“Shut up the words, and seal the book even to the time of the end.... and how long shall it be to the end?.... It shall be for a time, times and a half.... the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end .... none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.... go thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” (Dan. 12:4-13) In Dan. 12:11 reference is made to “the abomination that maketh desolate”; and Jesus makes specific reference to this prediction in Matt. 24:15 as He gave answer to the questions of His Disciples, “When shall be the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3) It will be noted in this latter verse that Jesus “sat upon the Mount of Olives” – an expression carrying much more significance than is commonly appreciated. In those days it was common practice for the teacher to sit down, and for the audience to stand (just the reverse of the present-day custom). Therefore, so often when Jesus sat down, His Disciples recognized He was prepared to teach them something. So forceful in those days was the expression “to sit” that in the Talmud it is almost synonymous with our common thought “to teach.”
And, as Jesus “sat upon the Mount of Olives,” the Disciples pressed Him with the question, “When shall be the end of the world?” That question which then intrigued them has with equal force prodded all the Lord's followers throughout the Age; and we find ourselves no different than the rest: We also diligently seek the answer to this intriguing query, “When shall the end be?” Brother Russell made valiant effort to answer the question with precision in Volume 3, pp. 23-59; and the great bulk of that book is living tribute to the prediction that he was “ordained a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1:5) But time itself has also clearly revealed that he made some mistakes in some of his details – particularly respecting the consummate “end” of the “Tine of the End.” He was very specific that the beginning of the “Time of the End” was the year 1799 – a year which marked the end of the Papacy's counterfeit Millennium, which had its beginning in the year 799, when Charlemagne conferred great powers upon the Pope. With the date 1799 we ourselves are in full agreement; Biblical prophecy points to that year in no uncertain manner. All of this was made very clear in Volume 3, which was published in 1891; but we should not be surprised that some of his expectations for the year 1914 did not materialize as he had set then out – nor should we discount the remarkable foresight displayed in that book. On p. 48 he gives us this statement:
“But 1799 was only the beginning of the period known as the Time of the End, within the limits of which every vestige of that system (The Papacy) shall pass away.” Further, there is this on p. 58: “We have thus shown that 1799 began the period called the Time of the End; that in this time Papacy is to be consumed piece-meal.” And again on p. 59: “This Time of the End, or day of Jehovah's preparation, beginning AD 1799 and closing AD 1914, though characterized by a great increase of knowledge over all past ages, is to culminate in the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known.”
Surely, no sober thinker will contend that the foregoing was all realized in 1914; some of it, in fact, had not even begun to be realized in 1914. We believe it a proper observation that the war that began in 1914 was up to that time the world's greatest calamity; and the war of 1939-45 was an even greater calamity. But neither of these could properly be described as “the greatest time of trouble,” because the Papacy still stands; yet the prediction is clear that it shall be destroyed “in the Time of the End” – “The Lord Jesus will consume with the breath of His mouth, and annihilate by the appearing (Epiphaneia) of His presence (Parousia)”—2 Thes. 2:8, the beast (Papacy) was slain, and given to the burning flame” (the violent features of the Time of Trouble)—Dan. 7:11.
Clearly enough, it is the events – the portentous happenings – which are to designate the consummate end of the Time of the End, rather than any specific date although the exact date may yet be revealed “in due time.” As has been so often stressed by both Messengers here in the end of the Age, prophecy cannot be understood in detail until it has been fulfilled, or is in the course of fulfillment; yet both of them occasionally ignored their own sage counsel by attempting to determine details much in advance of their occurrence – which, we believe, in part was permitted by the Lord for “the trial of your faith”—l Pet. 1:7. It is our own hope – and prayer – that we may avoid similar failure. Brother Russell's sagacious insight into the future was truly phenomenal; but we must consider that he was not infallible – that the “due time” for much of God's detailed purposes was not for his day. Nor were they so for Brother Johnson's day. Nor are they yet for us. – “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 29:29)
A TIMELY CORRECTION
As the years progressed after 1916, it became very clear to Brother Johnson that some of Brother Russell's conclusions needed some readjustment, consequently, when he reproduced Volume 3 in 1937, he gave us this note on p. 382:
“Believing at the time of writing the book that 1914 would not only witness the complete annihilation of the kingdoms of this world, but also the full setting up of God's kingdom, our Pastor naturally expected the Time of the End to be over by October 1914, and so presented the matter on page 23. On that page and on the top of the next page he taught that by the close of the Time of the End, state, church and capital as now existing will have been overthrown. On the top of p. 48 he states that by its close every vestige of Papacy will be destroyed. He was right in placing these events in the Time of the End; but the facts prove that they did not occur by October, 1914. Why not? Because, unknown to our Pastor, the forty years of the reaping time, the Parousia, were to be followed by the forty years of the trouble time, the Epiphany, during which Epiphany those institutions were to be destroyed. Hence the Time of the End is to be forty years longer than our Pastor supposed. When, as the above citations show, in 1904, he came to see that the trouble would not be over, but would begin in 1914, he taught something that implied that the Time of the End would reach beyond 1914, though so far as we know he never so expressed himself on the subject. From his standpoint of the Time of the End witnessing the full overthrow of this world's kingdoms and Babylon, it is evident that we are still in the Time of the End (in 1937—JJH), since these kingdoms have not yet been finally overthrown.”
From the foregoing it is clear enough that 1914 could not possibly have been the consummate end of the Time of the End; but now in this year 1966 we may make identical conclusions on Brother Johnson's predictions for 1954. Time itself has proven that the expectations for 1954 were also immature – precisely as was true of 1914. We also make the same observation for the Epiphany period being forty years: Time itself has proven that the Epiphany is still with us, since the Epiphany period and the Time of Trouble are identical; therefore, the Epiphany will end when the Time of Trouble ends – and only then will it end.
ONE HOUR WITH THE BEAST
In Rev. 17:12 it is stated that the “Ten kings.... receive authority as Kings, one hour with the beast” (the same “beast” mentioned in Dan. 7:11). We believe all Bible Students will agree that this prediction relates to the last days of Papacy's existence. And we believe all will agree, too, that the culmination of this reign is of paramount importance to the world, and especially to God's people. Thus, we may reasonably conclude that such a great event will be clearly marked somewhere in the Bible, to be revealed in His “due time.” “The Lord God doeth nothing except He doth reveal it to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Therefore, we are not prying into God's secrets if we diligently seek to discover such revelation; and two facts are essential to our clear understanding of the matter: (1) The length of the “Hour,” and (2) The time it begins. Once we have this information, it will be simple arithmetic to determine its end.
According to the best information now at our disposal, the Vatican Pact and Concordat consummated between Mussolini and the Papal delegates was negotiated in the first half of February 1929. Since that time we believe the prophecy of Rev. 16:7 (Dia.) applies: “She says in her heart, ‘I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall by no means see mourning.’” Since the House of Savoy severed all connections with the Vatican in 1870, that Church was in effect a figurative widow, having lost her last earthly paramour when Italy divorced her in 1870; and her embarrassing position continued such till 1929 – a period of 59 years. But, since Italy “re-married” her in 1929, she no longer is a widow in mourning; once again she sits as a reigning queen, backed by the power of the Italian Government, and tacitly approved by much of the “free world.”
The question now properly arises: How long can the hour be? Clearly enough, it is not the hour of a literal 24-hour day. Nor can it be the one-twelfth (3-1/3 yrs.) of the 40-year reaping day (from 1874 to 1914). Inasmuch as the “day of the Lord” is one thousand years (1874 to 2874—2 Pet. 3:8; Psa. 90:4), It would seem logical that the “hour” of Papacy's final heyday is 1/24th of that day – or 41 years and 8 months. If this calculation be correct, and the hour began in February 1929, its end will arrive in October of 1970. However, we do not offer this date as a firm prediction; we state it as “possibility,” as we do not wish to make the mistake of more capable brethren who have preceded us; and we ask our readers to accept it in that light, allowing “due time” to determine the matter for certain. But, should this calculation prove to be correct, let none conclude that the Time of the End will also then terminate. Other features of the “Day of Wrath” must then follow, of which we may have more to say in a future paper; but we emphasize for now that all features of the Time of Trouble will have been fully realized when the Time of the End is witnessed to the full.
“MICHAEL SHALL STAND UP”
“In that time (of the end) Michael shall stand up.... and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1). Michael's (Jesus) “standing up” is much the same as taking to Himself His great power, which He began to use immediately after His return. This progressed – and is still progressing – through various stages; and we agree with Brother Johnson's observation of it as follows (in harmony with Brother Russell's conclusions):
“During the Time of the End the whole trouble is to occur.... The entire Time of Trouble occurs in the Time of the End, including all its stages: War, Revolution, Anarchy and Jacob's Trouble, with famines and pestilence interspersed; for the reason of the trouble is Michael's standing up in an attack upon Satan's empire.... In the Time of the End there was to be much travel and increase of knowledge on all lines of thought, religious and secular.”
The steamboat, the steam engine, vast distributions of the Bible by Bible Societies all appeared shortly after 1799, when the Time of the End began; but the tremendous increase of “many running to and fro” has followed the invention of the airplane in 1903. Improvement in this latter invention was spurred by the 1914-18 war, and especially so by the 1939-45 war, so that now the superjets have an average cruising speed of about 600 miles per hour for ordinary passenger service; and these planes often have every seat filled – with all classes “running to and fro.” It now requires just a few hours to cross the Atlantic Ocean by airplane – a trip which required the Pilgrim Fathers three full months to complete in a sailing vessel, The Mayflower. In all of this, including the final features of the Time of Trouble, we stress again that the events must occur before the final “end” arrives; and it is the occurrence of those events that will eventually establish the date beyond question of doubt.
Although we are treating mainly of the “Time of the End,” which includes a longer period than the Epiphany, in that it began at an earlier date, yet we can say the same as above for the Epiphany – the events must occur before the final “end” of the Epiphany arrives. The Epiphany and the Time of Trouble are identical. When the Time of Trouble Ends, the Epiphany period ends also, being the last special period of the Gospel Age, and being concurrent with the last section of the Time of the End.
A REMARKABLE FORECAST
Another feature to be realized before the Time of the End has been fully consummated is the decadence of the so-called Christian Church systems of Christendom, a matter which we now behold with great clarity. Pastor Russell foresaw this condition in 1891 so vividly, and expressed the conditions existing now in 1966 in such brilliant anticipation, that it well nigh borders on inspiration. We offer an excerpt from page 167 of his Volume 3:
“God's word reveals the fact that the nominal church, after its fall from His favor and from being His mouthpiece (Rev. 3:16), will gradually settle into a condition of unbelief, in which the Bible will eventually be entirely ignored in fact, though retained in name, and in which philosophic speculations of many shades will be the real creeds.... These, while retaining the Bible, disbelieve its narratives, especially that of Eden and the fall. Retaining the name of Jesus, and calling Him Christ and Savior, they regard Him merely as an excellent though not infallible exemplar, and reject entirely his ransom-sacrifice, His cross.”
In this our day the foregoing has been more than realized. The contentions over doctrines, which occupied the Churches with gripping zeal in 1891, are now almost passé. Some prominent teachers are even proclaiming that “God is dead.” If there be any substance to such belief, then attendance at any church or place of worship is rank travesty – a grotesque burlesque of religious formality – doing more harm than good to the attendants. While such teachers are presently a small minority, it is certainly a fair appraisal that the vast majority of religious leaders are an identical duplicate of their kinsmen at the first Advent – the Priests, Scribes and Pharisees who were the avowed enemies of the then-present Lord. The “blind leaders” of that time sneered the sarcasm: “Did any of the rulers believe into Him, or of the Pharisees?.... Search and see that no Prophet has been raised out of Galilee.” (John 7:48-52) And pointedly kindred disbelief is to be heard in many segments of the so-called Christian churches today – a living tribute to the sagacious forecast of Pastor Russell some 75 years ago. But let us repeat that “iniquity must come to the full” in the organized sects of Christendom before the Time of the End reaches complete maturity; thus we may safely conclude that we have not yet reached that maturity – have not yet come to the end of the “one hour with the Beast.”
THE GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION
Before the Time of the End is culminated the prophetic declaration states that “all faces shall gather blackness” (Joel 2:6) – due in great measure to the inability of the “blind” masses and their “blind leaders” to see beyond the present turmoil. But for the encouragement of our readers we offer the sound Truth that the Time of the End will also produce the end of “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4); and all the present-day evils will pass away with it. Then will come the Kingdom, for which Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.” Malachi 4:1,2 links the trouble and the subsequent blessings in forceful manner: “The day cometh that shall burn as an oven (in this Time of the End); and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble.... The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing In His wings.” This “healing” is the same as stated in Rev. 22:2 – “The leaves of the tree (the clear uncontaminated Truth teachings) shall be for the healing of the nations.” These same truths are stated in other words in Jer. 31:33,34 concerning re-gathered Israel in Palestine: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.... and they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them.... I will forgive their iniquity (against the law of Moses), and I will remember their sin no more” (their crucifixion of the Lord of Glory).
This latter is to be preceded by the return of the Jews to Palestine – an actual return to inherit the land promised to them through the Fathers. Many of the modern Jews no longer believe the literal fulfillment of these prophecies in like manner as their Christian follows no longer believe in a literal Kingdom here on earth. However, the promise to Abraham is so clear, so literal, so emphatic, that it leaves the gainsayers no room at all for argument: “Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered (an intimation of a then far distant period, giving ample time for a multiplication of his seed). Arise, walk through the land in the length of it, and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.... And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after then, the land wherein thou art a stranger – all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession.” (Gen. 13:14-17; 17:8) While the complete accomplishment of this promise will not be realized in the Time of the End, the Scriptures are clear enough that a marked visible beginning toward the full realization is to be witnessed in the Tine of the End, the present establishment of Israel as a nation in Canaan being the sure evidence before us.
In all of this “We have a more sure word of prophesy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place (the gloomy foreboding of present events), until the day dawn (the glorious “day” of the Kingdom), and the Day Star arise in your hearts.... For prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:19-21)
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: – Should any but the Gospel-Age Firstborn and the Millennial-Age Firstborn partake of the Lord's Supper at this time?
ANSWER: – If the thought is, Should only the elect, the consecrated, celebrate the Memorial – partake of the Lord's Supper – we believe that is the Scriptural teaching for this Gospel Age. The Epiphany Messenger treats this subject quite extensively in E-11, Chapter 3, under the “Deliverance of the Firstborn.” He tells us that only those born in the land (the spirit-begotten) and the stranger (the consecrated unbegotten – the Youthful Worthies) should partake. On pp. 207,208 Brother Johnson gives us the following:
“V. 48 gives a negative description of who the foreign settler and the hired servant, i.e., the alien, are – the uncircumcised. Since circumcision types consecration (Rom. 2:29; Col. 2:11-13), the circumcised represent all the consecrated. who are in vs. 44, 48, 49, given IN THREE CLASSES. (That is, only the elect—JJH) Accordingly, we understand the circumcised purchased servant represent the cleansed Great Company members, their cleansing implying their re-consecration (circumcision – the Epiphany application of Num. 8:5-22); the circumcised stranger (ger) to represent the Youthful Worthies and those born in the land, natural Israelites, to represent the Little Flock. The expression in v. 44 translated, 'servant that is bought for money,' applies in this sense in the antitype: the Great Multitude are by Christ's ransoming merit cleansed from the spots on their garments (Jude 23; Rev. 7:14; Num. 8:12,21 (Epiphany Levites). The aliens, as shown above, are of the two classes: the foreign settlers and the hired servants. These are again described as the uncircumcized (v. 48). It is readily seen who constitute the two unconsecrated classes dwelling among antitypical Israel – the Justified (the hired servant) and the unjustified hangers-on among professing Christians (the foreign – settler).... While they (the Great Company—JJH) are in their uncleansed condition – impenitent – they should not keep the annual Lord's Supper; and for this reason the Epiphany-enlightened saints should not memorialize with them, nor welcome them to their own celebrations.”
These misleaders who tell their adherents that “all the consecrated” (including in that category their Campers Consecrated and Quasi-elect Consecrated) are invited to partake of the Lord's Supper, give only a half-truth. Half-truths are more misleading than whole errors. If we accept their “strange fire” (false doctrine) of Campers Consecrated, etc., as eligible for this service, then we must of necessity repudiate the Epiphany Messenger's teaching on the subject, “all the consecrated given in three classes.” As mentioned before, even the Jehovah's Witnesses don't invite, or permit, their Jonadabs to partake; and in this one instance, at least, they have less error than the other two groups with their non-existent 'dedicated' classes. This is greatly to their shame – because they are sinning against much greater light – both Parousia and Epiphany Truth. But it seems that these erstwhile Epiphany-enlightened brethren hesitate not to pervert or repudiate completely any Parousia or Epiphany Truth that hinders the prosperity of their “new light.”
We believe it is fitting to quote from Epiphany Volume 11, p. 190, to describe such 'mis'-leaders:
“This is a fearful condition into which these new-creaturely offerers of strange fire have gotten themselves. It should make us fear and tremble lest we presumptuously, while drunken with error (Lev. 10:1,2,8-11), should appear before the Lord, engage in matters of the Lord, with strange fire – false doctrine in our censers – Bible passages; for to persist in such a course means the death of the new creature and of the humanity, which amid such a course is divested of Christ's righteousness; for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31).”
LETTERS OF CENERAL INTEREST
Our beloved Brother Hoefle: May Grace and Peace be multiplied unto you!
Thank you for your letters.... It was good to read that you every morning thank our Heavenly Father for blessings – temporal and Spiritual. We are glad to do the same. “The Lord has indeed been mindful of us”!
It was good to get your letter of March 15 – another Memorial of Christ our Passover who is sacrificed for us – and to read Psa. 115:12,13. In fact, we went through Psalms 113-118. Your message was passed on to Brother ------- Brother Armstrong has written to him and said that he was being influenced by Sister ------- but she was unstable; then, he goes on to say that Brother Hoefle is like a “Russian Spy.”
Then yesterday we received a book written by Jesse Hemery – “Revelation Unfolded.” Brother ------- calls it “Confusion Unfolded.” Evidently Jesse Hemery established a journal called “Zion's Herald – Journal of Goshen Fellowship”..... This journal is sent forth in the assured conviction that the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him in the Spirit of Prophecy – and that its unfolding in the “Threefold cord of prophecy,” by Jesse Hemery is seen and accepted as “light in God's light”—Psa. 36:9. Claims resolutely to continue in “the faith once delivered unto the saints,” as taught by Brother C. T. Russell...... If only these brethren had taken notice of Brother Johnson when in England in 1916! Some of them must have known that Brother Johnson was right. Today his writings are veritable guides and they promise to clarify that which is not understood in the light of fact and events. Even Papacy and Protestantism are more fully revealed. The Lord in His second (invisible) presence, revealing Himself to the world for they are wondering what is going to happen. Some nominal Christians think it will be a good thing.
How privileged we are to see and understand so much present Truth! Hymn 238. Brother ------- has been invited to Manchester for the Memorial to the home of Sister ------- We both go on April 1 and on the 7th we go to Beamaris Anglesey, at the invitation of Bro. and Sr. ------- These brethren were young in the Truth and saw much corruption before and after the death of Bro. Johnson. We pray our fellowship together will help them – and we know you will remember us also, that His will be done. If Brother ----- had been at liberty he could have gone to Manchester, but as he says -”I have had to have it alone many times.'' We can all be united – in doing it – In remembrance of Him. Brother ------- will read your message to the dear ones in Manchester. He will write you later.
Our prayers for a special blessing to all who keep this “remembrance” in sincerity and in Truth. Your brethren by His Grace ------- (ENGLAND)
My Dearest Friend, Thanks for everything! It meant so very much to me to have you at my side when I needed you most. Thanks again!
-------- (NEW JERSEY)
(This is in appreciation of the bereaved literature—JJH)
ANNOUNCEMENT OF GENERAL INTEREST
We acknowledge with much appreciation and thanks the many Memorial reports that have come to us from Classes here and in foreign countries, and from Individuals. We are specially gratified at the spiritual health revealed in them, and the renewed determination of our brethren to keep up “the good fight.” Certainly, our prayers are with all that they may prosper and be in health – physically and spiritually.