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The Probability of the Second Coming of Christ About A.D. 1843

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    SECTION II

    Chap. 11. “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” The Jewish church had been raised up, and had stood her day, and passed away, with all her institutions and ordinances, and that favored people dispersed. It might now be measured, both as to its duration and moral character.PSC 159.3

    “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty-two months.” The court which is without the temple, seems to represent the Christian church. It could not yet be measured, for it was not yet finished. “But it is given unto the Gentiles;” they shall hereafter be admitted to the privileges of the gospel and ordinances of the church of God. The Gentile nations shall tread the holy city, or the true church, under foot, and oppress it, forty-two prophetic months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty years; that is, during the reign of popery.PSC 160.1

    “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” The witnesses were to prophecy in sackcloth, the same length of time that the Gentiles trod the holy city under foot, that is, one thousand two hundred and sixty years. But who are the two witnesses? On this point there is a great diversity of opinion. I shall not however, trouble the reader with a rehearsal of any of them, but simply give my own opinion, and the reasons for it. I think the Bible, the Old and New Testament are meant. 1. Christ declares expressly of the Old Testament scriptures, “they are they that testify of me,” John 5:39. 2. Again, Matthew 24:14, he says, “This gospel of the kingdom, must first be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; then shall the end come.” Here is positive testimony that the Old and New Testaments are Christ’s witnesses. 3. Verse 4. “These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks, standing before the God of the earth.” Here is a reference to Zechariah 4:3-6. “And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my Lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, no, my Lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel.” Testimony can be no more positive than this. The two olive-trees are the word of the Lord. Candlestick, is a light-bearer, or means of light; and in scripture, has the same meaning as lamp, or light. David says, Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path.” These are the only two witnesses which have lived and prophesied through the dark ages of the church.PSC 160.2

    The witnesses were to prophesy clothed in sackcloth. Sackcloth signifies darkness, and is a fit emblem, to represent the state of the Bible during the dark night of papal rule. When and how were the two witnesses clothed in sackcloth? At the time when Justinian, emperor of Constantinople, decreed the bishop of Rome head of all bishops and churches, and by his arms reduced Rome, rescued it from the Goths, and left the way open for the bishop to exercise his authority in the church without any hindrance. This took place A. D. 538. The great object of Justinian, in clothing the bishop of Rome with supreme authority in the church, was, if possible, to put an end to the Arian heresy. The bishop, to accomplish this object, prohibited the common people from reading the Bible, pretending, that without the assistance of the clergy, it could not be understood. About the same time, also, the Greek and Latin languages ceased to be spoken as living languages, which greatly helped the anti-Christian monster in the work of suppressing the Bible. The scriptures were darkened. Although they still lived, and their divine authenticity was acknowledged, yet their light shone dimly, and their voice was faint.PSC 161.1

    The two witnesses stand before God; and if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in like manner be killed. The heaviest woes are pronounced on those who injure the word of God. Revelation 22:18, 19. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” What an example has been made of those who have rejected the Bible! Let any impartial person read the history of deistical France, and see if they did not feel the scorching and blighting influence of God’s judgments for their impiety.PSC 162.1

    “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” The heaven here means, as before, the moral atmosphere, or the influence of the gospel.PSC 163.1

    Rain signifies the genial influences of God’s grace in the salvation of men. This influence was greatly restrained during the time the two witnesses were clothed in sackcloth. The judgments sent on the Roman earth during the reign of popery, are represented as being by the authority of the two witnesses. This, however, is not to be understood as a casual but as a consequential power given them. This will be the result of any injury offered them.PSC 163.2

    “When they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.” “The witnesses then are to be slain, not when they have finished their testimony, but when they are drawing near to finish it. This translation is at once required, both by the Greek idiom, and by the harmony of the prediction itself. They are to prophesy only one thousand two hundred and sixty years clothed in sackcloth, and at the end of that same period the power of the little horn is to be broken. Hence it is manifest, that the slaughter must take place during the period, not subsequent to it: for how can the witnesses be slain at the very time when their calamities are finished.” Faber on the Prophecies.PSC 163.3

    The beast from the bottomless pit, is atheistical France. The time when the witnessed were slain, during the French revolution. The French revolution commenced 1789, and was styled the first year of liberty. But the revolutionists had not yet attained their full purpose, and rested not unlit they had established the reign of demoniac equality and frantic atheism. At an early period of the revolution, the illuminated free masons took the name of Jacobins, from the name of a convent where they held their meetings. They then counted three hundred thousand adepts, and were supported by two millions of men scattered through France; armed with pikes and torches, and all the implements of revolution. On the 12th of August, 1792, when the king of France was carried prisoner to the Temple, and his right to the crown declared forfeited-the atheistical beast exalted himself above all law, and decreed that to the date of rational liberty the date of equality should be added, in future, in all public acts. The names and titles of the nobility were swept away at a stroke, and all distinctions were done away. Thus were slain one thousand names of men during this great political earthquake. It is said that the number of titled nobility in France, at the time of this revolution, amounted to seven thousand. Whether it was so or not, it is certain they were very numerous, and all fell. On the 26th of August, 1792, the beast from the bottomless pit exalted himself above all religion. The 12th witnessed the fall of all distinctions in civil society, and the 26th beheld the establishment of atheism by law. A decree was passed ordering the clergy to leave the kingdom within a fortnight of its date. But instead of allowing them that time the whole period was employed in seizing, imprisoning and putting them to the most cruel deaths. The ministers of religion, both papal and protestant, were now no more in France; and no traces of Christianity could be found in the atheistical metropolis of the republic. One of the churches was converted into a heathen temple, the den of a foreign god; and the rest were used as places of amusement. There the abandoned citizens flocked, not to worship their Maker, but to hear his name blasphemed. At this dreadful period the Bible was condemned as a lie, and forbidden to be read. It was gathered in heaps and publicly burnt. In some places, also, it was condemned and publicly dragged through the streets with circumstances of contempt. A discourse was pronounced, November 6th, 1792, by Dupont, upon atheism, which was applauded by the Convention; and November, 1793, it was set forth by one of the atheists, that all religious worship had been suppressed in his section, even to the very idea of religion. He added that he and his fellows detested God; and instead of studying the Scriptures they learned the Declaration of Rights. On the 17th of October, 1795, all external signs of religion were abolished, and it was enacted that an inscription should be set up in the public burying grounds, that death is only an eternal sleep. On the 25th of the same month, that no trace of the Sabbath might remain, it was decreed that a new calendar should be adopted, reckoning time, not by weeks, but by periods of ten days each.PSC 164.1

    Although the decree against the clergy and Bible was made on the 26th of August, 1792, it was not fully executed until the latter part of the following month. From that time (the latter part of September) until the latter end of March, 1796, a period of three years and a half, the persecution against the Bible and Christians was most dreadful. At the expiration of that time, the atheistical demagogues, glutted with Christian blood, passed a decree granting a full toleration to all kinds of religion, and the Bible was now permitted again to be read. From the latter part of September, 1792, to the latter part of March, 1796, was just three prophetic days and a half, during which the Word of God lay dead in the streets of the great city. “And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” The protestant nations heard of the decree of the atheists by which the Bible was condemned, but would not suffer it to be buried up out of sight. “And they that dwell on the earth (the Roman earth) shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the (Roman) earth.” The papists had long been engaged in a war against the Bible. When, therefore, they saw its downfall, they rejoiced over it, and made merry. But at the end of three and a half years they were made alive. Where the Bible is not read and believed, it is a dead letter; but when read, and believed, it is spirit and life.PSC 166.1

    But the days of their prophecy in sackcloth were not yet at an end. They began A. D. 538. In 1798, Rome was taken by the French, the pope deposed, and carried away captive to France, where he died in exile the next year. Italy was then, for the first time for one thousand two hundred and sixty years, freed from the papal power, and papal laws abrogated. Italy was then declared a republic, free toleration was given to all religions, and the law suppressing the Scriptures, with other papal usurpations, was done away. And what is still more remarkable, in the same year the Bible Society was formed in England, which has been instrumental, with the co-operation of other societies, in translating the Bible into almost all languages and dialects on earth; and of scattering the word of God over the wide earth.PSC 167.1

    “They heard a great voice from heaven (the moral or religious heaven) saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up into heaven in a cloud; their enemies saw them.” The great voice is the call from the four winds which has been so long and loud, for the word of God. They ascended up, etc. They took a higher place in the moral heaven than ever before, and their influence on the destinies of the world, has been immense. Their enemies, infidels and papists, saw the ground they had taken, and feared for the result to their cause.PSC 168.1

    “The great city,” is the city that “ruleth over the kings of the earth.” (Roman earth.) A tenth part of the city, (one of the ten kingdoms into which the empire was originally divided France,) fell, in the same hour in which the witnesses were slain. France is also called the street of the great city. The dead bodies of the witnesses, were to lie three days and a half, in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. The great city seems to be the papal church. France the street of the city. This street is spiritually or mystically called Sodom. I would ask the reader to point out to me any other country in the world, where a formal enactment has passed, to establish fornication by law. Yet this was done in France, June 6th, 1794, forty-four years ago. The peculiar crime of Egypt was their atheism. “Who is the Lord, that I should let the people go?” “I know not the Lord, neither will I let the people go.” On the 26th of August, 1792, atheism became the religion, or more properly the irreligion of France, by a decree of the Assembly. This too was the place where pre-eminently our Lord was crucified in his members. Witness the bloody transactions of St. Bartholomew’s eve, when in one night thirty thousand Huguenots were put to death. Our Lord was also crucified during the French revolution. The favorite motto of the atheists was, “crush the wretch;” meaning the Galilean, as they called Christ. To the utmost of their power, after condemning Christ as an impostor, and his gospel as a lie, and denying the existence of a God, they exterminated all who bore the Christian name. Well might it be said, “where our Lord was crucified.”PSC 168.2

    A tenth part of the city, the papal city, fell in the great earthquake. This tenth was France, one of the ten original horns of the beast. Seven thousand names or titles of the nobility were slain, or swept away. The remnant of the kingdoms, were affrighted at the awful course of the infidels, and gave glory to the God of heaven. They saw the desolating influence of infidelity on France, and united together to stay its progress. In this work all Europe combined, papal as well as protestant countries.PSC 169.1

    PSC 170.1

    We are now brought to 1840. The second woe is passed; and behold the third woe cometh quickly. How long a space it will be, we have no means of knowing with any degree of precision; but it cannot be long. There are but three years left before the sanctuary is to be cleansed.PSC 170.2

    “The seventh trumpet sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” This is the mystery which God declared by the prophet Daniel 2:44; and 7:14.PSC 171.1

    “Because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them that destroy the earth. And the temple of God was open in heaven, and there was seen in his temple, the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings and voices and thundering, and an earthquake and great hail.”PSC 171.2

    If we have not the resurrection of the just and the judgment day in the above verses, I know of no language by which that event can be communicated to man.PSC 171.3

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