Our Lord's Great
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What special promise did
the Saviour make concerning His second coming?
"In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would
have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am there
ye may be also." John 14:2, 3.
What was to take place
before the lord should return?
"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before
the great and the terrible day of the Lord come." Joel 2:31.
Upon hearing Christ say
that the time would come when the temple at Jerusalem should be entirely
destroyed, what did the disciples ask Him?
"Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of
Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Matt. 24:3.
Did He intimate that the
end was then close at hand?
"And Jesus answered and said unto them. Take heed that no man
deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall
deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not
troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not
yet." Matt. 24:4-6.
After telling them there
would be wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in many places, what did He
say these would be?
"All these are the beginning of sorrows." Matt. 24:8.
To what extent is the
gospel to be preached before the end?
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for
a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matt.
What has been already
admitted concerning the progress of the gospel?
"Within a year, Central Africa, the last remaining strong- hold of
barbarism, has been opened up, and missionaries are now preaching the truth in
the territory of one of its fiercest and most powerful kings. If the doctrine of
the pre-millennialists be correct, that the gospel is to be preached, not to
convert the world, 'but for a witness unto all nations,' and that when it is so
preached we are to expect the end, then it may well be that the end is nearer
than most of us think." Christian Union, Nov. 13, 1878.
After giving a general
summary of matters, how did the Lord particularize the events of the future?
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of
by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him
understand)." Matt. 24:15.
How is this same thought
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that
the desolation thereof is nigh." Luke 21:20.
What did our Lord say was
to follow this destruction of the city?
"For then shall be great tribulation, such
as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall
How long was the papal
power to hold sway over the saints?
"And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear
out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they
shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of
time." Dan. 7:25.
What is the meaning of
the expression, "time and times and the dividing of time?"NOTE. - The period
here given is again expressed in verse 14, by "time, times, and half
[dividing of] a time." Twelve hundred and sixty days, then, is here meant
by the expression "time, times, and half a time." But these days
themselves are symbolic, and must refer to some literal period of time.
"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place
prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and
threescore days." Rev. 12:6.
What does a symbolic day
indicate?NOTE. - These
symbolic days would therefore indicate an equal number of literal years. The
papacy received its power to correct heretics in 538 A.D., by the confirmation
of Justinian, the Roman emperor. The time to which the papal power over the
saints would extend (1260 years), ended in 1798.
"This shall be a sign [symbol] to the house of Israel... And when thou
hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the
iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for
a year." Eze. 4:3-6.
What did the Lord say
would be done in view of the rigor of that persecution?
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be
saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
Did the Lord say He would
return immediately after the tribulation ceased?
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe
it not. For there shall arise
false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders;
insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matt. 24:23, 24.
What did He say would
"Immediately... after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be
darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall
from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." Matt. 24:29.
How is this expressed by
Mark?NOTE. - That is, in
the days of the papal power, but after the tribulation ceases, shall these
events take place. The persecution was the strongest under the direction of the
Jesuits. This order was founded by Ignatius Loyola, and established by Pope
Paul, Sept. 27, 1540. It finally became so distasteful to the popes, on account
of its continually growing power, that by a papal bull the order was dissolved,
July 21, 1773. From this time on there is no record of any open persecution of
the saints. Then, according to the last text quoted, somewhere between 1773,
when the persecution ended, and 1798, the time to which the prophetic days
extended, we must look for the first of these signs given by our Lord the
darkening of the sun.
"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be
darkened, and the moon shall not give her light." Mark 13:24.
Was there such a
phenomenon? If so, when did it occur?NOTES. - "The
19th day of May, 1780, was a remarkably dark day. Candles were lighted in many
houses. The birds were silent, and disappeared. The fowls retired to roost. It
was the general opinion that the day of judgment was at hand. The Legislature of
Connecticut was in session at Hartford, but being unable to transact business,
adjourned." President Dwight, in Connecticut Historical Collections.
On May 19,1780.
"The greatest darkness was at least equal to what is commonly called
candle-lighting in the evening. The appearance was indeed un- common, and the
cause unknown." The Connecticut Journal, New Haven, May 25, 1780.
"The Dark Day, May 19, 1780, so called on account of a remark- able
darkness on that day, extending over all New England. In some places, persons
could not see to read common print in the open air for several hours together...
The true cause of this remarkable phenomenon is not known." Webster's
Unabridged Dictionary, in Explanatory and Pronouncing Vocabulary, art. Dark Day.
The inquiry may be raised, Why was the darkening of the sun confined to so
limited a district as a portion of the Western Hemisphere, if it was to be a
sign of the Lord's coming? To which we reply: God has given to the inhabitants
of the Old World many signs of Christ's second coming; and why should not others
be favored in this respect? Shall we criticize Him who is too wise to err? The
inhabitants of the Old World can say: On our territory mighty kingdoms arose and
fell, according to the sure word of prophecy. Here the pope lost his temporal
power at a time marked by prophecy a sure indication of the end near; and here
great nations are taking the lead in preparing for the last great battle. It is
for God to distribute the signs according to His wisdom and good pleasure, and
it is for us to accept them with submission and gratitude, whether we witness
them ourselves, or whether others witness them and report them to us. The Jews
never saw the star that led to the spot where the Saviour was born, nor did most
of them witness many of the Saviour's mighty miracles. Were they therefore
justified in not believing on Him?
When did the moon refuse
to shine?NOTE. - The darkness
of the night was as supernatural as that of the previous day, from the fact, as
stated by Dr. Adams, that "the moon had fulled the day before."
"The night succeeding that day (May 19, 1780) was of such pitchy
darkness that in some instances horses could not be compelled to leave the
stable when wanted for service." Stone's History of Beverly (Mass.).
When did the stars fall,
as predicted in the prophecy?NOTES. - "But
the most sublime phenomenon of shooting stars of which the world has furnished
any record, was witnessed throughout the United States on the morning of the
13th of November, 1833. The entire extent of this astonishing exhibition has not
been precisely ascertained; but it covered no inconsiderable portion of the
earth's surface... The whole heavens seemed in motion, and suggested to some the
awful grandeur of the image employed in the Apocalypse, upon the opening of the
sixth seal, when 'the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree
casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.' "
Burritt's Geography of the Heavens, page 163, ed. 1854.
"No language, indeed, can come up to the splendor of that magnificent
display; and I hesitate not to say that no one who did not witness it can form
an adequate conception of its glory. It seemed as if the whole starry heavens
had congregated atone point near the zenith, and were simultaneously shooting
forth, with the velocity of lightning, to every part of the horizon; and yet
they were not exhausted; thousands swiftly followed in the track of thousands, as
if created for the occasion." Christian Advocate and Journal, Dec. 13,
When the trees put forth
their leaves, what does it indicate?
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When his branch is yet tender,
and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh." Matt. 24:32.
What just as surely
indicates the Lord's speedy coming?
"So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that
it is near, even at the doors." Matt. 24:33.
How near is the Lord's
coming when these signs have been fulfilled?NOTE. - As though he
said, This generation of which I speak; the one that actually sees the last
sign, has seen all of them in the sense that we have seen the progress of
science. We have not actually lived during its entire development, but we look
back and say we have seen it. So in this case. The same original word here used
and translated "this," also occurs in Luke 17:34: "I tell you in that
night [the night of which I speak] there shall be two in one bed."
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all
these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall
not pass away." Matt 24:34, 35.
Can we know the day and
hour of His coming?
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven,
but My Father only." Matt. 24:36.
What will be the moral
condition of the world when the Lord comes?
"But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of
man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and
drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into
the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall
also the coming of the Son of man be." Matt. 24:37-39.
If we have knowledge of
the Lord's coming, what is our duty?
"Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the
Son of man cometh." Matt. 24:44.
What will be the doom of
those who say in their hearts that the Lord is not soon coming?
"But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth
his coming,... the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not
for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder
[margin, cut him off], and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites;
there shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth." Matt. 24:48-51.