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Chapter 19

Let Us Hear the Conclusion of the Whole Matter

THE last book of the Bible brings to view the close of God's controversy with sin. It is strong in condemnation, in admonition, in warning, in assurance, in promises, in hope for the loyal Christian. In that book the prince of evil and the Lord our Righteousness face each other for the last time,-- the one as the defeated enemy of truth and righteousness, the exposed deceiver of mankind, the calumniator and accuser of creation's Lord, the agency through whom "death reigned from Adam to Moses "and from Moses to our day; the other as the conqueror of death, the accepted substitute and sacrifice for repentant man, heaven's Exemplar of the rule of love, the restorer of harmony and peace to the disturbed universe of God, the banisher of death and sin from all the infinite jurisdiction of the great Jehovah.

They have met before. Far back in the cycles of the dim ages they stood face to face at the throne of God. For Lucifer was one of the covering cherubs; and the covering cherubs were the right- and left-hand supporters of the throne of God. It was their duty to protect the foundation of that throne and government, which is the eternal law of God.

Lucifer was a created being of dazzling splendor, and came forth in infinite perfection from the hand of God. "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." Eze. 28:15. As iniquity is sin, and sin is the breaking of the law, Lucifier had committed high treason against the government of the universe. He broke the law he was commissioned to defend; in rebellion against the Most High, he led a multitude to attack the throne he was pledged to support; he aspired to dethrone the Creator, overturn the government of God, and rule in His place; for he said:

"I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High." Isa. 14: 13, 14.

In that spirit of egotism and selfishness Lucifer carried on a propaganda of malicious misrepresentation and deceit among the angels of heaven, and won a multitude to his unworthy cause. Finally "there was war in heaven: Michael [Christ] and His angels fought against the dragon [Lucifer]; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Rev. 12: 7-9.

The Son of God and the first rebel against the government of God met there in a conflict that shook the universe. Lucifer was defeated, but the conflict was not finished; they will meet again. A dark and gloomy vista of sin and suffering and death stretched out before the eye of Prince Emmanuel between that day and the day when these two princes should meet for the last time, one within and one without the jeweled walls of the New Jerusalem.

Lucifer with his discomfited hosts sought asylum in the home of the newly created race. Creation's Lord had not left the inhabitants of Eden without warning and instruction. They knew their duty to their God. They had been warned that disobedience meant death. They, too, came perfect from the hand of their Creator. But he who sowed discord in heaven, he who was jealous of God and the Son of God, he who resented the fact that he had not been consulted in the creation of man, invaded the sanctuary of innocence and peace, the home of love and trust, to unlock the, floodgates of tears, to unleash the tempests of ruin, to open the fountains of hatred and blood, to plant poison and to harvest death, through the cruel centuries of sin.

They met in Eden, the tempter and the One whose soul must bear the weight of the sins of repentant sinners. Face to face they stand; but, oh, what a gulf between them! -- purity and impurity, loyalty and treason, love and hatred, righteousness and iniquity, the Prince of love and life and restoration, and the prince of hatred and death and ruin! It was the mightiest contrast the universe of God had ever seen.

And the destiny of man was not the only issue. What a horror of anxiety thrilled through the universe when the heartless, fallen Lucifer stood before Eve to stamp the mother of the race with the brand of treason that would entail the death of the Son of God in the restoration of the race! They met, the Son of God and the rebel angel, and the record of that meeting has been written in the tears of the human race and the blood of the Son of God.

They met again when the race had become so sodden in sin that only one man could be found to preach of righteousness. Finding no response outside his own household after one hundred twenty years of protest against sin, righteous Noah with his family went inside the ark to await the execution of God's decree against rebellion and unrighteousness. Over that swirling waste of waters the Prince of Righteousness and the god of selfishness faced each other. A wicked world lay buried under the slimy debris of earth's ruin, with towering mountains for tombstones; while the soughing winds moaned over the murky waves that surged above the weltering grave of a ruined race.

Sin had swept the world with a besom of destruction, and Satan's plan had almost triumphed. But God had eight jewels floating in a wooden casket over the grave of sin.

They met again when Israel, through disloyalty and sin, had become captives to a pagan king. Babylon, the mother of idolatry, was the agency in the hand of Lucifer to crush out and stamp out all worship of the true God throughout the whole reach of Nebuchadnezzar's realm, and then throughout the world . The fiery furnace glowed with threat of death; the monarch's orchestra called every representative of his vast domain to fall down and worship the god of gold that human hands had fashioned on the plain of Dura. And the human race, through their appointed representatives, bowed down in worship that day at the call of its king -- a worship that hurled defiance at the law of God and the Most High who had given it.

But look again: the race has not all bent the knee and bowed the head to fling defiance at the God of heaven, in obedience to the mandate of the great anarchist. We see three -- only three -- in all that mumbling multitude standing straight and looking away into the bright heavens where the true God eternal reigns, and reigns by love.

The multitude look on in wonder and alarm -- and some no doubt with unholy joy. The face of the king grows dark with anger; the furnace is heated hotter than before. The decree rings out again; the race falls down again -- no, not all; the same three, with eyes turned heavenward and hearts trusting in the God they love and reverence, still stand in the midst of that cringing and idolatrous host. They are men -- God's men -- every inch of them, from the sun-kissed turbans on their heads to the dew-sprinkled sandals on their feet, they are His and His alone.

The strong men, the strongest in that host, with stout cords bind them; they are thrust into the glowing mouth of that sevenfold heated furnace. The strong men are smitten by the superheated blast, and fall dead at the furnace mouth. But the king sees four, not three, standing unbound in the midst of the raging heat; and "the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." He has faced the rebel prince once more, and thrown His arms of love and protection around the forms of His loyal sons. What a contrast is here! Love has met jealousy; truth has met deceit; loyalty has met treason.

The king summons them forth, and the three stand in his presence. But the now invisible One is by their side still, and the cruel decree is revoked.

These two meet again at the pit of the den of lions, when the mouths of hungry beasts are shut by unseen hands; and Daniel, the faithful servant of the unseen God, comes forth from that den unhurt, a victor in the cause of truth and righteousness.

So through the centuries the eye of love and compassion has met the eye of hate and malevolence, looking across the table of man's destiny, and looking toward the day when the contest will be  finished.

In a stable in Bethlehem they met again when the time was ripe for the self-surrendered Sacrifice to enter upon that period of experience which would end on the bald old hill of Calvary. His mother and His reputed father were without wealth or position; He was born in a stable and cradled in a manger, as weak in physical strength as any babe in the realm; yet He was here to battle "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness ["wicked spirits," margin] in high places." Eph. 6:12. It was to be the most unique contest in the history of the universe. In His days of prattling babyhood, of innocent childhood, of virile young manhood, an angel guard shielded His hallowed head from the blows of satanic wrath. In a very literal sense "the dragon stood before the woman, . . . to devour her child as soon as it was born." Rev. 12: 4. God turned aside the malicious design of the Roman prince against the infant Jesus; but the baffled Lucifer must vent his wrath somewhere. So the blow aimed at the young Prince Emmanuel fell upon the quivering flesh of Bethlehem's babyhood, while an angel guided the weary feet of the chosen family to a shelter in the shadow of the pyramids. The land of the Sphinx keeps the holy secret from the wicked agent of the fallen Lucifer.

Through those waiting years there was pressed upon the soul of the chosen Child the mighty thought that He must be about His Father's business: He submits finally to that typical burial in the waters of Jordan, looking forward to the day when the rock-hewn tomb shall shut upon Him its stony mouth, sealed with the signet of the Roman realm.

From that watery grave He came forth -- typifying His resurrection -- to walk into the wilderness and meet the rebellious Lucifer. They met -- the fasting Saviour and His furious adversary -- while heaven looked on in admiration and concern. Foiled on the temptation of appetite, foiled on the temptation to presumption, foiled on the temptation of ambition, Satan slunk away in shame, confusion, and alarm, to rally later his evil hosts for a final onslaught.

For three and a half years they bent their wicked wills to one purpose, the overthrow of the Son of man. They met Him in demon-possessed men and women, and He cast them out. They stirred up priests and rulers to take His life, but He passed through their midst without hurt. They thrust the temptation of an earthly kingship continually before His face, but He kept His eye fixed on that fairer goal, acceptance in His Father's sight. He fed the multitude with temporal bread and with the bread of life. He gave them health for sickness, eased their pain, set helpless paralytics on their feet, and straightened backs long bent beneath the load of pain and woe. He showed by His miracles that God would reverse the very order of nature itself if necessary to save men from the consequences of their sins -- if they would have Him for their Lord. He unchained souls long shackled in the slavery of Satan, and set them free to learn and love and labor in the cause of righteousness.

Thus He made war on the kingdom of darkness, while its murky clouds were folding around His sorrow-smitten soul, and the rude cross of His crucifixion loomed up at the end of His journey.

He is sold; He is taken; He is illegally tried; He is unlawfully condemned; He is made the butt of brutal jests, the laughingstock of pagan soldiers. He is spit upon and scourged; and a crown of thorns, symbol of the curse of God upon the world, is pressed upon His devoted head, in malicious, taunting irony. He had come to win back the kingdom of this world from the usurping Lucifer. So they will wreathe the curse of the world into a crown for His coronation, and send Him to His death with the marks of wrath upon His bloodstained brow. Was there ever such a tragedy in the annals of time!

Up that bitter way He bears the burden of the instrument of His death, till His weary limbs falter, and He falls beneath His load. Then on and on till the hilltop is reached, and the pierced and smitten form of the kindest and most loving soul this world had ever known hangs bare and bleeding on the symbol of shame. The weight of the sins of mankind roll over His soul, and as man's substitute He feels .the frown of His Father's displeasure with sin. So that awful cry goes forth, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" In the bitterness of that anguish the heart of the Son of the almighty God is broken. Then the whetted spear of a Roman soldier makes sure to the eyes of that gazing multitude that Jesus of Nazareth no longer lives.

The sun hides his face from that awful scene, and earth draws a cloak of darkness over her face. The terror-stricken multitude go stumbling down the hill, and on the cross still hangs the bruised and bloodstained body of Him who, in that sacrifice, takes our place and pays the penalty for our sins.

Satan, in his cruel wrath, had overshot the mark. Every temptation designed by him to overthrow the Christ had been met and overcome. The grim visage of death itself had not frightened Him or caused Him to deviate one hair's breadth from the course He must take as man's all-sufficient substitute and sacrifice. The prince of ruin had accomplished the death of the Prince of the Restoration. But that death sealed the salvation of man.

Christ Is Risen

The sound of shouting and the tumult ceased
And pitying night a melancholy pall
Let down o'er Palestine. The Christ of God
Was sleeping in the tomb of Joseph now
A dreamless sleep; and angry hosts had slunk
Away to reason with their consciences,
Or drown them in the flow of ruddy wine.
Earth slumbered with her Maker sacrificed,
And held Him to her bosom -- dead.

The crown
By mocking jesters pressed upon His brow,
Had left its cruel impress in the flesh
Condemned. The hands whose office work had been
To pour upon the head of youth and age
The kindliest blessings of a loving God;
The feet so often weary with the way
O'er mountain steep or by the rocky shore;
The lips that once had launched the moving spheres
And spoke to life the Adam of the race,
Were lifeless all, and man in type was dead.

The night of sin -- a dreary, cheerless night -- Had here fulfillment manifest, and sin
Itself, in type, triumphant sat enthroned.
Old earth was tottering on the verge
Of ruin absolute, while in the tomb,
In bonds of death to satisfy the law
By mortals broken, lay the Gift of God
Enwrapped in Death's habiliments, that He
Might work the purpose of Jehovah's mind,
To conquer all that triumphed over man.

The ear of Heaven was bowed to earth, but earth
Was slumbering still, unconscious of the scale
Jehovah held to weigh her destiny.
The book of God was fair, the pages clean,
And 'gainst the name of Jesus there appeared
No sign of sin committed, or of thought
To show that aught but fealty to God
Inhabited the heart now held of Death.

"O Christ, come forth; the keepers of the dead
Hold not dominion over you!" The stone
By Roman order sealed, is powerless
To hold whom God does not condemn.

Roll back,
Frail figment of the Roman realm, nor think
To stifle with the hand of stone the life
That paid sin's penalties from Adam down.
Roll back, ye somber, silent gates of death;
The conquering King comes through. Roll back, ye dark
And threatening clouds of gloom; the Sun comes forth
To lighten with His gleam from pole to pole
The sorrowing regions of a stricken world.
Roll back, roll back, ye hosts from heaven flung;
For man in type has conquered every foe,
And stands triumphant with the keys of death.
O grand, O glorious liberty is that
Which stepped with Christ from Joseph's open tomb,
And trimmed anew the fading, dimming flame
Of hope, and set a star to guide the race
From earth's long night to heaven's glorious day!
That tomb a cradle was; and pillowed there
Our freedom lay in natal robes, and harked
The velvet footfalls of the angel guard.

Now Christ is risen, and our souls are free -- Free in the liberty His life has given;
Free from the death that knows no waking hour;
Free from the sins that long have pressed us down;
And free to worship, and obey His will.

We turn no tearful eyes to Joseph's tomb;
We bend no knee in mosque Mohammedan;
Nor slay in strife to win the vacant place
Where rested once the Saviour of mankind.
Go forth, go forth, and tell a waiting world
The Son of God is in His tomb no more.

Say not the hand, the head, the heart, must yield
A servile homage to a human creed.
The life that burst the shackles of the tomb
Will burst this prison, too. The mind of God
Is broader, deeper than the wisest mind
His hand has fashioned from the clay of earth.
The strongest cord your puny hand may weave
Is rope of sand, and ne'er will anchor you
Within the veil. Ye cannot build a tower
More stable than the pile that crumbles now
On Shinar's plain; and such is every creed.
But hollow tombs are all these instruments
By human mind conceived, and empty all;
They are but shells, and all are tenantless;
For Christ is risen -- you'll not find Him there.

Nor is the presence of that Holy One
Enlinked with laws that seek by finite force
To scourge to God th' unwilling wanderer.
The Son of God leans not on reed so frail
As human law, to work His holy will.
His law who made the spheres is not so weak
That laws of men must prop it or it fall.
We may not place against the ark of God,
Wherein His law abides, a steadying hand.[1]
The lesson writ is ours to learn, and we
Are wiser when we heed. The fearful one
Who flees from laws oppressive to the shield
He finds in legal creeds, has buried deep
The love that would have won him to his God.

From such a tomb the Spirit flies. Our strength
Is weakness while we think to hold Him there.
Proclaim this truth in glorious ministry:
Our Christ is risen, and the soul is free.

When the evil one could no longer tempt and buffet and afflict the Saviour of men in person, he turned upon the humble followers of the Christ; and through paganism and through the nominal church itself, when it had gone into apostasy , he persecuted the woman [the true church] which brought forth the man Child." Rev. 12:13. The divinely inspired penman has given us this record:

"The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Rev. 12: 17.

The prophet Daniel, when speaking of the same cruel and oppressive work, says:

"I beheld, and the same horn [or power] made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High. . . . And he [the same power] shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High." Dan. 7: 21-25.

In the cruel persecutions by paganism and the papacy against the followers of Christ, Satan was pouring out his indignation and wrath against the person and kingdom of the Redeemer. Through the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages the servants of the realms of darkness sought to hound true Christianity out of the world. They reveled in slaughter; they were fiendishly ingenious in the invention of implements of pain. The groans of their tortured victims seemed to be music in their ears. Professing to honor Him who healed disease and relieved pain and distress, they gloried in the suffering they were able to produce. Millions of the most conscientious, most earnest, and most humble citizens ended their lives in the dreary pens of the Inquisition, or were burned alive or drowned for the fearful offense of reading the Bible and following its righteous leadership. And when a servile king bowed to the dictates of the Vatican and permitted the St. Bartholomew massacre, the church bells of Rome rang jubilant praise, a te deum was sung, and the head of that church that had turned its back upon the merciful principles of the gospel of Christ, had a medal struck in honor of the crimson and cruel deed.[2]

When Peter, seeking to defend his Master, drew a sword and smote off the ear of the high priest's servant, his Lord healed the wound, and commanded Peter to put up the sword, warning him that they who take the sword shall perish with the sword. (See Matt. 26: 52.) Peter obeyed; but his professed successors, forgetting the command and the warning, have drenched the earth with the blood, not of the Lord's enemies, but of His most faithful friends. However, the Almighty shortened the period of intense persecution, and now in most lands, save where Rome is in sole control, there is freedom to worship God.

But it will not always be so. The revelator has given faithful warning of the recrudescence of the spirit and the practice of persecution. That revival of persecution comes at the climax of the conflict. Two decrees go forth that are diametrically opposed the one to the other. That power that spoke great words against the Most High will resume its persecuting practices in the last days. That power, the revelator declares, will again "make war with the saints," and "all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Rev. 13: 6-8. Again he says:

"He exerciseth all the power of the first beast [or power] before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast [or power], whose deadly wound was healed." Rev. 13: 12.

It is a compulsory, persecuting power that does this; for we read that he will "cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." Verse 15.

That is the challenge of an apostate church against the very God of heaven Himself, who will have all men to worship Him and Him alone. That decree, inspired by the powers of evil, flings defiance at the law of God, which says: "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them." Ex. 20: 3-6.

Heaven accepts the challenge, and issues its decree to the inhabitants of all the earth. The revelator says:

"I saw another angel [or messenger] fly in the midst of heaven, . . . saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel. . . . And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb." Rev. 14:6-10.

The rebellious leader of the fallen hosts pronounces the death sentence upon all who will not worship the beast and his image; and God pronounces sentence of death upon all who do. The issue is joined for the final contest. Will the people of this world, through fear of temporal death, obey the decree of the rebel angel, and worship "the beast and his image"? If they do, then the penalty of eternal death will fall upon them. Around this issue will be waged the last battles between truth and righteousness on the one side, and falsehood and unrighteousness on the other. No doubt the majority will go "the broad way that leadeth to destruction," as the majority did in Noah's day, and have from that day to this. But God will have His own who will prove true to Him in spite of fire and flood.

As the revelator looked down through time to that last period of conflict, he saw a little company whose fealty was still unshaken. To them He calls the attention of the whole world in these words: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:12. As keepers of God's commandments, they could not possibly be numbered among the worshipers of "the beast and his image."

While that war of the powers of darkness is being waged against the faithful followers of the Lamb, Lucifer will be marshaling the armed hosts of every nation to the battle of "that great day of God Almighty." Says the revelator again:

"I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he [Satan] gathered them [the armies of the world] together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Rev. 16: 13-16.

They are gathered there for battle; and it is the last time the kings of the world will ever summon the forces of the nations to meet in the arena of death to settle differences with the argument of blood; for God comes down to take part in that fray.

"I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse." Rev. 19: 19- 21.

Concerning that same event -- the climax of the history of the world -- the prophet Joel was caused to pen these words:

"Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles: Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause Thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be awakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats [vats] overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people." Joel 3: 9-16.

Men have spoken and written of other wars as Armageddon; but there is only one such war, and that is the war which Inspiration has told us of in the foregoing scriptures. Moreover, it is the agency of Satan that marshals the nations to that fateful conflict. "The spirits of devils working miracles," stir up the kings of the world and hurry the hosts of heathenism and of Christendom to that prophetic and age-old trystingplace, where Youth and Death meet in mad revel for the world's last night of carnage and fury. When that battle is fully staged, the curtain is rung down on the tragedy of sin -- for one thousand years.

That day, the prophet Joel says, is the day of the harvest of the earth, whose "wickedness is great." It is the day of judgment for all the world. It is the day of the Lord,-- the day when He shall utter His voice and summon the human race to the judgment bar of eternity; the day when the heavens and the earth shall be shaken. It is the day when "that wicked" shall "be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming." 2 Thess. 2: 8. It is the day when the Saviour of mankind fulfills His promise to His disciples to come again and receive them to Himself, that where He is, all His faithful followers may be. John 14:1-3. It is the day when the angel's promise to the disciples will find a glad realization: "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11.

It is the day when the heavens will depart "as a scroll when it is rolled together," and "every mountain and island" shall be "moved out of their places;" a day when "the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man" shall hide themselves "in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;" when they shall call "to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Rev. 6: 14-17.

The Lord has promised in that day to be the hope and the shelter of His people; but there is no promise, no hope, no shelter, for those who are found outside the ark of God's purpose on that day. The wild terror of hopeless despair will sweep over the souls of the unsaved when they realize that their last opportunity is gone, and they are numbered among the followers of Satan. They seek to hide, but there is no hiding place; the eye of the eternal Judge will find all. The righteous are caught up out of the tumult and the terror to meet their Redeemer in the cloud, evermore to be with Him. But a tempest of death will sweep over the globe; the whirlwind of judgment will do its work; and the earth will once more, as in the days before Adam's fall, be free from human sin and human sinners.

"I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts.... The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried." Jer. 25: 29-33.

The weeping prophet speaks again of the same event in these words:

"Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have done it, and until He have performed the intents of His heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it [or "understand it," R. V.]." Jer. 30: 23, 24.

In that day God's hand does not fall upon the human wicked only. The instigator of sin also feels the hand of Omnipotence laid upon him. The revelator was given a view of that event which shackles the originator of sin to the ruined home of the human race. He says:

"I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." Rev. 20: 1-3.

The father of ruin, shut up in the prison house of a ruined world, will have a thousand dreary years of cheerless incarceration in which to study with his unholy coadjutors the fruit-age of sin. While they are doing that, the rest of the universe has held before it a tragic object lesson as to what disloyalty and disobedience mean in the household of our Father.

But that is not all; for they who were at the coming of Christ accounted worthy to obtain the eternal inheritance, who, at the beginning of that period, were caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, ever to be with Him, are with Him where He is. Theirs is the satisfying joy of salvation realized. The Eden of God is theirs again to enjoy to the full. No cherubim with flaming swords now threaten the lives of those who would enter there. That holy home of joy and love, once denied the race, they find now restored to them 'in the heavenly home of their Lord and Redeemer. No death is there, no sin, no sickness, no sorrow, no pain; for "the former things are passed away." Rev. 21:1-4.

Through that period of a thousand years the redeemed of earth have opportunity, from the records of the heavenly court, to study the love, the mercy, and the justice of God in His dealings with sin and sinners. He will make certain that every redeemed soul is fully satisfied that He has dealt justly and mercifully with His wayward creatures. In no other way can He make sure that "affliction shall not rise up the second time." Nahum 1: 9.

Moreover, a real work of judgment will occupy the saints during their thousand-year sojourn in the capital of the universe. Says Inspiration, through the apostle Paul:

"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" I Cor. 6: 2, 3.

It is evident from these scriptures that God appoints the redeemed of this world to sit with Him in judgment upon the cases of Lucifer and the fallen angels, and those who have followed their leadings into sin and the rejection of salvation and its Author. God judges them worthy of extinction. That judgment passes under the scrutiny of a reviewing court -- not that God considers Himself unable to arrive at a just and righteous decision, but that every creature in His universe may be so completely satisfied that no question can ever arise through all the long cycles of eternity.

How else the redeemed will occupy themselves during that thousand years we are not informed; but we know this, that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." 1 Cor. 2: 9.

We cannot even imagine, in the present state of our existence, what it will be to dwell with beings out of whose hearts has been purged everything that could give rise to distrust, envy, jealousy, hatred, covetousness, willfulness, malevolence, impurity, disobedience, and disloyalty. These cause sorrow and suffering and death. They will not be there. In that abode of righteousness and love there will be joy unspeakable, love unadulterated, companionship unquestionable, while the centuries roll on.

But there is one more scene in the dark tragedy of sin. The rebel angel is still a prisoner with his fallen spirits in the dreary, storm-swept desert of this ruined world. The court of last resort finishes its findings, and hands down its final decision concerning the wicked dead and the agencies responsible for their ruin. Of Satan and his host in that time of waiting the apostle Jude says:

"The angels which kept not their first estate, hut left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Jude 6.

Thus they wait during what are for them a thousand dreary and hateful years. Every skeleton of man or animal, every ruined building, every devastated plain and frowning mountain, every torn and twisted tree and rotting stump, will be a trumpet-tongued accuser. Not one thing left will speak of joy or peace or satisfaction or happiness. Who would be a companion of the author of Spiritism then?

But even a thousand years of such an experience as that must come to its dreary end at last. It terminates when the voice of the great Judge rings through the world again, and calls the sleeping hosts of sin from their dusty beds. It is a motley throng, scarred and marred, disfigured and distorted by sin. With the same characteristics that they possessed when death overtook them, they come forth. !The redeemed, during those thousand years, have been partaking of the fruit of the tree of life and drinking of the water of the river of life, and the leaves of the tree of life have been applied to their healing from all the marrings and blemishes that sin had made. Rev. 22: 1-3. Eternal youth and beauty show in every lineament of form and face. And what a contrast when those two companies shall stand in each other's presence on the day when God finishes with sin!

The wicked dead, when called to life by the voice of the Almighty, face once more the cause of their ruin; for we read:

"When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea." Rev. 20: 7, 8.

Just how long God permits the resurrected wicked to live after their resurrection, we are not told; but it is long enough for them to form themselves into nations and prepare implements of war; and we read also concerning Satan's period of release, that it is for a " little season." Rev. 20: 3.

In that "little season" Satan spurs the nations on in war preparations. He will claim to have raised them from the dead; he will claim to be the divine king of this world, and that they are his lawful subjects. With all their propensities to sin unaltered, with no power of righteousness to hold them in check, with evil spirits for their guides and counselors, and with the Spirit of God withdrawn from the earth, to what lengths will they not go in the practice of wickedness! Looking forward from this day to that day, who could wish to be numbered among that evil and doomed throng?

Whatever the length of that "little season," it also comes to its termination. Some eye looks up into the sky one day, and far away a dazzling object appears. Then the eyes of the multitude are fastened upon a glorious spectacle. It draws nearer and still nearer. What does it mean? The usurping "king" of this world doubtless suggests that it is an invasion from another world. Multitudes on multitudes of glorious beings seem to fill the sky; their ranks stretch away farther than the eye can distinguish forms.

In the center of the glorious host a Being sits enthroned upon a dazzling cloud. Such glory as this world has never seen flashes forth from form and face and crown and scepter of that majestic Personage. It is the Prince Emmanuel, coming as He said He would come to establish His loyal followers in the heritage once wrested from man by the rebellious leader of the fallen angels. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of this glorious event, saying, "Behold , the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all." Jude 14, 15. Paul also speaks of "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." 1 Thess. 3:13. The prophet Zechariah declares: "The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee." Zech. 14: 5. The prophet Daniel tells why they come back to this earth:

"The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever." "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him." Dan. 7: 18, 27.

The Saviour Himself declares: "The meek shall inherit the earth." Matt. 5: 5. The psalmist writes: "The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Ps. 37: 11.

The Man who carried His cross up Calvary amid the jeers and insults of the priests and the rabble, who bore the agony of that most cruel death as our substitute, and who through death broke the bands of death for every soul that will accept His proffered grace,-- that Man is the star-crowned center of that joyous host of saints and angels. And His shining cohorts are not come as visitants; they are come as eternal tenants, that righteousness and love and peace may reign forever here where sin and hate and war have tenanted so long.

The first foot of all that multitude to touch this earth is the foot that felt the cruel nail that spiked Him to the cross. Says the prophet Zechariah:

"His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north , and half of it toward the south." Zech. 14: 4.

Then, says the revelator:

"I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." Rev. 21: 2, 3.

The sight of that glorious city with its twelve foundations of precious stones, studded with jewels, its beauteous mansions, its streets of gold, and its gates of pearl, no human writer could describe though he were permitted to view it in vision. The realization of its glories must be left to the eyes of those who behold it in righteousness, and inhabit it as "joint heirs with Christ." Rom. 8:17.

That is the eternal city, the capital of the kingdom of saints. Satan knows what the descent of that company and that city means, and his rallying call goes ringing through the world, summoning his hosts together for the destruction of the "intruders," and the capture of their city. "And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city." Rev. 20: 9.

But no sinful soul will ever enter those gates of pearl or tread those streets of gold. "There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." Rev. 21: 27.

The serried multitudes of that enveloping host will be marshaled for the attack under the leadership of Satan himself, who will call to his assistance the mightiest and most skillful generals this world has ever known. All the skill of war experience that six thousand years of hatred and strife have accumulated will be requisitioned for that assault. Guns of ingenious construction and inconceivable power will be prepared, and engines and weapons of which we know nothing now will be made ready for the attack. Every faculty of human hatred and greed and ambition and covetousness and lust will be fanned into intensest activity by the conscienceless soul of the great deceiver. Have they spent money for jewels?-- There are scintillating jewels by the millions in the very walls of the city, and such jewels as human eyes have never seen before. Have they sold chastity for strings of pearls? -- In that city's walls are massive, flashing gates of solid pearl. (See Rev. 21: 21.) Have they worshiped and slaved for gold, and sold their very souls for that insensate god? -- There is a mighty city three hundred and seventy-five miles square, every street of which is paved with that polished metal. Have they purchased and polished and admired beautiful stones? -- There are no more beautiful stones in the world than the twelve polished foundations of that city of the saints. Have they longed for and labored for beautiful and comfortable homes?-- There is a vast accumulation of them, more beautiful than human mind has ever conceived.

Through those transparent walls the envious legions of the lost gaze with admiring and covetous eyes upon the happy, animated throngs within, and upon the form and face of that One whom they have scorned and spurned and rejected. He is not thorn-crowned now; but a crown of lustrous glory rests upon His benignant brow. He does not now wear the purple robe of mock majesty which earthly persecutors placed about His grief-bent form. He was man's bruised sacrifice then; He is the Lord of glory now, and His robe is a robe of light. He is not hanging upon a cross of wood; but He is seated upon a throne high and lifted up, with saints and angels to do Him glad homage. The King of kings, the King of the world, joint Ruler of the universe, Emmanuel, Redeemer, our Elder Brother, has come to earth to establish His eternally enduring kingdom. His loyal subjects are there; but surrounding

them and their capital is a surging, numberless throng who would "not have this Man to rule over" them, and who are determined to crush this kingdom of the meek and righteous out of existence. They swarm about the walls, waiting for the signal to attack.

There, and for the last time, Lucifer and the Son of God face each other. From the face of the one glowers black malice and cruel hatred, haughty selfishness and heartless ambition, malevolence and murder; from the face of the other shines forth love, beneficence, humility glorified, and service deified. There are the two poles of a contrast with infinity between them.

As these two look upon each other, the rebel angel realizes what he has lost, and in the mad agony of despair he shouts the order for the assault. There is intense activity throughout that numberless host. Realizing the futility of further efforts against the eternal city, and sensing their incalculable loss, they turn in rage upon the cause of their ruin. But the Judge of the universe pronounces the final sentence upon them, and the command of God rallies the elements to the execution of His decree. The skies grow black, and out of those clouds of God's long-delayed and consuming wrath the fiery rain of death falls upon that terrified, awe-stricken multitude. They rage and curse and trample one another underfoot in their efforts to escape the roaring, flaming missiles of death hurled down from the angry clouds. The very earth is on fire and there is no escape. God's pent-up wrath has finally burst forth to cleanse His universe from the last remains of sin. Though the who le earth is wrapped in flame, the capital of the universe is not consumed, and the shield of Omnipotence is thrown about the ransomed hosts within the city of the saved.

And now the scripture is fulfilled: "Fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." Rev. 20: 9. That fire cleanses the world from every trace of sin. It literally burns sin out of the earth. When that sad work is done, it is done forever. The universe will never have and never need another demonstration of the fearful results of the transgression of God's law.

When that fiery tempest has done its work, the inhabitants of the city of God go forth, as the prophet Malachi says, and everywhere beneath their feet are the ashes of sin.

"All the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear 'My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts." Mal. 4: 5-3.

The evil one himself meets his doom in that rain of divine wrath; for he is the root of sin. Of him the prophet Ezekiel declares:

"I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." Eze. 28: 18, 19.

That rids a universe of sin, but it leaves a world in ashes. It will not remain so for long. Truer and more glorious than pagan mythology is this transformation -- out of ashes spring forth life and beauty. "We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Peter 3:13. The God who filled the world with life and clothed it with beauty will clothe it with beauty again, and the life that fills it when that work is complete will be life that will never cease. The beauty of its garnishment will never be dimmed with the sad results of sin, as we see earth's beauty now. Earth's pestilential swamps and barren wastes will be crowded out with delightsome scenes and pleasant, fruitful fields. Of the earth when that work is done the prophet says:

"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing. . . The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. . . . And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isa. 35: 1-10.

Ah, what will it mean,-- a land that knows no sorrow, no pain, no woe, no fears, no sad partings, no death! No sod of that land will ever be turned to lay a loved one away. No cold shaft of stone will ever rear its head to tell that death has triumphed over life. One who holds the keys of death and the grave has gone through the cheerless tomb to close its hungry mouth -- and it is closed forever.

All things in this world will then be subject to the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Restorer.

"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." I Cor. 15: 24-28.

Through the power of love and the conquests of sacrifice, the Son of God has won the mightiest and most enduring victory the universe has ever known. Love has proved stronger than hate, and life has triumphed over death. The heritage of man, wrenched from him by the great deceiver, has come back to him again through Him who is the way, the truth, and the life. The life forfeited by sin has been ransomed by the currency of love and righteousness. Who would not serve such a King?

And that is the end of the conflict, but it is not the end of its consequences; for as long as eternity itself will be the lives of happiness and joy and love in which the redeemed of God participate, while they unite in glad hosannas to the King of kings. No longer are there two princes in conflict with each other; but God is all and in all, and the universe is one again, through the sacrifice and service of the Prince of the Restoration, who has overturned and destroyed the throne of sin, and established righteousness and peace and love to the uttermost reaches of the jurisdiction of the Almighty.


[1] 2 Sam. 6: 6-8.

[2] The author has seen one of these medals in the United States mint at Philadelphia, Pa., U. S. A.

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