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    September 23, 1886

    “The Herulian Kingdom of Italy. (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times 12, 37, p. 580.


    “THAT successful barbarian [Odoacer] was the son of Edecon; who, in some remarkable transactions, particularly described in a preceding chapter, had been the colleague of Orestes himself. The honor of an ambassador should be exempt from suspicion; and Edecon had listened to a conspiracy against the life of his sovereign. But this apparent guilt was expiated by his merit or repentance; his rank was eminent and conspicuous; he enjoyed the favor of Attila; and the troops under his command, who guarded, in their turn, the royal village, consisted of a tribe of Scyrri, his immediate and hereditary subjects. In the revolt of the nations, they still adhered to the Huns; and more than twelve years afterwards, the name of Edecon is honorably mentioned, in their unequal contests with the Ostrogoths; which was terminated, after two bloody battles, by the defeat and dispersion of the Scyrri. Their gallant leader, who did not survive this national calamity, left two sons, Onulf and Odoacer, to struggle with adversity, and to maintain as they might, by rapine or service, the faithful followers of their exile. Onulf directed his steps towards Constantinople, where he sullied, by the assassination of a generous benefactor, the fame which he had acquired in arms.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.1

    “His brother Odoacer led a wandering life among the barbarians of Noricum, with a mind and a fortune suited to the most desperate adventures; and when he had fixed his choice, he piously visited the cell of Severinus, the popular saint of the country, to solicit his approbation and blessing. The lowness of the door would not admit the lofty stature of Odoacer; he was obliged to stoop; but in that humble attitude the saint could discern the symptoms of his future greatness; and addressing him in a prophetic tone, “Pursue” (said he) “your design; proceed to Italy; you will soon cast away this coarse garment of skins; and your wealth will be adequate to the liberality of your mind.” The barbarian, whose daring spirit accepted and ratified the prediction, was admitted into the service of the Western empire, and soon obtained an honorable rank in the guards. His manners were gradually polished, his military skill was improved, and the confederates of Italy would not have elected him for their general, unless the exploits of Odoacer had established a high opinion of his courage and capacity. Their military acclamations saluted him with the title of king [A.D. 476, Aug. 23]; but he abstained, during his whole reign, from the use of the purple and diadem, lest he should offend those princes, whose subjects, by their accidental mixture, had formed the victorious army, which time and policy might insensibly unite into a great nation.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.2

    “Royalty was familiar to the barbarians, and the submissive people of Italy was prepared to obey, without a murmur, the authority which he should condescend to exercise as the vicegerent of the emperor of the West. But Odoacer had resolved to abolish that useless and expensive office; and such is the weight of antique prejudice, that it required some boldness and penetration to discover the extreme facility of the enterprise. The unfortunate Augustulus was made the instrument of his own disgrace; he signified his resignation to the senate; and that assembly, in their last act of obedience to a Roman prince, still affected the spirit of freedom, and the forms of the constitution. An epistle was addressed, by their unanimous decree, to the emperor Zeno, the son-in-law and successor of Leo; who had lately been restored, after a short rebellion, to the Byzantine throne. They solemnly “disclaim the necessity, or even the wish, of continuing any longer the Imperial succession in Italy; since, in their opinion, the majesty of a sole monarch is sufficient to pervade and protect, at the same time, both the East and the West. In their own name, and in the name of the people, they consent that the seat of universal empire shall be transferred from Rome to Constantinople; and they basely renounce the right of choosing their master, the only vestige that yet remained of the authority which had given laws to the world.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.3

    “‘The republic (they repeat that name without a blush) might safely confide in the civil and military virtues of Odoacer; and they humbly request, that the emperor would invest him with the title of Patrician, and the administration of the diocese of Italy.’ The deputies of the senate were received at Constantinople with some marks of displeasure and indignation: and when they were admitted to the audience of Zeno, he sternly reproached them with their treatment of the two emperors, Anthemius and Nepos, whom the East had successively granted to the prayers of Italy. ‘The first’ (continued he) ‘you have murdered; the second you have expelled; but the second is still alive, and whilst he lives he is your lawful sovereign.’ But the prudent Zeno soon deserted the hopeless cause of his abdicated colleague. His vanity was gratified by the title of sole emperor, and by the statues erected to his honor in the several quarters of Rome; he entertained a friendly, though ambiguous, correspondence with the patrician Odoacer; and he gratefully accepted the Imperial ensigns, the sacred ornaments of the throne and palace, which the barbarian was not unwilling to remove from the sight of the people.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.4

    “In the space of twenty years since the death of Valentinian, nine emperors had successively disappeared; and the son of Orestes, a youth recommended only by his beauty, would be the least entitled to the notice of posterity, if his reign, which was marked by the extinction of the Roman empire in the West, did not leave a memorable era in the history of mankind. The patrician Orestes had married the daughter of Count Romulus, of Petovio in Noricum; the name of Augustus, notwithstanding the jealousy of power, was known at Aquileia as a familiar surname; and the appellations of the two great founders, of the city and of the monarchy, were thus strangely united in the last of their successors. The son of Orestes assumed and disgraced the names of Romulus Augustus; but the first was corrupted into Momyllus, by the Greeks, and the second has been changed by the Latins into the contemptible diminutive Augustulus. The life of this inoffensive youth was spared by the generous clemency of Odoacer; who dismissed him, with his whole family, from the Imperial palace, fixed his annual allowance at six thousand pieces of gold, and assigned the castle of Lucullus, in Campania, for the place of his exile or retirement.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.5

    “Odoacer was the first Barbarian who reigned in Italy, over a people who had once asserted their just superiority above the rest of mankind. The disgrace of the Romans still excites our respectful compassion, and we fondly sympathize with the imaginary grief and indignation of their degenerate posterity. But the calamities of Italy had gradually subdued the proud consciousness of freedom and glory. In the age of Roman virtue the provinces were subject to the arms, and the citizens to the laws, of the republic; till those laws were subverted by civil discord, and both the city and the province became the servile property of a tyrant. The forms of the constitution, which alleviated or disguised their abject slavery, were abolished by time and violence; the Italians alternately lamented the presence or the absence of the sovereign, whom they detested or despised; and the succession of five centuries inflicted the various evils of military license, capricious despotism, and elaborate oppression. During the same period, the barbarians had emerged from obscurity and contempt, and the warriors of Germany and Scythia were introduced into the provinces, as the servants, the allies, and at length the masters, of the Romans, whom they insulted or protected. The hatred of the people was suppressed by fear; they respected the spirit and splendor of the martial chiefs who were invested with the honors of the empire; and the fate of Rome had long depended on the sword of those formidable strangers. The stern Ricimer, who trampled on the ruins of Italy, had exercised the power, without assuming the title, of a king; and the patient Romans were insensibly prepared to acknowledge the royalty of Odoacer and his barbaric successors.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.6

    “The king of Italy was not unworthy of the high station to which his valor and fortune had exalted him: his savage manners were polished by the habits of conversation; and he respected, though a conqueror and a barbarian, the institutions, and even the prejudices, of his subjects.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.7

    “Like the rest of the barbarians, he had been instructed in the Arian heresy; but he revered the monastic and episcopal characters; and the silence of the Catholics attest the toleration which they enjoyed. The peace of the city required the interposition of his prefect Basilius in the choice of a Roman pontiff; the decree which restrained the clergy from alienating their lands was ultimately designed for the benefit of the people, whose devotions would have been taxed to repair the dilapidations of the church. Italy was protected by the arms of its conqueror; and its frontiers were respected by the barbarians of Gaul and Germany, who had so long insulted the feeble race of Theodosius. Odoacer passed the Adriatic, to chastise the assassins of the emperor Nepos, and to acquire the maritime province of Dalmatia. He passed the Alps, to rescue the remains of Noricum from Fava, or Feletheus, king of the Rugians, who held his residence beyond the Danube. The king was vanquished in battle, and led away prisoner; a numerous colony of captives and subjects was transplanted into Italy; and Rome, after a long period of defeat and disgrace, might claim the triumph of her Barbarian master.”—Decline and Fall, chap. 36, par. 26-46.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.8

    Thus by the establishment of the Herulian Kingdom of Italy A.D. 476 the final destruction of the Western empire was accomplished. Rome, that mighty “fabric of human greatness, was fallen. That power, “the fourth kingdom” “strong as iron” which had broken in pieces and subdued all kingdoms was now divided. Ten kingdoms, ten distinct and independent nations, no more, no less, had fixed themselves within the boundaries of Western Rome, and the prophecy, spoken and written more than a thousand years before, was literally fulfilled. “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth;”—nations rise and nations fall, empires rule the world and are brought to ruin, but over it all there appears the fact that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,” and in it and by it all there is illustrated not only the truth that “the grass withereth, the flower fadeth,” but also that, “the word of our God shall stand forever.” Isaiah 40:6-8; Daniel 4:17, 25, 32, 8, 40-43.SITI September 23, 1886, page 580.9


    “The Time of the Third Angel’s Message” The Signs of the Times 12, 37, pp. 583, 584.

    WE have shown that the sixth of the seven trumpet angels ceased to sound August 11, 1840, and that then, says the Scripture, “the second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” Revelation 11:14. The third woe and the seventh trumpet are identical. And when the seventh angel sounded, said the prophet, “There were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.” He also said, “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 which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Verses 18, 19.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.1

    Now we want it to be clearly seen, and it may be, that the events here named are identical with those of Revelation 14:6-20; 16:1-21, and that the latter are but an explanation in full of the former. To show this we shall here bring together the statements of Revelation 11:18, 19, and the corresponding ones of chapters 14 and 16.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.2

    1. “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come.” Revelation 11:18. The third angel says, “If any man worship the beast and his image.... the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” Chapter 14:9, 10. And in the seven last plagues is filled up the wrath of God. 15:1, 6-8; 16.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.3

    2. “The time of the dead, that they should be judged. Revelation 11:18. “I saw another angel 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.” Chapter 14:6, 7.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.4

    3. “That thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great.” Revelation 11:18. This time of reward is at the coming of Christ; for he says: “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Chapter 22:12. Again he said: “Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:14. But his coming follows immediately the Third Angel’s Message; for says the prophet, “I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” “And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” Revelation 14:14, 16. This harvest is the end of the world. Matthew 13:39.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.5

    4. “And shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:18. “Another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” Revelation 14:17-19.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.6

    Here are shown two reapings. One is by the Son of God reaping the harvest of the earth, gathering the wheat into the garner of God. The other is to gather together those who are to be cast into the wine-press of the wrath of God. The former are the fruits of the true Vine, Christ Jesus. For he says: “I am the true Vine.” “I am the Vine, ye are the branches.” This is the Vine of Heaven; for Christ, the true Vine, came down from Heaven to do his Father’s will; and of the Vine the “Father is the Husbandman.” All who abide in Christ, the true Vine, will be gathered by the angels into the kingdom of God, when he comes on the white cloud to reap the harvest of the earth. The others are called the clusters of the vine of the earth. Those have no communion with the heavenly Vine, but are of the earth, earthy. And when the clusters of this vine are gathered, it is only to be cast into the wine-press of the wrath of God.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.7

    This same result is shown by John the Baptist under another figure: “He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11, 12.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.8

    5. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” Revelation 11:19. Why is this called the ark of his testament? Because within it is his testimony, as there was in the earthly temple, which was a pattern of the heavenly. “In the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.” Exodus 25:21. But what was the testimony or testament that was put in the ark? “He gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18. “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” Exodus 32:16. These tables Moses broke when he came down from the mount and found the people given up to idolatry. Then said the Lord to Moses: “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou breakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.” Then says Moses: “I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.” Deuteronomy 10:1-5. This ark was called the ark of the testimony or testament because that in it were the tables of the testimony which God gave to Moses, and that testimony was the ten commandments. It is this alone which gave it the title of the ark of the testimony.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.9

    Now we have shown that this sanctuary or temple on the earth was only a pattern or figure of the sanctuary or temple in Heaven. Therefore, that testimony which gave to the ark of the earthly sanctuary the title of the ark of the testament must be identical with the testimony which gives to the ark in Heaven the title of the ark of His testament, that is; the ten commandments. Now this temple of God in Heaven is opened at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. There is shown the heavenly ark of his testament; and connected directly with this stands Revelation 11:12. The Third Angel’s Message says: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God.”SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.10

    6. “And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Revelation 11:19. This is identical with the record of the events of the seventh plague. For says the Scripture, “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” Revelation 16:17, 18, 20, 21.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.11

    But the seven last plagues compose the wrath of God. This wrath is poured upon those who worship the beast and his image, upon those who refuse to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. And the Third Angel’s Message is to warn men against that worship that they may escape this wrath, and calls them especially to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. These things show that these three messages of Revelation 14, and the wrath which is foretold by the third of these, and the coming of the Lord which follows the third, represent events referred to as occurrent when the seventh angel shall sound. It is therefore absolutely certain that in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 14 is due to the world.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.12

    Here we must refer again to Revelation 10:7, where the angel declares with an oath that “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished.” We have shown that the mystery of God is the gospel, and that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and that therefore in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he begins to sound, the power of God for the salvation of man shall cease to be exercised. Note especially that this is in the days when the seventh angel begins to sound. From the texts presented in former articles, as well as all already given in this, it is plain that the events connected with the Third Angel’s Message end with the end of the world. Therefore the Third Angel’s Message is the means by which God makes his last effort for the salvation of men. Thus it becomes of the utmost importance to the children of men to know when the Third Angel’s Message is due to the world. In our article last week, in discussing the subject of the mystery of God and its finishing, we cited the sanctuary and its services, the Levitical law, and showed that they were typical of the heavenly sanctuary, and the work of Christ in his priesthood. We showed that the services ended with the cleansing of the sanctuary, and that Christ’s priestly service ends at the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, and we showed that this cleansing began in 1844. Therefore this last service of the gospel, the finishing of which is identical with the finishing of the mystery of God, began in 1844.SITI September 23, 1886, page 583.13

    Again: we showed that the cleansing of the sanctuary was really a work of judgment. It was so understood by the people who performed the service; it was so intended to be understood by the Lord who established the service. This is made certain by the voice which instanced that whosoever was not partaker of the services that day was cut off without mercy when the services closed. He had no further chance. His probation was gone. This was but typical of the work of Christ once for all, and the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary must be likewise a work of the Judgment. This answers exactly to the words which describe the scenes of the seventh trumpet when it begins to sound, that then was come “the time of the dead, that they should be judged.” And as we have seen, this cleansing of the sanctuary, this work of judgment, this time of the dead, that they should be judged, began in 1844.SITI September 23, 1886, page 584.1

    But this time of the dead, that they should be judged, is the same time referred to in Revelation 14:6, 7, in that message which carries still the everlasting gospel to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, yet saying with a loud voice to all, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his Judgment is come. Paul preached this same gospel, but not that the hour of his Judgment was come, but simply a judgment to come. Acts 21:25, and 17:31. But when the time comes when the seventh angel shall begin to sound, then it is declared in accordance with the same gospel, the hour of his Judgment is come. But this, as we have shown, is identical with the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary which began in 1844. Therefore it is certain that the seventh angel began to sound in 1844. That this hour of Judgment is not the day of Judgment which comes at the end of the world, but is a time which precedes the end of the world, answering to the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, is shown by the fact that two other messages follow this one before the coming of the Lord and the end of the world. But these two do follow this one, and the third of these is the Third Angel’s Message which warns all men against the worship of the beast and his image, and against receiving his mark, under the dreadful penalty of having to drink the wine of the wrath of God, and which at the same time calls all to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.SITI September 23, 1886, page 584.2

    This wine of the wrath of God is the seven last plagues, with the last of which come the lightnings, and voices and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail, which come at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. These commandments are the testimony of God which was brought forth prominently when the temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament. And all these things are but the events that occur in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he begins to sound. And as we have found that this seventh angel began to sound in 1844, then it was and onward the Third Angel’s Message is due to the world. When this message is finished, the mystery of God will be finished. When this message closes, the work of the gospel will be closed. And when the seven last plagues which are pronounced by this message against those who worship the beast and his image, shall be poured out upon them which shall have the mark of the beast, and upon them which worship his image,—with the pouring out of the last of these comes the end of the world.SITI September 23, 1886, page 584.3

    Therefore now is the time when there is danger of being drawn into the worship of the beast and his image. The people now living are the ones who are concerned in this. The people now living are they who will be called upon to make an image to the beast, and to worship the beast and his image. These are also the people who will be warned by the message of God against all those things under penalty of suffering the seven last plagues, and will be called to the keeping of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. J.SITI September 23, 1886, page 584.4

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