1:22. Ephesians 5:25-27. They are to “stand before the Son of man,” to “be glorified together.” Is it not here that the organization of the kingdom of Christ takes place? Matthew 20:21-23. HOB 31.1
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” No beast (living creature) says, come and see! No earthquake or thunder! No loud voice or multitude of voices! No song, or harp, or trumpet! What means this silence? Is it that “God is raised up out of his holy habitation?” and has “great Babylon come into remembrance, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath?” The temple in heaven has been opened-the ark has been seen-the Saviour has received his golden crown, and has been seated upon his throne, the white cloud-the earth has been reaped-the wheat, the righteous, gathered; the church presented before the throne; the trouble of the wicked has begun; but has the King of kings entered upon the vindication of the sanctuary, to execute “the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple?” It would seem that the destruction of great Babylon must form a part of that work; but at what point of the process is it to fall? HOB 31.2
Though much is said in reference to her by the revelator, perhaps there is not a single point that is so difficult to settle as the chronological position of the final doom of Babylon. That it is to be by “the Lord God,” we are distinctly told; that it is to be sudden and violent, is indicated by the action of the “mighty angel” with the millstone, the casting down of which assures us that Babylon is “no more!” This would seem to fall under the seventh vial, Revelation 16:17-19, were it not for the phrase in verse 17, “It is done,” which seems to imply that the wrath of God, which the seven plagues filled up, was completed by the seventh vial, and that the remaining verses are a recapitulation, or statement, of the principal things which had taken place in the process of the vials, but which had not been noticed in the account of either. HOB 31.3
When an event of this kind is left so obscure in the text, we may be guided by the typical events of the old system. In the conquest of old Canaan, Jericho was the first city that fell, and her fall was the pledge of all the rest; the violent sundering of great Babylon is accompanied, or followed, by the fall of “the cities of the nations.” Seven days were occupied in the overthrow of Jericho; “about half an hour,” is the period of the silence, which we have supposed to be contemporaneous with the destruction of great Babylon; and, understood prophetically, would amount to “about” seven and a half days. But does her destruction follow or precede the great battle? HOB 32.1
The destruction of “Babylon the great” is to constitute such an exhibition of the wrath of God as to startle every beholder with terror. May it not immediately precede the actual coming of Christ to Mount Zion, and of course, the great battle?-and thus her destruction would be to the angry nations, what the fall of Jericho was to the nations of Canaan. Joshua 6:27; 9:1, 2. The silence would also be connected with her destruction, as in the case of Jericho, and her fate precede the great battle, as the fall of Jericho did the conquest of Canaan. HOB 32.2
This affords a natural arrangement of events, and a scriptural, though not direct, explanation of this portion of prophecy. In such a case, however, we cannot be positive. HOB 32.3
The history of the church, in the days of Moses and Joshua, also furnishes an answer to the objection that may arise, whether the wicked would marshal themselves to fight against God, after they had witnessed so many wonders and plagues, as this view of the subject supposes. The answer is this. If the hosts of Egypt would pursue the armies of Israel, after the judgments they had experienced, and if the Canaanites would dare to fight against them, after what they had seen at Jericho, what may we not expect from those who are left to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming? Joshua 11:20. HOB 32.4
In settling this question of the order of events, some light is afforded to us from the analogous cases referred to in the word of God. As it was in the days of Sodom, and the flood, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man. In these cases the deliverance of the righteous was secured before the wicked were destroyed. HOB 33.1
We will notice the bearing of the words of Christ upon the question, and we have done. He says, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass.” How are we to escape? “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds.” When is it to be done? “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and 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.” HOB 33.2
Now if the watchful and prayerful are to “escape all these things,” in this manner, and at the time Christ descends from heaven to the air, it must be that all these things are to come after the appearing of Christ, and our gathering together unto him. HOB 33.3
By every one of these general views, by the most obvious bearing of every one of the prominent events and more minute particulars, considered-by all the analogous cases-and by the only construction we can put upon the plain words of Christ, it is clear, then, that WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOOK FOR BUT THE APPEARING OF OUR LORD TO THE SALVATION OF THEM THAT LOOK FOR HIM! HOB 33.4
Diagram exhibiting the events of Prophecy considered in the preceding article, from the fall of the Papacy down to the Millennium, with their probable order. HOB 34.1
The letters A, B, refer to sections in the article; see page 18. HOB 34.2
The Italic letters, a, b, c, etc., to notes which explain the diagram. HOB 34.3
a We have allowed to the two horned beast-the European system under Napoleon-the whole period from 1798 to 1815. Though France actually held a controlling sway in Europe at the first date, Napoleon was not in power, as consul, till 1799. He was crowned emperor of France and king of Italy in 1804. HOB 34.4
|1798.||A,||The two horned beast,||1815.||B,||The four angels,||1843-4.|
|a||Revelation 13:11-18.||b||Revelation 7:1-3.|
b The coalition of the four great powers was formed in 1813, but they did not occupy a position to hold “the four winds,” till the fall of Napoleon in 1815. HOB 34.5
[CD-ROM Editor’s Note: The following letters are from the diagram on page 35; the occurrences of the letters are from left to right in the order of the number of the lines, not from top to bottom; in the original the following paragraph explaining “c” occurred on page 35 to the side of the diagram, relating to the center, unnumbered line, as noted.]
c It is not to be supposed that every particular of this scene can be placed in the exact order in which it will occur, though the main points are evidently made known to us. The particulars are put into two branches; as the events stand related to this world or to heaven. By beginning with No. 1 in the upper branch, “The kingdom given up.” and passing to No. 1 of the lower branch, “Day of grace ended.” and so from one to the other through the two branches, the natural order will be seen more plainly HOB 34.6
d The phrases, “the coming of Christ,” “the coming of the Son of man,” etc., when used in speaking of the great day, comprehend all the parts of his work at that day; but his coming, in its particular meaning, is distinct from his appearing. There is no reason to think he will come to our earth, till after he appears to save his people. How long a time may intervene, we do not presume to know. HOB 34.7
e That the great earthquake precedes the great battle, appears evident from this fact;-the earthquake fills the kings of the earth with terror. Revelation 6:14. As they are destroyed in the battle, that must follow the earthquake; it must also follow the destruction of great Babylon, for the same reason. See Revelation 18:9. 19:19, 20. HOB 34.8
f Christ was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. It is intimated that he is to be bound before his goods, or house, is destroyed. We therefore suppose he will be bound just before “the air,” of which he is the prince, and the earth, the theatre of his operations in reference to man, are purified by fire. HOB 34.9
g That Christ will return to heaven, or to the clouds, before the conflagration, is evident from these plain texts which tell us that he is to dispose of the physical world, and that he occupies the white throne at the time. Compare Hebrews 1:10-12. Revelation 20:11. 21:5. HOB 34.10
h The marriage of the Lamb does not appear to have taken place at the time of the view given, Revelation 19:7, 8; nor when John saw the holy city descending, Revelation 21:2, 9, 10. Of course it must take place on the new earth. It probably denotes the adoption of the New Jerusalem by Christ as the metropolis of his immortal kingdom. Compare Isaiah 54:1-5. Galatians 4:26, 27. Hebrews 12:22. 13:14. Isaiah 65:17-19. 62:4, 5. HOB 34.11
15 The New Jerusalem descends. Revelation 21:2, 9, 10.
14 Rejoicing in heaven. Revelation 19:6. 14:2.
13 g Christ ascends from the earth. Revelation 20:11. 21:5.
12 All enemies overthrown. Matthew 13:41. Revelation 19:21.
11 The sanctuary vindicated. Is. 49:25, 26. Zephaniah 3:8, 14-20.
10 Christ comes to Mount Zion. Revelation 14:1. Zechariah 14:4.
9 Silence in heaven. Revelation 8:1. Zechariah 2:13. Joshua 6:10.
8 The kingdom organized. Luke 22:28-30. Revelation 2:26, 27. Matthew 25:14-29
7 The church confessed before his Father. Matthew 10:32. Revelation 7:9-12.
6 The church gathered together unto him. 2 Thessalonians 2:1. Matthew 24:31.
5 He appears to them that look for him. Hebrews 9:28. Acts 1:11. Philippians 3:20.
4 d Christ descends to the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
3 Christ with his golden crown upon the white cloud awaits the command to reap. Revelation 14:14.
2 The holy of holies opened. Revelation 11:19. 15:5. Hebrews 9:24-28.
1 The kingdom given up. 1 Corinthians 15:24. Revelation 3:21. Hebrews 1:13.
Probable order of particular events to come at the end. c
1 Day of grace ended. Revelation 10:5-7. 11:15-19.
2 The kingdoms of this world given to Christ. Psalm 2:8, 9. Luke 19:15, Revelation 11:15.
3 Believers waiting, the wicked scoffing. Luke 17:22-37. 18:1-8.
4 First resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:23. Revelation 20:6. 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
5 All the righteous caught up. 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
6 Wailing of the wicked. Matthew 24:31.
7 The plagues begin. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. Revelation 16:1.
8 e The great earthquake. Revelation 6:14. 16:18-20.
9 Great Babylon destroyed. Revelation 16:19. 18:21.
10 The great battle. Revelation 16:12-16. 19:19-21.
11 The hail storm. Revelation 11:19. 16:21.
12 f Satan bound. Revelation 20:1, 2. Matthew 12:29.
13 The heavens and earth on fire. 2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12.
14 The new creation. 2 Peter 3:13. Revelation 21:5. Acts 3:21.
15 h Marriage of the Lamb. Revelation 19:9.
[CD-ROM Editor’s Note: To the right of the above diagram is the following statement:]
Millennial and everlasting kingdom established. HOB 35.1