“…things which must shortly come to pass.” (Rev. 1:1)
These words, true when our Lord uttered them, are no less true now, some 1,900 years later. We are sure that the wonderful events with which this Age is to close and the Millennial Age is to open are now near, even at the door. There are some, however, who argue that the Lord and the Apostles must have been mistaken when they used such language; for they say, 1,900 years are not “shortly.”
We reply that all depends upon the standpoint. From the human standpoint 1,900 years is a dreadfully long period, but not so from the Divine. The prophet intimates this saying, “…a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday…” (Psa. 90:4) Yes, responded the Apostle Peter, “…be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years...” (2 Pet. 3:8)
From the Divine standpoint, therefore, the 6,000 years since Adam’s creation are but six days of a great week of which the Millennial Age is the great Sabbath. Suppose now that the mechanic or the homemaker had in mind a work week beginning with Monday morning and closing with Saturday night, and suppose that Friday morning had arrived — would anyone say that the truth was being stretched if it were said the week is “far spent,” the work-time now is short; the rest that is promised will “shortly come to pass?” Surely these would be usual and proper statements. Thus it is with the words of our Lord and His apostles. They were living in the beginning of the fifth thousand year day, and properly the Holy Spirit in them recognized the promised blessings as near.
BECLOUDING ERRORS AVOIDED
Both the object and manner of the second coming have confused many, holding as they do that Christ’s second coming will be in a body of flesh and visible to mankind, and holding also as they mostly do that the object of His coming will be to gather His Saints to Himself and to utterly destroy the remainder of mankind and the world itself with fire. They have been led to pull and twist the various prophetic time prophecies so as to have them all end at the same moment of the one day in which they expect Christ to appear, the judgment of the world to take place, and the burning to begin.
Delivered from both of these errors, our eyes have been opened to a realization of the fact that the judgment of the world means its trial for life everlasting, and not its condemnation to the Second Death. We see that the world was condemned as a race because of original sin, and that the whole world has been under this curse or sentence of death for now 6,000 years. We see that in much mercy God redeemed us from that curse or sentence of eternal death by the death of His Son, our Lord. We see that the only ones who are even accounted as escaped from that death sentence are the few who have been blessed with hearing ears and understanding hearts. As the apostle declares, these have “…escaped the corruption that is in the world...” (2 Pet. 1:4) The great mass of mankind outside the Household of Faith are still under the original sentence — eternal death.
We see that God’s object in giving some a knowledge during the Gospel Age whereby they might escape this sentence, and reach life everlasting in Christ, was to gather out a “little flock” to be joint-heirs with His Son in the glorious Millennial Kingdom.
THE SEED OF ABRAHAM
We see that Christ and His overcoming Church, His Bride, constitute the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29) which is to bless all the families of the earth during the Millennial Age. We see that the blessing that will come to the world will be the trial or judgment of that blessed Millennial Day, and that the knowledge of the Lord and full opportunity are promised as incidental to the world’s trial for life everlasting. This saves us from the thought that the Church, the Little Flock, of Christ, alone has a part in the blessings secured from the atonement. It saves us too from the error of supposing that the second coming of Christ is the end of all hope, mercy and probation. It shows us, on the contrary, that so far as the generality of our race is concerned, that event is but the beginning of Divine mercy and opportunity and trial for life eternal for the world.
A careful examination of the Father’s word has assured us fully that our Lord Jesus left the glory, dignity and honor of His spiritual condition when He became a man, not that He might remain a man to all eternity, but that as a man He might give the ransom price for Adam and all his race. We see that He did this, and we have the clear scriptural testimony that the Father was pleased to honor Him, not merely with the same honor that He had before, but He was pleased to exalt Him far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named. We perceive the clear scriptural testimony that He was “…put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (1 Pet. 3:18) We perceive that after His resurrection, though still in the world for 40 days, He was with His disciples but for a few moments on the seven occasions, and then in different forms, as proving to them and to us that, although He was the same Jesus, He was now “changed” and no longer human and subject to human conditions. To demonstrate this He appeared in the room with His disciples while “the doors were shut,” (John 20:19) and, departing, “vanished out of their sight.” (Luke 24:31) He appeared in flesh and garments as suited the convenience of the occasions, and thus manifested the same powers that He and associated holy angels had manifested in previous times; as, for instance, when the Lord and three angels appeared to Abraham and took dinner with him and talked with him and afterward went down and delivered Lot out of Sodom.
NO LONGER A MAN
We thus realize that our Lord Jesus is no longer a man, but, as the apostle declares, “…the Lord is that Spirit…” (2 Cor. 3:17) and “…though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now, henceforth, know we him no more.” (2 Cor. 5:16) We, therefore, are no longer expecting as do others that He will come a second time in the flesh. On the contrary, the expectation of the Church was to be changed and made as He is, in order to see Him as He is — not as He was at the First Advent. (1 John 3:2)
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matt. 24:36) This text is frequently misapplied. It does not say that of that day and hour no man shall ever know. At the time of its utterance neither men nor angels nor the Lord Jesus Himself knew the time of His second coming; but when the second coming takes place the Lord undoubtedly will be aware of it before the time, and so also the holy angels who will be His escort; and there would be nothing inconsistent with the statement if some of the Lord’s consecrated people might have intimations respecting the event. Other Scriptures speak of “the day of the Lord,” signifying a period in which He will be manifested. For instance, the apostle tells us that “…the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they [the world] shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” (1 Thes. 5:2-4) Note how explicit is this declaration, and how clearly it divides between the Church and the world — between the class who will know in advance respecting the day of the Lord and the class that will not know until the great trouble of the “day of wrath” is upon them.
PAROUSIA VERSUS EPIPHANIA
The Scriptures (Greek) use both of these words in referring to the second coming of Christ; but neither of them signify the same as our English word coming, viz., approach. We would like to make very clear the Scriptures’ teaching — that in the end of this Gospel Age our Lord, at His Second Advent, will for a time be present but invisible, and that subsequently His presence will be revealed (epiphania) or made known. None will know of His presence until after He is here, only the thoroughly consecrated, Israelites indeed, will know of the matter at all until the outward manifestation will be in the day of trouble — judgments coming upon present institutions. The early part of the Lord’s presence will be devoted to His Church, as His words specifically inform us.
In giving the great prophecy of Matt. 25, the Lord tells us that in the time of His second presence He will gird Himself (that is, take the position of a servant,) and come forth and serve His people with “things new and old,” “meat in due season for the Household of Faith.” This service will be rendered at a time when the world will not know of His presence, but will be saying that all things continue as they were from the foundation of the world. Another of our Lord’s parables represents that at His Second Advent He will call His own servants and reckon with them and reward them; he that has received the two talents and used them wisely will be rewarded; he who received the five talents and used them wisely and profitably will be rewarded. Their rewards are stated: Some shall be made rulers over five cities, others over ten cities — in the Kingdom, shortly after it has been established. Evidently this testing of the Church and determining its rewards will be before there is any manifestation to the world to the presence of the Son of man at His Second Advent. Afterward, when ready to begin dealing with the world, judging the institutions of the present time, the presence of the Son of man will be revealed “in flaming fire”— judgments. (2 Thes. 1:8)
DAY OF THE PRESENCE
In Matthew 24:37, our Lord distinctly makes a statement concerning His Second Advent. It reads thus: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” This is evidently intended to be an illustration, but there is an incongruity in comparing the days of Noah and the coming of the Son of man. The difficulty is made clear when we find that the word here rendered coming is parousia, and does not mean coming, but means presence, as every Greek scholar knows. Now let us read the verse and see how plain it becomes, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the presence of the Son of man be.” It is plain now. The days of the presence of the Son of man will in some respects resemble the days of Noah, preceding the flood. Now we turn to Luke’s account of the same discourse and read (Luke 17:26), “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Now the two statements are in harmony, and we know to look for some correspondence as between Noah’s days and the days of the presence of Christ in the end of this Age.
Is there anything to indicate what the correspondencies will be? Yes; it is specifically stated thus: “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming [parousia, presence] of the Son of man be.” (Matt: 24:38,39) Let us not lose the point of the illustration: the Lord was not suggesting that eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage were wicked things in the days of Noah, which would be duplicated in the days of the presence of the Son of man. The thought is that as the people of Noah’s day knew not of the coming flood, but were going about their ordinary business, so also in the end of this Age, in the time of the presence of the Son of man, the world will be going about its ordinary business, its eating and drinking, planting and building and marrying, totally unaware, unconscious of the time in which they are living — that it is the closing time of the Gospel Dispensation and the opening time of the great Millennial Age, to be ushered in with a great Time of Trouble such as never was before.
This, it will be perceived, is in strict harmony with what the apostle said, namely, that the Day of the Lord would come as a thief and a snare upon the whole world, and that they would not escape. But, in harmony with the apostle’s suggestion that “ye, brethren,” would not be left in “darkness,” should not we, dear brethren, be on the lookout to see by what means the Lord will inform us respecting the Harvest Time of this Gospel Age, respecting the presence of the Son of man, and respecting the work that will be done in the time of His presence, and before His revealing to the world, before His epiphania (revealing) in the Time of Trouble?
“BEHOLD, I COME AS A THIEF”
The Scripture prophecies clearly teach that we are now living in “the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26) — in the parousia, in the time of the Lord’s presence. We are not pointing you to a future date, but pointing back to the fall of 1874, when no one had the slightest knowledge of the facts of the case when it occurred. Our Lord said, “Behold, I come as a thief” (Rev. 16:15) — quietly, secretly, unknown, and so it has been; He came without our knowing it. It is since His presence that the light has shone particularly upon His word. He has indeed girded Himself and come forth to serve His people. We have been the recipient of His favors, of His grace, of His truth, as respects things new and old. It is our understanding of the teachings of the Word that, during the Harvest Time and before the great time of anarchy and trouble upon the world and the smiting of present institutions, that all the Lord’s true people, all who are Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile, will have been brought to a knowledge of the Lord and of the truth, a knowledge of the Divine Plan of the Ages and of the presence of the Chief Reaper in the harvest of this Age.
It need not surprise us that all of the Lord’s people do not receive the meat in due season at the same moment. It must be passed from one to another, for so illustrations in the Scripture intimate, until all “the wise shall understand.” But the Scriptures are equally explicit in the statement that “none of the wicked shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10) Those who are of a rebellious attitude of mind and heart, who, even if God’s true children, are cultivating in their hearts envy, malice, hatred, strife and other works of the flesh and of the devil, are not in a condition to hear the voice of the Son of man. His is the still small voice intended only for those who have an ear to hear, and this hearing is granted only to those who have hearts in accord with the Lord’s spirit.
THE CHART ILLUSTRATIONS
We refer you to the chart representing the Plan of the Ages (Studies in the Scriptures, Volume I, frontispiece) to see how the various time prophecies, although making no mention of the second coming of Christ, clearly indicate and imply that His parousia, His presence, would begin in October, 1874. First, we call to mind the Jubilee type. It explicitly indicates that the “times of restitution of all things” — earth’s great Jubilee — were due to begin in October 1874 (see Studies in the Scriptures, Volume II, Study VI). The two lines of testimony on the subject — the law and the prophets — both point to the same time. We look about us and see evidences of restitution work, finding that since 1874 the work of blowing the trumpets, the demanding of human rights and privileges, has been the order of the day.
Now let us notice the words of the Apostle Peter, uttered nineteen centuries ago. He said: “…times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; Whom the heaven must receive [retain] until the times of restitution of all things...” (Acts 3:19-21) Note these words particularly — the heavens were to receive our Redeemer, to retain Him, until the restitution times. The lesson clearly would be that if restitution times chronologically began in October, 1874, the heavens no longer retain our Lord. This is an indirect way that the Scriptures teach that the Lord became present in 1874, yet all were unaware of the matter at the time.
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT IN 1799
We call to your attention what the Prophet Daniel calls the “days of waiting” (refer to Volume III, Study III for a detailed discussion of this subject). In prophecy he foretold of the rise of Papacy, and, foretold the length of its dominion to be 1,260 prophetic days, literally years — exactly the same that is stated three times in the book of Revelation as measuring the prosperity of the great system which “…shall wear out the saints of the Most High…” (Dan. 7:25) for 1,260 days or 1,260 literal years. The 1,260 years of papal dominion lasted from the year 539 to the year 1799 A.D. — from the time papacy was set up in power, until the time when its power was broken by Napoleon Bonaparte, who carried the pope a prisoner to France, and in so doing showed the whole world that the claims of the man who sat upon the papal throne that he was “another God on earth” and had power in heaven, earth and purgatory, were bombastic claims, unsupported by any real evidence of power.
The next period of 1,290 days (years) ended in 1829 with the beginning of the Second Advent movement of that period, which had a great influence upon its time. The 1,335 prophetic days (years) of the same prophecy reached to October, 1874 — ending exactly at the same place, at the time indicated by the Jubilee. We call your attention to the words of the Prophet Daniel in connection with these 1,335 days. He said, “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” (Dan. 12:12)
Those who have lived and patiently waited for the fulfillment of the Lord’s gracious promises have received a special blessing — a blessing which began with and dated from the fall of 1874. Every step of our progress in the knowledge of the Divine Plan is a fresh cause for rejoicing. “And he hath put a new song in my mouth…” (Psa. 40:3)
GENTILE TIMES END A. D. 1914
Now notice the other prophecy respecting Israel’s seven times of chastisement under the nations — 2,520 years from the time the crown was removed from the head of their last king, Zedekiah, and down to the year 1914. A period of 40 years is thus appropriated, first to the gathering of the harvest of the Gospel Age — the resurrection of the sleeping Saints and the testing and proving and gathering to the Lord of the living members of the Body. Look at the (nominal) church and see how infidelity under the name of higher criticism is invading the nominal sanctuary — how few are clean and free from the contamination. It is bound to make a division but, alas, so few will be found faithful to the Lord and to His word that the great majority, losing their faith, will have so much company in the matter that they will not realize for some time their fall from Divine favor and grace. It will not take many years to accomplish this separation. Look at the world, and see how the love of money has bewitched all, so that little else than money or pleasure is ever thought of in civilized lands. See how this spirit of selfishness is working amongst the masses and the classes of the world in general, how these are being bound in bundles — into organizations, combinations and unions, and how the capitalistic class is being bound also into other unions, confederations, combinations, and trusts, and note that the same spirit is infecting churchianity and for the same reasons — for self-protection, for self-aggrandizement, for power. Think how far along these organizations are at the present times, and what the struggle will be when they are all thoroughly organized and the tug of war shall come. The Scriptures tell us distinctly how the battle will result, that Babylon the Great will fall, and that with her in the battle will go down the kings and princes and mighty ones of earth, and that a terrible time of anarchy will prevail, and the only bright spot in the future lies beyond in the gracious promises of the God of Heaven, that on the ruins of present institutions He will establish His Kingdom.
JEWISH AND GOSPEL
Now, look at the parallels of the Jewish and Gospel dispensations. Note how all of these prophecies are harmonized and unified in this teaching of the parallels between the two Israels, the house of servants and the house of sons — the one under Moses, the Mediator of the Law Covenant; the other under Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant — the one founded to Jacob with his twelve sons, natural Israel; the other founded by Christ, the true Israel of God, with His twelve apostles. The house of servants, we have seen, began with the death of Jacob and lasted 1,811 years, until the First Advent movement at the time of our Lord’s birth, when all men were in expectation of Him, and when wise men from the East sought for Him. And likewise from the death of Christ, where this Gospel Age began, 1,811 years reached to the Second Advent movement, which occurred in 1844.
We are not Second Adventists, nor would Second Adventists in any sense or degree recognize us or our teachings, but we do believe that the movement which culminated in 1844 was in some measure instigated by the Almighty, and that it had a powerful influence favorable to the truth. There the virgins, as foretold in Matthew 25, went forth to meet the Bridegroom and he tarried, and they all afterward slumbered and slept until the morning, until the announcement, “…Behold, the bridegroom…” (Matt. 25:6) Thirty years after the Advent Movement at Bethlehem there was another Advent Movement at Jordan, when John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, and when our Lord really entered upon His work. And similarly in the end of this Age, 30 years from 1844 brings us to 1874, where the Jubilee testimony proclaims to us the Lord’s presence. Forty years from the time Jesus was baptized by John at Jordan, the Jewish nation was utterly overthrown in the greatest time of trouble ever known to that troubled people — their city was utterly destroyed. So likewise 40 years from 1874 reached to 1914, where the antitype of Israel, namely, Christendom, had the beginning of its overthrow in a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation.
NOT ACCIDENTAL BUT
Are these things accidental? We think not; they are all based upon the Scriptures, they are all simple and easy of demonstration, and yet they were all hidden by the method of their statement or by facts related to their interpretation, so that they could not be understood until God’s due time, when He lifts the veil. Thus the Lord said to Daniel the Prophet, in respect to his inquiry of those times and seasons, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed and sealed till the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:9) We understand that the Time of the End began in 1799, more than two centuries ago, and that we have been in the Time of the End ever since, and that the Time of the End is another name for what another prophet calls “the day of his preparation.” (Nahm. 2:3) Since 1799 we have been in the time of the Lord’s preparation for the Millennial Kingdom. He has lifted the curtain, and light has shone in upon the world from every quarter, on mechanics, on chemistry, on every science and on every art.
SIGNS ALL ABOUT US
All of these things have served to make the day in which we live the grandest that the world has ever known; and yet these grand privileges and blessings are about to work out for our present civilization the great catastrophe of anarchy to which we have just alluded. The law of selfishness rules in the hearts of all classes, and causes envy, hatred, malice, strife, and, eventually, through socialism, will lead up to anarchy and wreck the entire social fabric.
All this is noted by the prophet, for he gives us in the same connection, after being told that the prophecy was “sealed till the time of the end,” a description of this Time of the End — a description which fits so marvelously that it will surprise everyone who will examine it. Mark the words: “…many shall run to and fro…knowledge shall be increased…the wise shall understand…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation...” (Dan. 12:1, 4, 10)
Note the four items. First, the running to and fro. What a marvelous fulfillment we see before our eyes — steamboats, railroads, every contrivance for locomotion, and with ever-increasing speed and ever-increasing numbers (add to that today, automobiles, high speed rail, air travel, and space flight). The whole world is running to and fro, just as the Lord indicated through the prophets would be the case in this Time of the End. Could we hope to ever have a more particular fulfillment of any prophecy than this is? Surely not. Note the second point: Knowledge shall be increased. Not only is scientific knowledge increased, but the thought appears to be rather knowledge shall be generally disseminated (today we have television and the internet which put all kinds of knowledge, both good and evil, at our fingertips). And it is all over Christendom, which is the world in prophecy. Education is progressing in a wonderful manner; children of 10 years are studying subjects which their great-grandfathers never thought of studying (today even toddlers have tablet computers in their hands). In every land knowledge has been increased, and here is another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. Could it be plainer? Mark the third point: The wise shall understand — understand the vision which Daniel could not understand, which Daniel was not permitted to understand, which Daniel was not intended to understand.
We are not posing as worldly wise. On the contrary, we are seeking the wisdom which cometh from above, the light which shines forth from the lamp which God has given us, His Word, and all who follow its leadings from the Divine standpoint are the truly wise. This class may now understand; but as the context declares, “The wicked shall do wickedly; but none of the wicked shall understand.” They will take their own course, and the Plan of God and the Word of God will daily come to appear to them more and more foolish as their scientific minds grapple with their evolution theories and their higher critical difficulties. Is this part of the prophecy being fulfilled? Is the Word and Plan of God opening before His consecrated people as never before? It most assuredly is so! Note the fourth point: “There shall be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” The outlook from any standpoint, but particularly from the standpoint of those who are looking from God’s standpoint, is that the Time of Trouble is nearing.
We see that the prosperity of this Time of the End is not conducive to happiness and peace; we see the whole world growing more and more discontented, although enjoying more of the blessings and favors of the Lord in temporal matters than ever before. We see that the secret of this discontent is knowledge. Knowledge is power — power for good or for evil, according to the sentiments of the heart. We must expect that only those hearts which are consecrated to the Lord and dominated by His spirit will receive this power of knowledge in such a manner as to profit themselves and their fellows; and since these are the small minority of the civilized world, we are not to be surprised that the knowledge and the power are about to wreck the present order of things. God will thus cause the wrath of man to praise Him, for, looking back, man will discover from the Millennial standpoint what were the wickedness and errors of the present time as they cannot see them now, because they are so close to them and so vitally interested. They will see that selfishness lay at the foundation of present institutions in every sense of the word; even the benevolences of the present time are to some extent handicapped by selfishness. God wishes the whole world to have a terrible lesson on the result of selfishness in the cataclysm of trouble and disintegration which it will effect; He wishes all to learn that His way is not only the right way, but the only way in which knowledge and liberty and power may be used to blessing and to profit.
Do these things appeal to you as both scriptural and rational — as being in accord with the word of God and the exercising of our senses? If so, your hearts are leaping with joy at the thought that the dark night of earth’s sin and suffering will soon be at an end and the glorious morning of the Kingdom soon be ushered in. Then you will be attentive respecting the things which must shortly come to pass — the things which are coming to pass day by day in the midst of which we are living, if this prophetic testimony and outward corroborations are trustworthy in any degree. “What must we expect in the church?” some may ask. Much depends upon what church we refer to. There are many churches of men, but only one Church of the living God whose names are written in heaven. The Scriptures everywhere show that the churches of men are more or less built upon error and are fencing in their various folds not only the Lord’s sheep, but the worldly goats — not only the Lord’s wheat, but the world’s tares. We do not understand the Scriptures to teach that the goats and tares are all coarse, rude and villainous and disreputable, any more than the sheep and wheat are all wealthy and polished gentlemen and ladies. The tests are along different lines, and we read, “The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Tim. 2:19) —regardless of outward garb, education, appearance or wealth. We further read that “…the LORD looketh on the heart,” (1Sam. 16:7) and, again, that not many great, not many learned, hath God chosen, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the Kingdom.
These then, the Lord’s poor, we are to expect to find in all the various wheat fields, behind all the various creed fences, intermingling with all the various bands of tares. The harvest work, so far as the wheat is concerned, was the gathering out of these. The Lord speaks of Christendom or churchianity as a whole under the name of Babylon — the name which originally applied to the mother of harlots, but which has become appropriate to all her daughter systems as well. These are addressed by the Lord in His last message, saying: “…Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen... Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:2,4)
THE HARVEST SICKLE —
The Lord is sending forth present truth as a sickle to gather the true wheat from every part of the wheat fields, not by gathering them into another denomination or sect or party or name, but simply to gather them to the Lord — to fellowship with Him and to fellowship with others of like precious faith. We are sick of churchianity, but thoroughly in love with the great Christianity which Jesus and the apostles founded, under the terms and conditions of which all of the Lord’s people are brought into heart-to-heart fellowship, and need not the bands of sects and confessions to fasten them together. Having one spirit, the spirit of truth, they are one body, as the apostle has expressed it. (1 Cor. 12:12,13, 27)
The fields are white for the harvest, and every day is making a division between the nominal Christianity and the true Christianity, and the more apparent it becomes that the nominal systems are growing more and more worldly. The colleges and seminaries of every denominational shade have for years been turning out polished infidels, who no more believe in the inspiration of God’s Word than they believe in the inspiration of Shakespeare or Dickens, and they are not slow to say this amongst themselves, though craftily, many of them disguise their infidelity before such members of their flocks as they fear would be shocked if they knew the truth; but as their numbers increase, their courage increases to boldness, and in their own circles they do not hesitate to speak of those who accept the Bible as foolish, and old fogies. Let us be glad to be counted fools for Christ’s sake. Let us note, too, that the line of division is turning here on the same issue as at the First Advent. At the First Advent the question turned on the necessity for Christ’s death as the sin offering, and so today it is turning on the same problem. Is Christ our Redeemer or merely a great teacher? All these “higher critics” claim the latter, that Jesus was a Great Teacher, but not a redeemer, and that no redemption was necessary. They hold the evolution theory that man, instead of falling from the image of God into savagery and depravity, has been falling upward, as they express it — coming from brute conditions up to the present status. This is the line of battle; let no one be deceived on the subject.
ABLE TO STAND IN THE
We are living today in the time referred to by the apostle when he said, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Eph. 6:13) We are in the evil day — the day of trial, the day of testing, the day referred to by the prophet when he declared: “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand…” (Psa. 91:7) These thousands are already falling under the shafts of skepticism, higher criticism, evolution, etc., but the battle has already begun. There is still time for those who are the Lord’s true people to hear the jubilee trumpet, to recognize the situation, and to put on the whole armor of God, that they may be able to stand in the evil day, and that they may help others to stand.
This paper is based on a sermon given by Pastor Russell in 1903 and printed in Harvest Gleanings, Volume 2. It has been edited to fit the space and to update certain references and language.
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