The Signs of the Times, vol. 13

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The Signs of the Times, Vol. 13

1887

January 6, 1887

“The Ten Kingdoms in the Dark Ages” The Signs of the Times 13, 1, pp. 3, 4.

WE have now shown not only the rise of the ten kingdoms foretold in the prophecy, but we have traced directly to the great States of modern Western Europe, the seven of the ten nations which remained after the uprooting of the three to establish the Papacy. SITI January 6, 1887, page 3.1

To form of these kingdoms an empire such as that of Rome, ws the ambition of Charlemagne, and of others after him, “but the unity of the empire and the absolute power of the emperor were buried in his grave.” In his grandsons design of the mighty Charles was dissipated into a dream. It was this same ambition that led Otto the Great to Rome, to his compact with the Pope, and to the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire. But “the Imperial Crown was the most fatal gift that could have been offered them all things, it deprived them of nearly everything. And in doing this, it inflicted on many generations incalculable and needless suffering.” In theory, the Emperor was “the secular lord of the world,” but in fact, he was but the servant and the tool of the Papacy. The Imperial office was the symbol of united power, but the nations which were connected with the empire were, in fact, the most divided of all the European nations. This was true of the empire as long as it existed, and when it was destroyed by Napoleon in 1806, it was only that he might establish, in reality, a great European Empire, with himself as Cesar, Augustus, Constantine, Charlemagne, and Otto all in one. SITI January 6, 1887, page 3.2

“He picture to himself the creation of feudal States, believing that he could make them acceptable, and preserve them from the criticism which was beginning to assail ancient institutions, by establishing them on a scale so grand that, as our pride would be enlisted, our reason might be silenced. He believed that once again he could exhibit what history has already witnessed—the world subject to a ‘People-King;’ but that royalty was to be represented in his own person. A combination of Eastern and Roman institutions, bearing, also, some resemblance to the times of Charlemagne, was to transform the sovereigns of Europe into great feudatories of the French Empire.”—Memoirs of Madame de Remusat, chap. 12. SITI January 6, 1887, page 3.3

The English newspaper had said:— SITI January 6, 1887, page 3.4

“If Bonaparte succeeds in accomplishing his system of Federal Empire, France will become sovereign arbiter of almost the whole continent. He was delighted at this prediction, and resolutely strove to realize it.”—Id., chap. 20. SITI January 6, 1887, page 3.5

“The European phalanxes were gradually giving way before him, and he began to believe that he was destined to regulate the affairs of every continental kingdom.... He sometimes said: ‘It is my intention to reach such a point that the kings of Europe shall be forced, each one of them, to have a palace in Paris, and at the time of the coronation of an emperor of the French, they shall take up their residence in it, to be present at the ceremony, and render it more imposing by their homage.”—Id., chap. 16. SITI January 6, 1887, page 3.6

He had already, March 17, 1805, “laid the foundation-stone of this brain-built edifice,” by uniting the iron crown of Italy with his own as emperor of France. It was to obtain, of his own blood, an heir to such an empire, that he divorced Josephine and married Maria Louisa, the Archduchess of Austria. And when she bore a son, March 20, 1811, the title of King of Rome was bestowed upon him as the first step in the succession to so grandly pictured an empire, which neither he nor his father ever saw, and which should never more be seen. For God had declared that although they should “mingle themselves with the seed of men,” yet, “they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” Daniel 2:43. And thus they will remain till the end of the world, for says the word of God by the prophet: “In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:44. SITI January 6, 1887, page 3.7

In fulfillment of the vision of the great image, seen by Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel, we have seen the rise, the glory, and the fall, of Babylon, the head of gold; of Medo-Persia, the breast and arms of silver; of Grecia, the sides of brass; and of Rome, the legs of iron. We have seen the division of the iron kingdom of Rome into ten parts according to the number of toes of the image in the vision; we have seen the history of these divisions for more than fourteen hundred years; and we now live in the last days, not only of their history, but of all history. For when they fall it is at the establishment of the everlasting kingdom of God. Said the prophet, “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:34, 35. The stone smiting the image upon his feet, is explained by the prophet to mean that “in the days of those kings [the kingdoms represented by the toes—the ten kingdoms] shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom.” Verse 44. SITI January 6, 1887, page 3.8

Notice, the stone smites the image, not upon his head, nor his breast, nor his sides, nor his legs, but upon his feet. The kingdom of God was not therefore, and was not to be, set up in the days of Babylon, nor of Medo-Persia, nor of Grecia, nor of Rome, but in the days of the kingdoms which should arise upon the ruin of Rome. These kingdoms did not arise till in the fifth century, therefore it is this side of the fifth century that this kingdom of God is to be set up. And when this kingdom is set up, all the others are broken to pieces and carried away as is chaff by the wind, and no place is found for them. Not one of these kingdoms remains when the kingdom of God comes, but it breaks in pieces and consumes them all, and then it becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth, and stands forever. SITI January 6, 1887, page 4.1

The kingdom of God is to smite the nations that are now upon the earth. These are to be broken to pieces. In the days of these kingdoms it is that “the God of Heaven” shall set up this kingdom. Therefore in closing this sketch of the history foreshown in the prophecy by the great image, we can only use the words of the prophet of God as he stood before King Nebuchadnezzar in the pleasant palace of Babylon, two thousand four hundred and eighty-nine years ago; and we can use it with as much assurance as he, for it is the word of God. “Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter; and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Daniel 2:45. J. SITI January 6, 1887, page 4.2

“Bible Answers to Bible Questions Concerning Man.—No. 7” The Signs of the Times 13, 1, p. 7.

ANOTHER question which we wish to notice is this: “What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17. The Bible answer to this, its own question, is: “They are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction.” Philippians 3:18, 19. “Them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, ... shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9. Peter also tells of the “perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7. Perdition is defined to be “utter destruction.” There would not be space in an article of reasonable length to quote the bare texts without note or comment, that destruction is the end of them that obey not the gospel of God. We can only give some indication of the evidence on this point by a summary. Nineteen times the word of God says they shall be “destroyed;” seven times it says they shall go to “perdition;” thirty-four times it says they shall “die,” and this with reference alone to the second death; twenty times it says they shall “perish;” eight times it says they shall be “consumed;” four times it says they shall be “devoured;” seven times it says they shall come to an end; ten times it says they shall be burned up or “utterly burned;” three times it says they shall be as nothing; once it says “the wicked shall not be; yea thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” Psalm 37:10 [sic.]. SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.1

Now when the Scripture says so plainly and so repeatedly that the wicked shall be destroyed, and utterly destroyed; that they shall die, perish, be consumed, devoured, come to an end, be burned up, shall come to nothing, and shall not be, and that there will be no place for him if he should be; then how can the idea of eternal torment be true? If those words of the Scripture do not show that the wicked shall perish, that he shall come cease to exist, then what do they mean? If these Scriptures do not show that the wicked shall cease to exist, then how could God make known such a thing if he wanted to tell to men that the wicked should perish and should not be? SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.2

Then in the face of scores of passages of Scripture that show that the wicked shall be destroyed, etc., how can it be that, in the almost universal doctrine of Christians, eternal life is given to the wicked. True, by this doctrine they are to remain in misery eternally without dying; but if the wicked live eternally, that is eternal life, and the fact that they are in misery, does not in the least affect the duration of their existence. But against such doctrine there stands the word of God that “the wages of sin is death,” and if the wicked live eternally even in torment, then there can be no such thing as death. Again the Scripture speaks of a time when there shall be no more pain (Revelation 21:4); but if the wicked are tormented eternally there never can be a time when there shall be no more pain. SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.3

Again we ask, How then can it be that in the beliefs of men eternal life is given to the wicked? How is it that, in spite of the plain Bible answer to the question as to what the end shall be of them that obey not the gospel of God, so many are perplexed upon the question? The perplexity on this question arises from the same source that it does on all the other questions which we have examined, that is, from the doctrine which we have examined, that is, from the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. As a Doctor of Divinity once said, “If we believe in the immortality of the soul we must believe in the eternal torment of the wicked.” SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.4

Immortal means “exempt from death,” “exempt from liability to die.” It is the doctrine of the unconditional immortality of man, therefore, which gives eternal life to the wicked. But such a view cannot be held consistently with the Bible. This is plain from the few texts cited, and the Bible terms referred to above. And that the doctrine of the immorality of the soul may be still held, the language of the Bible has to be, and is, forced into channels where that of no other book would be allowed to go. SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.5

Words when found in the Bible are made to mean exactly contrary to what they mean when found in any other place in human language. And all to sustain the dogma of the immortality of the soul. But that is just where this method of interpretation belongs. It was the introduction of this doctrine into the Christian church, that created the necessity for this scheme of interpretation. The one man who, more than any other, is responsible for it was Origen, who lived from A.D. 185 to 253. Says Mosheim:— SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.6

“The Christian doctors who had applied themselves to the study of letters and philosophy, soon abandoned the frequented paths, and wandered in the devious wilds of fancy. The Egyptians [Alexandrians] distinguished themselves in this new method of explaining the truth.... Origen was at the head of this speculative tribe. This great man, enchanted by the charms of the Platonic philosophy, set it up as the test of all religion, and imagined that the reasons of each doctrine were to be found in that favorite philosophy, and their nature and extent to be determined by it.... He alleged that it was not in their literal force and import that the true meanings of the sacred writers were to be sought, but in a mysterious and hidden sense... In this devious path he displays the most ingenious strokes of fancy, though generally at the expense of truth, whose divine simplicity is rarely discernible through the cobweb of allegory. Origen expresses himself in the following manner. Origen expresses himself in the following manner: ‘The source of many evils lies in adhering to the carnal or external part of Scripture. Those who do so shall not attain to the kingdom of God. The Scriptures are of little use to those who understand them as they are written.’ But the philosophy which this great man embraced with such zeal was one of the sources of his delusion. He could not find in the Bible the opinions he had adopted, as long as he interpreted that sacred book according to its literal sense.”—Church History, century 2, part 2, chap. 3, paragraphs 1, 5. SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.7

There is exposed the secret of the whole matter. “He could not find in the Bible the opinions he had adopted.” What were those opinions? He was “enchanted by the charms of the Platonic philosophy.” And that was the immortality of the soul. Now in Plato’s discussion of the nature of the soul, he maintains that it is imperishable, indestructible, immortal, deathless, etc., etc. But the Bible, speaking of wicked men, says they shall “die,” “they shall utterly perish,” their “end is destruction,” that man is “mortal,” etc. It is not at all strange, therefore, that Origen could not find in the Bible the opinions he had adopted, because those opinions, and the statements of the Bible, are as entirely opposites as it is possible for things to be. And so, not finding any support in the Scriptures for this doctrine, he invented a scheme by which he could find not only that, but whatever he wanted. That is, to give a meaning to the Bible language directly opposite to what it says. And Origen’s method of interpretation is perpetuated to this day by those who attempt to maintain, by the Scriptures, the immortality of the soul, and the consequent eternal life of the wicked. However, this is not strange, because, as the doctrine was dependent wholly upon this scheme of interpretation for its birth into the Christian church, so, without that scheme, it could not live there for a day. SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.8

The Bible taken as it is, therefore, is clear on the question, “What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” The word of God says, their “end is destruction.” That word says, they “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” and “neither shall there by any more pain, for the former things are passed away.” SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.9

J.

“The Financial Results of that Paper Carnival” The Signs of the Times 13, 1, pp. 7, 8.

THAT “Paper Carnival” venture of the Church of the Advent, San Francisco, which we mentioned in the SIGNS of November 18, and upon which we made some estimates, did not pan out as well in money as was expected. There were several items of expenses that were not in our count, because then the carnival was in its full tide of revelry, and the official statement of its receipts and expenditures had not been made, and of course could not be till the carnival was over. So far as was then known, the estimates were that more than 800 persons had spent three months in preparation, and $10,000 had been paid for “dresses, costumes, etc.” For the 800 persons we allowed 25 cents a day for 75 working days, which amounts to $15,000, which, with the $10,000 for costumes, dresses, costumes, etc. make $25,000. Now the official financial statement has been published, and to this $25,000 we find there must be added a “dancing master’s salary, $152.75;” stage manager’s salary, $120; rent of pavilion, gas, music, calcium lights, erecting and papering booths, fitting up stage, and payment of stage hands—in all amounting to $3,806.50. Thus the expense, “at a low estimate,” was $28,806.50. SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.1

The expectation was to raise $15,000 by the carnival, but the gross receipts were only $10,202.48. So there was $28,806.50 spent to get a return of $10,202.48. But as the $3,806.50 had to come out of the $10,202.48, there was left a net income of only $6,305.98, while “it is thought that enough more will come from ladies who sold small quantities of tickets, to raise the sum to $6,500.” Allowing this full amount of $6,500, it then appears that there was an investment of $25,000 to get a return of $6,500. In other words, $18,500 was paid for sheer revelry to help the Church of the Advent. But the “good work” did not stop at that. The official report is that “several wealthy parishioners are so well pleased at the result of the carnival that they have promised contributions, which, added to the carnival proceeds, will reduce the debt to about $5,000.” We should think they ought to be “pleased” with a piece of fun that cost $18,500. But we are at a loss to know how the Church of the Advent is ever going to pay the remaining $5,000 of its debt. For now a carnival would be no novelty, and therefore another carnival would hardly prove such a grand success as this one proved. It is highly probable, however, that the inventive genius of the “Rev. John Gray of the Church of the Advent” is not yet exhausted, and that in the payment of this remaining $5,000 we may look for him to make the greatest effort of his life. By getting up something in which the fun alone would cost about $50,000, it is perhaps possible that he might get the desired $5,000; if not from the enterprise direct, he might by this means succeed in so pleasing his wealthy parishioners that they would promise contributions enough to pay it, especially if he could make sure of them while the revelry is at its height. SITI January 6, 1887, page 7.2

J.