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    August 27, 1885

    “The Babylonian Empire. (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times 11, 33, p. 516.

    WE have seen that Nebuchadnezzar’s conquests comprised all the countries westward to Asia Minor and the Mediterranean, with Egypt and Arabia. Eastward his dominion extended over all of Susiana (Elam); a part, at least, of Persia; and by the marriage of Nebuchadnezzar to the daughter of Cyaxares, and procuring a marriage between Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, and Aryenis, the daughter of the king of Lydia, Nabopolassar had succeeded in binding by blood relationship these three kingdoms—Media, Lydia, and Babylonia—into one, in which his influence, and that of Nebuchadnezzar after him was always paramount.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.1

    “By this peace the three great monarchies of the time—the Median, the Lydian, and the Babylonian—were placed on terms not only of amity, but of intimacy, and (if the word may be used) of blood relationship. The crown princes of the three kingdoms had become brothers. From the shores of the Egean to those of the Persian Gulf, Western Asia was not ruled by inter-connected dynasties, bound by treaties to respect each others’ rights, and perhaps to lend each other aid in important conjunctures, and animated, it would seem, by a real spirit of mutual friendship and mutual attachment... From the date of the peace between Alyattes and Cyaxares ... for nearly half a century, the three kingdoms of Media, Lydia, and Babylonia remained fast friends, pursuing their separate courses without quarrel or collision, and thus giving to the nations within their borders a rest and a refreshment which they must have greatly needed and desired”.—Seven Great Monarchies, Third Man, chap. 6, par. 43.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.2

    As this inter-relationship was brought about altogether, from first to last, by Nabopolassar, so, from first to last, the ascendancy of the Babylonian power was felt in the alliance. And as by the conquest of Tyre the power of Nebuchadnezzar was recognized in all the Tyrian colonies of the Mediterranean as far as to Carthage and even to Cadiz; and as by the conquest of Egypt, Arabia, Moab, Ammon, and all the Phenecian countries, his power was spread from the northern borders of Syria to Ethiopia and the Arabian Desert, and as his rule extended over all of Susiana and a part of Persia; and when it is remembered that this was nearly, if not quite, six hundred years before Christ; it is evident that the Babylonian influence was recognized as far as civilization extended.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.3

    As the greatness of the kingdom was all owing to the abilities of Nebuchadnezzar, and as the empire began to decline immediately upon his death, it may properly be said that he was the empire. This will most forcibly appear in the quotations which immediately follow. It is therefore peculiarly appropriate, and expresses the very essence of all the history on the subject, when, in further explanation, Daniel exclaimed:—SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.4

    “Thou art this head of gold.” Daniel 2:32, 38.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.5

    “Nebuchadnezzar is the familiar form, transcribed from the Hebrews, of the name of the great Babylonian king who carried the Jews captive, and whose reign marks the highest point of the Chaldean Empire.”—Encyclopedia Britannica, art. Nebuchadnezzar.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.6

    “Nabopolassar was followed in 604 by his son Nebuchadnezzar, whose long reign of forty-three years made Babylon the mistress of the world. The whole East was overrun by the armies of Chaldea. Egypt was invaded, and the city of the Euphrates was left without a rival.”—Id., art. Babylonia, eth. And Hist., par. 11.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.7

    “Nebuchadnezzar, Nabopolassar’s eldest son, was the real founder of the Babylonian Empire. The attempt of Pharaoh Necho to win for Egypt the inheritance of Syria, was overthrown at the battle of Carchemish, and when Nebuchadnezzar succeeded his father in B.C. 604, he found himself the undisputed lord of Western Asia.... Babylon was now enriched with the spoils of foreign conquest. It owed as much to Nebuchadnezzar as Rome owed to Augustus. The buildings and walls with which it was adorned were worthy of the metropolis of the world.”—Sayce’s Ancient Empires of the East, chap. 2, par. 44, 45.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.8

    “Nebuchadnezzar rendered himself no less famous by his internal administration than by his foreign conquests. The fortune of war had placed at his disposal immense riches and innumerable captives; he employed both in the works of embellishment and of public utility, which made Babylon the most celebrated city in the world.”—Ancient History of the East, book 4, chap. 5, sec. 3, par. 7.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.9

    “Crowds of captives—the produce of his various wars—Jews, Egyptians, Phenicians, Syrians, Ammonites, Moabites, were settled in various parts of Mesopotamia, more especially about Babylon. From these unfortunates forced labor was as a matter of course required; and it seems to have been chiefly, if not solely, by these exertions that the magnificent series of great works was accomplished, which formed the special glory of the Fourth Monarchy.”—Seven Great Monarchies, Fourth Mon., chap. 8, par. 30.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.10

    “Throughout the empire, at Borsippa, Sippara, Cutha, Chilmad, Duraba, Teredon, and a multitude of other places, he built or rebuilt cities, repaired temples, constructed quays, reservoirs, canals, and aqueducts, on a scale of grandeur and magnificence surpassing everything of the kind recorded in history, unless it be the constructions of one or two of the greatest Egyptian monarchs.” “The genius and grandeur which characterized Nebuchadnezzar, and which have handed down his name among the few ancient personages known generally throughout the East, are very apparent in Scripture, and indeed in all accounts of his reign and actions.”—McClintock and Strong’s Encyclopedia, art. Nebuchadnezzar, par. 6, 15.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.11

    “It is enough to note in this place that he was great both in peace and in war, but greater in the former.... It was as the adorner and beautifier of his native land—as the builder and restorer or almost all her cities and temples—that this monarch obtained that greatest reputation which has handed down his name traditionally in the East on a par with those of Nimrod, Solomon, and Alexander, and made it still a familiar term in the mouths of the people. Probably no single man ever left behind him as his memorial upon the earth one-half the amount of building that was erected by this king.”—Ib., art., Babylonia History, par. 6.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.12

    “Nebuchadnezzar is the great monarch of the Babylonian Empire, which lasting only eighty-eight years—from B.C. 625 to B.C. 538—was for nearly half the time under his sway. Its military glory is due chiefly to him, while the constructive energy, which constitutes its especial characteristic, belongs to it still more markedly through his character and genius. It is scarcely too much to say that, but for Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians would have had no place in history. At any rate, their actual place is owing almost entirely to this prince, who to the military talents of an able general added a grandeur of artistic conception and skill in construction which place him on a par with the greatest builders of antiquity.”—Seven Great Monarchies, Fourth, chap. 8, par. 23.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.13

    “His last days were as brilliant as his first; his sun set in an unclouded glory, shorn of none of the rays that had given splendor to its noonday. Nebuchadnezzar expired at Babylon in the forty-fourth years of his reign, B.C. 561, after an illness of no long duration. He was probably little short of eight years old at his death.”—Ib., par. 38.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.14

    Of the propriety of Babylon’s being represented in its place in the vision, by the “gold” of the image, the following is an illustration:—SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.15

    “Babylonia seems to have been the source from which Assyria drew her learning; such as it was, her architecture, the main ideas of her mimetic art, her religious notions, her legal forms, and a vast number of her customs and usages. But Babylonia herself, so far as we know, drew her stores from no foreign country. Hers was apparently the genius which excogitated an alphabet—worked out the simplest problems of arithmetic—worked out the simplest problems of arithmetic—invented implements for measuring the lapse of time—conceived the idea of raising enormous structures with the poorest of all materials, clay—discovered the art of polishing, boring, and engraving gems—reproduced with truthfulness the outlines of human and animal forms—attained to high perfection in textile fabrics—studied with success the motions of the heavenly bodies—conceived of grammar as a science—elaborated a system of law—saw the value of an exact chronology—in almost every branch of science made a beginning, thus rendering it comparatively easy for other nations to proceed with the superstructure. To Babylonia far more than to Egypt, we owe the art and learning of the Greeks. It was from the East, not from Egypt, that Greece derived her architecture, her sculpture, her science, her philosophy, her mathematical knowledge—in a word, her intellectual life. And Babylon was the source to which the entire stream of Eastern civilization may be traced.”—Ib., chap. 8, last par.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.16

    “Here was the center and starting-point of the civilization which afterwards spread throughout Western Asia.”—Ancient Empires, chap. 2, par. 3.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.17

    With these views of Babylon and her greatness and glory, we can see the property of the expressions used by Isaiah in regard to her, when he speaks of her as “Babylon the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency,” chap. 13:19; and as “the lady of kingdoms,” chap. 47:5. But for all this the time should come when her glory was to depart; her empire should perish; and Babylon should fall to rise no more at all. This Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, should be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah (Isaiah 13:19); the time should come when she should be called no more “the lady of kingdoms.”SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.18

    In Jeremiah 27:7 we read of the extent of the kingdom of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, and in whose reign it should fall, as follows:—SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.19

    “And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come; and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.”SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.20

    Thus we find that in the days of Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson the kingdom of Babylon should pass away, and other nations and other kings should establish themselves, and serve themselves of this kingdom. And in the direct record of the fall of Babylon, given in Daniel 5, Nebuchadnezzar is repeatedly spoken of as the grandfather of Belshazzar, the king who was reigning in Babylon at the time of its fall. See verses 2, 11, 13 (margin); also “Seven Great Monarchies,” Fourth Mon., chap. 8, par. 43, notes 179, 185; and par. 50. A. T. J.SITI August 27, 1885, page 516.21

    “Notes on the International Lesson. 2 Kings 2:1-15. Elijah Translated” The Signs of the Times 11, 33, pp. 518, 519.
    SEPT. 6. 2 Kings 2:1-15

    FROM Horeb, Elijah was directed to go by Damascus on his return to the land of Israel, and to anoint Hazael to be king of Syria, and Jehu to be king of Israel, and Elisha to be prophet in his room, and then it was, and not till then, that the Lord told him of the 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed to Baal. Then it was the Elijah knew that he was not alone in honoring God in the nation of Israel. Elisha was found in the field plowing with twelve yoke of oxen. He asked permission to go and kiss his father and his mother; this was given, and he did so. Then he killed two of the oxen and made a feast for the people, “Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”SITI August 27, 1885, page 518.1

    THAT Elijah was to be translated was known not only to himself, but to Elisha, and also to the schools of the prophets. When Elijah said to Elisha, “Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel,” Elisha said, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee;” and this determination not to leave Elijah was because he knew that Elijah was to be taken away. When they were come to Bethel, the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to-day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.” And when Elijah and Elisha had passed on and had come down to Jericho, there likewise the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to-day?” And again he answered, “Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.” And when they two had gone on down to Jordan, fifty of the sons of the prophets went and stood “to view afar off.”SITI August 27, 1885, page 518.2

    IT is useless to speculate upon the question of how they all knew it. We know that they did know it. And the fact of Elisha’s knowing it is a sufficient reason for his determination not to leave Elijah. Nor need we suppose that this determination was the result of curiosity; but rather of a desire to be a partaker of the rich experience, and the immense held to his faith, that would be afforded by his walking by Elijah’s side, even to his entering into Heaven, and by seeing, himself, as it were, the rending of the veil that separates us from the other world. We know that this was so, because several years afterward, when the king of Syria had with “horses, and chariots, and a great host,” compassed about the city where Elisha was, Elisha’s servant cried out, “Alas, my master! how shall we do?” The prophet replied, “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw; and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:13-18. Elisha did not pray that his own eyes might be opened, but that the eyes of the young man might be opened, that he might see what Elisha already knew was there. As for himself, he had seen the heavenly horses and chariots take away Elijah, and he knew that they were ever ready to protect the servant of God. He did well to go with Elijah to the furthest possible step.SITI August 27, 1885, page 518.3

    AS these two men wet onward from Jericho, they presently “stod by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing; nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof! And he saw him no more.”SITI August 27, 1885, page 518.4

    THUS Elijah went bodily into Heaven without seeing death. His natural body was “changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” into a spiritual body. His mortal body was made immortal. The same body that walked by Elisha’s side, and the same hands upon which Elisha had poured water, were changed from the natural to the spiritual, from mortal to immortal. That same body went to Heaven; that same body stood on the mount of transfiguration; and to-day that same body stands in the presence of God in Heaven. Those same lips that denounced sin and called the people to obedience to the commandments of God, are to-day singing the songs of Zion, in Zion the beautiful city of God.SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.1

    PAUL says, “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:44. In this, however, he does not speak of two bodies, but he speaks of two conditions of the same body. Man has a natural body now; and if he ever reaches another world, it will be by the change of this natural body into a spiritual body either by translation or by a resurrection. It is all a hoax about there being a spiritual body inside of the natural body, and that the natural body is cast off and the spiritual body flies away. It is all a hoax that at death the spirit leaves the natural body and goes into a spiritual body. Elijah did not leave his body in this world when he went to Heaven; nor did Jesus leave his body when he went to Heaven. Elijah did not obtain a spiritual body by dying, but by translation. Neither do those who die obtain a spiritual body by dying, but by a resurrection from the dead. And these two ways—by translation and by resurrection—are the only ways that God has appointed by which men may ever reach another world.SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.2

    IT was in writing of the resurrection of the righteous dead, that Paul referred to the spiritual body. He says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from Heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-48.SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.3

    WE have shown that Elijah stood on the mount of transfiguration as the representative of those who shall be translated at the coming of the Lord. We have shown that in their leading points, the times and the experience of Elijah just before his translation were representative of the times and the experiences of those in the last days who shall be translated at the coming of Christ. We have seen that as there was great drought in the land then, so there is to be just before the Lord comes. We have seen that as there was a controversy over the commandments of God in the time of Elijah, so there is to be in the last days. We have seen that as there was persecution of those who kept the commandments then, so there is to be, just before the coming of the Lord, persecution of those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. We have seen that as the test was then whether they would worship the Lord or Baal, so in the last days it will be whether men will worship the beast and his image, or whether they will worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. We have seen that as then the test of obedience to God was involved in keeping the first commandment, so now it turns upon showing allegiance to God by keep the fourth commandment.SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.4

    AND now as Elijah’s experience in this world ends with his translation, and his being carried up into Heaven by the heavenly chariots, so also ends the experience, in this world, of those who in the last days keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus must be kept against the most determined opposition of all the powers of earth. And of those who will do this, it is said, “I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire, and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” Revelation 15:2. Of this same company it is said in another place, “These were redeemed from among men.” Elijah was redeemed from among men.SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.5

    IT cannot be said of those who shall be raised from the dead, that they were redeemed from among men; they will be redeemed from death (Hosea 13:14); they will be redeemed from among the dead. But this company of those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, who get the victory over the beast and his image, who stand on the sea of glass, in the presence of the great white throne (Revelation 4:6), who have the harps of God, these being redeemed from among men as was Elijah, himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.” Isaiah 66:15.SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.6

    “Oh, joy! oh, delight! should we go without dying.
    No sickness, no sorrow, no dread, and no crying.
    Caught up through the air with our Lord into glory,
    When Jesus receives his own.”
    SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.7

    And now as we, for the present, take our leave of Elijah, we pray that each one who has read these sketches of his experience, may be as faithful and uncompromising in his allegiance to God and his commandments, in this our day, as was Elijah in his; that each one may be as jealous for the Lord God of hosts as was he; and then there is no shadow of question but that when the Lord and his holy angels shall come with fire and with his chariots, all such shall be not only where Elijah ism, but where the Lord Jesus himself is. They shall see the King in his beauty, they shall behold the King of glory.SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.8

    “TAKE heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.... Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and [that] they may teach their children.”SITI August 27, 1885, page 519.9

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