“Whose voice shook the earth:
but now he hath promised, saying, 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, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken
may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have
grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Heb. 12:26-28)
Rev. 16:16-18 definitely identifies Arma-geddon as the great Earthquake: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon… 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.”
Armageddon is a Hebrew word signifying the Hill of Megiddo, or the Mount of De-struction. Megiddo occupied a very marked position on the southern edge of the Plain of Esdraelon, and commanded an important pass into the hill country. This locality was the great battleground on which was fought many of the famous battles of Old Testament history. There Gideon and his little band alarmed and discomfited the Midianites, who destroyed one another in their flight (Judges 7:19-23). There King Saul was defeated by the Philistines (1 Sam. 31:1-6). There King Josiah was slain by Pharaoh-Necho in one of the most disastrous conflicts in the history of Israel (2 Chron. 35:22-25). There also King Ahab and his wife Jezebel lived, in the city of Jezereel, where Jezebel afterwards met a horrible death (2 Kings 9:30-37).
Those battles were in a sense typical. The defeat of the Midianites released the people of Israel from bondage in Midian. Thus Gideon and his band typified our Lord and the Church, who are to release mankind from their bondage to sin and death. The death of King Saul and the overthrow of his kingdom by the Philistines opened the way for the reign of David, who typified Messiah. King Ahab typified the civil government, symbolically called the “Dragon” in Revelation. Queen Jezebel symbolically foreshadowed the great harlot, Babylon, and as such she is mentioned by name. “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel which called herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants.” (Rev. 2:20)
In the Scriptures, the Lord has evidently seen fit to associate the name of this famous battle-field, Armageddon, with the great con-troversy between Truth and Error, right and wrong, God and Mammon, with which the Gospel Age will close and the Messianic Age be ushered in. He has purposely used highly symbolic language in the last book of the Bible, evidently with a view to hiding certain important truths until the due times for their revealing. But even in the due time, “None of the wicked shall understand but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10) None who are out of harmony with God shall know, but only the wise among His people.
1 Kings 19:11,12, which is a record of what Elijah (type of the true Church) saw, states: “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire: but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
The four exhibitions of the Lord, given to Elijah, represent, we believe, four manifestations in which the Lord reveals Himself to mankind, the first three of which will prepare men for the final one, in which will come the desired blessing to all the families of the earth. These are: (1) The mighty winds, rending the very rocks. Winds seem to be used in Scripture for wars.
(2) An earthquake. Throughout the Scriptures an earthquake seems always to represent revolution, conditions which follow such a war would make revolution the next in order.
(3) The fire from Heaven - an epoch of Divine judgments and chastisements upon a maddened, but unconverted world, wild in anarchy, as other Scriptures show us. The results of the wars, revolutions and anarchy and the failure of the schemes of the world will prepare mankind for God’s revelation of Himself in
(4) The still small voice. Yes, He who spoke to winds and waves of Galilee will, in due time, speak peace to the people.
The two World Wars were just a prelude to the worse trouble to come. We should not confuse the natural earthquakes that have occurred recently with the great antitypical worldwide earthquake. Certainly natural disasters, not only earthquakes, but floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., will accompany the entire Time of Trouble, but they will not be the real trouble, which will consist of a rebellion of the people against the order of affairs that exists, including religious, financial, social and political. In fact the present war in Iraq now has brought protesters against it in all countries. So this war may be just the impetus to set off Armageddon, or Revolution. The Time of Trouble is not designed for the Church, but is to and for the world of mankind. It is the introduction of mankind to the change of Dispensation, which will consist of the establishment of the New Covenant.
The trouble is inevitable; the powerful causes are all at work, and no human power is able to arrest their operation and progress toward the certain end; the effects must follow as the Lord foresaw and foretold. No hand but the hand of God could stay the progress of the present current of events; and His hand will not do so until the bitter experiences of this conflict shall have sealed their instruction upon the hearts of men.
The French Revolution provides an example of what Armageddon will be like. In the symbolic language of Revelation, the French Revolution was indeed a “great earthquake,” a social shock so great that all “Christendom” trembled until it was over; and that terrible and sudden outburst of a single nation’s wrath, more than two centuries ago, may give some idea of the fury of the coming storm, when the wrath of all the angry nations will burst the bands of law and order and cause a reign of universal anarchy, which will follow Armageddon, the earthquake. It should be remembered, too, that that calamity occurred in what was then the very heart of Christendom, in the midst of what was regarded as one of the most thoroughly Christian nations in the world, the nation which for a thousand years had been the chief support of Papacy. In fact the French Revolution is referred to by Jesus in His Revelation to John on Patmos as a prelude to, and an illustration of the crisis now approaching (Rev. 12: 15,16). (See Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. 3, pp50-54 and pp 64-69.) That pestilence of infidelity and anarchism has not been cured by Nominal Christianity and it is powerless to avert the further outbreak predicted in the Scriptures to be the greatest trouble ever to be known to earth (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21).
A GRAND PARALLEL
A wonderful parallel to this change of dispensation is shown by That Servant in Volume 4, page 630: “At the making of the Law Covenant, at Mount Sinai, Moses seems to have been a type of the complete Christ (Head and Body) at the introduction of the Millennial Age, when the New Covenant will be introduced to the world, after ‘the sound of the great [seventh] trumpet,’ and the black darkness and ‘great earthquake,’ etc., of the Day of Vengeance shall have appalled mankind and made them ready to hear the voice of the Great Teacher, and glad to accept His New Covenant. This is distinctly pointed out by the Apostle (Heb. 12:18-22) who seems to mark every step of the parallelism. Israel had been approaching and had finally reached Mount Sinai, that might be touched, and from which such fearful sights and sounds emanated that all feared and quaked; but we are nearing Mount Zion and its wonderful glories and blessings far superior to those at Sinai; but accompanying the greater blessings will be the more terrible trumpet, blackness and earthquake shaking - the final shaking of all that can be shaken (all that is sinful and contrary to the Divine will), that only what is true and enduring may remain. The solution of the whole matter is in the words: ‘Wherefore [anticipating thus] receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let is have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably.’ (Heb. 12:28)”
Another illustration is given by That Servant in Volume 1, page 336: “The Deliverance of Israel from Egypt and from the plagues which came upon the Egyptians seems to illustrate the coming emancipation of the world at the hands of the greater than Moses, who he typified (Acts 3:22; Deut. 18:18). It will be a deliverance from Satan and every agency he has devised for man’s bondage to sin and error. And as the plagues upon Egypt had a hardening effect as soon as removed, so the temporary relief from the pains of the Day of the Lord will tend to harden some, and they will say to the poor, as did the Egyptians to Israel. ‘Ye are idle,’ and therefore dissatisfied and will probably, like them, attempt to increase the burden (Ex. 5:4-23). But in the end such will wish, as did Pharaoh in the midnight of his last plague, that they had dealt more leniently and wisely long ago (Ex. 12:30-33). To mark further similarity, call to mind that the troubles of this Day of the Lord are related to the ‘seven vials of wrath,’ or ‘seven last plagues,’ and that it is not until after the last of these that the great earthquake [revolution] occurs, in which every mountain [kingdom] will disappear (Rev. 16:17-20).
“Another thought with reference to this Day of Trouble is that it has come just in due time - God’s due time… evidence is adduced from the testimony of the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament, as well as from Jesus and apostolic prophets of the New Testament which shows clearly and unmistakably that this Day of Trouble is located chronologically in the beginning of the glorious Millennial reign of Messiah. It is this necessary preparation of the coming work of restitution in the Millennial Age that precipitates the trouble.”
In Rev. 7:1 the angels are said to be on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of the earth. We understand this to mean that the fallen angels are holding back the winds from the east, north, south and west, which on coming together constitute the whirlwind, revolution and anarchy. This “wind” is not the “whirlwind,” which will only come when the fallen angels are fully loosed than they were when causing the war, and as such meet in great conflicts among themselves and produce among mankind the symbolic whirlwind, revolution and anarchy (Jer. 25:29-33). The wind, as this text implies, must precede the whirlwind, which occurs as a result of the hostile meeting of the fallen angels, after the wind should not blow on the earth [society], nor on the sea [the restless, rebellious, lawless masses], nor on any tree [great one; the Lord’s people are counted great ones by Him] (Rev. 7:3). There will be a hectic cessation of pangs between the earthquake and the fire, just as there has been between the wind and the earthquake.
The Scriptures abound with allusions to Armageddon. Our Lord Jesus calls it “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21) The prophet Daniel describes it as a “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time.” (Dan. 12:1) Closely in connection with this statement Daniel declares that God’s Representative, “Michael shall stand up, the great Prince which standeth for thy children, thy people, Israel.” The word Michael signifies “He who is like God,” the God-like One. He will stand up for the salvation of God’s people, for rectification of error and wrong, for the establishment of right and truth, to bring to the world of mankind the great Kingdom of God, which has been preached from the days of Abraham.
But there is another great trouble, which is not mentioned in the 1 Kings text, because it is not to be upon the whole world. This trouble will be upon fleshly Israel. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jer. 30:7) There is great trouble upon them now, but we cannot say for certain that this is Jacob’s Trouble. We will not be able to discern this until more time has passed and we observe following events. But one thing is sure and that is that God’s promise to them is that He will “save them out of it.” “For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee, though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and I will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” (Jer. 30:11) In the midst of the trouble God will reveal Himself as Israel’s defender as in ancient times, when His favor was with them nationally. Their extremity will be His opportunity; and their blindness will be removed.
The testimony of all the prophets is to the effect that the power of God will be so marvelously manifested in Israel’s deliverance by His fighting for them [thus for all], with weapons which no human power can control, including pestilence and various calamities, poured upon the wicked [Israel’s enemies and God’s opponents] until speedily all the world will know that the Lord has accepted Israel again to His favor, and become their King, as in olden times; and soon they, as well as Israel, will learn to appreciate God’s Kingdom, which shall speedily become the desire of all nations (Hag. 2:7).
If this great cataclysm of trouble were all we had to look forward to, we would think it the course of wisdom to say nothing about it. We would say, Do not think about it or speak of it; for it will be bad enough when it comes. But when the Bible tells us that the great trouble is designed merely to sweep away the outgrown religious systems, social systems, political systems, etc., and that God will on the wreck of all these things establish the Kingdom of Messiah for the world’s blessing, then we are glad of the trouble, and see that it is a necessary thing. This knowledge would be a great comfort and relief of mind to many bewildered ones who see the trouble coming on with increasing momentum; yet who cannot see the ultimate good to result, who feel that revolution and anarchy are confronting the entire world, but see not the golden lining to the black clouds of trouble.
Speaking about this Time of Trouble, St. Paul says, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of the light and the children of the Day.” (1 Thes. 5:4,5) God’s people should have general information regarding His plans, purposes and arrangements.
In 1 Kings 19:12 it says “after the fire a still small voice.” This is the voice of our Lord saying: “Peace be still” after the final phase of trouble, which is the fire of anarchy. He who spoke to the winds and the waves of Galilee will, in due time, speak peace to the people. It will be then that: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” (Zeph. 3:9); and “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” (Isa. 29:24) In other words, all people will be in harmony because they will all know the Truth. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the face of the great deep (Isa. 11:9; Heb. 2:14). “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 31:34) Ultimately every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, to the glory of God (Phil. 2:11: Isa. 45:23).
“MESSIAH WILL MAKE ALL THINGS NEW”
Can we not see the wisdom of the great Creator’s program? He has determined to permit mankind to convince themselves of their own impotency, of their need of a God, and of the fact that there is a God, and that His glorious purposes for humanity are revealed in His Word. Ah, it is no wonder that the Bible speaks of that revelation of the Lord as the “still small voice of God,” speaking to mankind through Messiah’s Kingdom! No wonder the Lord declares that “then he will turn to the people a pure message that they may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.”
St. Peter gives us a vivid picture of the new order of things in Messiah’s Kingdom. He says, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up… the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved… Nevertheless, we, according to his
promise look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Pet. 3:10,12,13)
The “new heavens” will be the glorified Church, consisting of Jesus the Head and His Bride class, selected from the world during the past centuries. The “new earth” will be the new social order under the control of the new heavens. There will be no patching of present institutions, but a clean sweep of them by the fire of Divine wrath preceding the establishment of the new order, where only that which is righteous, just, equitable, true, will be recognized.
We rejoice that such glorious things are coming - even though the world must necessarily reach them through the tribulation of the Time of Trouble. Happy are those whose eyes and ears of understanding are open now; and who are in such heart relationship with the Lord that He can make known to them in advance something of the riches of His grace, and show them how the coming troubles will work out blessings for the human family.
OVERCOMING DESIRES FOR EARTHLY THINGS
"But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)
The Apostle Paul is here using the illustration of a race course. In certain races there are what are called handicaps; that is, one who is weaker is given a certain allowance of time in starting, and is granted a victory if he gets in on time. That would be an accommodation for only a few. It is called a handicap from the standpoint of the others. But in the Christian race there is accommodation granted to all; for there is none perfect - all come short of the glory of God, and we could never gain any reward that God has offered, had it not been for the satisfaction which the Redeemer has made.
Yet it is also true in this race that some have more allowance than others. Those who have many weaknesses have a corresponding allowance of grace made for them; and those who have fewer weaknesses have a less allowance. “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly,” said St. Paul. He was fully determined. He had a definite goal in view, and meant to win. This is the only attitude, if we would gain the prize that God has offered us; and the whole matter is dependent upon our zeal, our faithfulness and our earnestness.
The Greek games had other exhibitions of strength and agility besides racing. There were contests with wild animals, in which a man would attempt to slay an animal. Then there were others between men, in which a man would attempt to deal his antagonist a fatal blow, if possible, with his brass knuckles. In preparation for this contest, the contestants had a wind bag to practice on. But this was not the real battle, it was merely the preparation.
So the Apostle says that he was not using his strength merely in practice. He was trying to do something. He was fighting a real battle. What battle was it? The answer of the Bible is that a great battle began away back in the days when Satan became the adversary of God. Our first parents came into slavery to Satan, and later some of the angels fell. Now many are fighting, and some are thoroughly ignorant of whose side they are fighting for. Those who are fighting for unrighteousness are on Satan's side. Whoever is fighting for moral reforms, etc., is on God's side, rather than the side of the enemy of mankind.
The world is fighting more or less - some more intelligently, some less intelligently. There are in every army some who could not tell you what the fight is about. So now, many do not know that a battle is being waged between Righteousness and Sin. The millionaires have their own battles and contentions; and the little store-keepers have their battles, in competition with the larger merchants. The attorney has his battles. He may sometimes take a case that is on the side of justice, and defend it with zeal; and again he may take a case that is on the side of injustice, and prosecute it with equal zeal. But the world does not recognize the real battle. The same man may be on the right side one day and on the wrong side the next day.
The Apostle had enlisted under the true banner. Christ lifted up a standard in opposition to Satan, and he will yet win a glorious victory on the very field where sin has reigned for six thousand years. He had a personal conflict with the powers of darkness, in which he was victor. And his victory was gained by his overcoming his own natural desires, and fully submitting himself to the will of God. This was the only condition on which he could be exalted from the earthly state, to the glories of the Divine Nature. He has met the required condition, of dying the Just for the unjust, and has gotten the great victory over Satan.
The heavenly Father, in harmony with his own arrangement, has empowered the Lord Jesus to take out from the world a company to lay down their lives with himself, during a time when everything seems contrary, when evil seems to triumph more frequently than do righteousness and justice. These, walking by faith, and not by sight, are to lay down their lives for the sake of righteousness, to carry out the purposes of God.
OUR PRIMARY BATTLE IS WITH SELF
Do we ask, Whom, or what, shall we fight? The answer is that one would not enter the real conflict at all, if he should follow the impulses of his own mind. In such case he would not have any part in this fight. He might engage in the ordinary battling of the world - sometimes in the right, sometimes in the wrong. But if he would get into this company which is being guided by Jesus, he must come unto God by him, and must sacrifice earthly hopes, aims, and ambitions, and walk in Jesus' footsteps - steps of suffering unto death. “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Heb: 2:l0) Thus the battle begins in our mind, our will. We submit our mind to the mind of Christ.
In the typical Day of Atonement sacrifices, the body of Christ is represented by the Lord's goat. And as the high priest killed the goat in the type, so in the antitype the animal nature is to be killed, slaughtered, sacrificed. It is not to be yielded up to sin, but to be overcome. The new nature is in mortal combat with entrenched sin, and the cravings of human nature. He has made a consecration of himself to God. As a result, the Advocate has placed his own merit upon the consecrated one. When this is done, the battle immediately begins, that the new nature may keep down the old nature, the old will (Gal. 5:17).
The Apostle Peter writes, “Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness… that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless!” (2 Peter 3:11,14) With this anticipation, how serious life should be!
The Christian who knows about these things of the future, and who lives in anticipation of them, has a joy and a peace of which the world knows nothing. One week of such living is worth more than an entire lifetime with only such things as the world has to offer. And if now we enjoy living the new life, and entering by faith into the things that the Lord has in reservation for us, what will be the realization! If we would lose much in the present time by losing our hope and faith, what would it be to lose these things eternally!
As we realize this, we see that we cannot afford one moment of carelessness. The man engaged in combat with the animal knows that the bruised and wounded animal seeks to kill him. So the Apostle tells us, the old nature strives to kill the new nature. Therefore the new nature must see to it that it uses all its strength to gain the victory. The Lord has promised us grace sufficient for every time of need. If we are overcome by the old nature, it will be because we have not strength sufficient for the victory; for if we call upon the Lord he will sustain us. But the Lord will test our loyalty, our faith, our strength of character, our alertness of mind. And the victory is sure, so long as our trust is in him! (Pastor Russell, Reprint 5777,5778, October 1, 1915)
“IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW”
Emily Jane Horn Hoefle
With much sadness it is our duty to report that our beloved Sister, Emily Hoefle, entered the sleep with Jesus on January 1, 2008. She was born April 5, 1906, the youngest of seven children of William Belt Horn and Amanda Crater Horn. They lived on a farm, although her father also ran a country store. Her parents were faithful Christians, but it was not until Emily was a youngster that her Mother came into the truth. In fact Emily and her sister, Augusta, were indirectly responsible for her getting the Truth. Their Mother was visiting her natural sister, Sally, and the two children were playing too roughly with some books, so Mother remonstrated with them. But her sister, Sally, said it was all right for her preacher had said those books were from the devil. This piqued Amanda’s interest, so she asked if she could have the books. They were Pastor Russell’s books; she read them and recognized that it was the truth right away. Afterward all of the children accepted it, although not in consecration right away.
As a young woman, Emily moved to the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There she began to work for a Justice of the Peace [magistrate], who was a Jew. He soon recognized that Emily was very smart, even though she had no schooling or experience as a secretary. He also understood that she favored the Jews. Therefore, he came to rely on her a lot.
In 1951 Emily married Brother John J. Hoefle and they moved to Mount Dora, Florida. Brother Hoefle was founder of the Epiphany Bible Students Association, and Sister Hoefle assisted him in his work of expounding the Truth and refuting errors. She continued the work after his death until she became disabled. She then guided and coached others in the work. She was a driving force in the lives of many Bible Students, as well as much witnessing to others. As a faithful student of Bible, she always testified of the promises of God - namely the coming Kingdom, resurrection of the dead, times of restitution of all things, and healing set forth in Rev. 21:4: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” She always pointed out that those things are possible because of the central doctrine of the Bible as found in 1 Timothy 2:6 - Christ, “who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” The result being what Christ stated in his own words (John 5:28,29, Dia.) “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth: they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment.”
Brother and Sister Hoefle were true friends of the Jews. “The New Covenant will be made with the Jews.” (Jer. 31:31-34) The Kingdom will be Israelitish. God’s plan of Salvation for all mankind will come through Spiritual Israel and Natural Israel.
The two of them were excommunicated by the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement because they refuted the errors that were issued after the death of the Epiphany Messenger, who founded that movement. Emily, like her husband, was always appreciative of the Lord's overruling Providence, and counted the rebuffs and ostracism as “all things but loss for the execellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8), as she “earnestly contended for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) We may be sure that the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance (Psa. 112:6).