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The Signs of the Times, vol. 13

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    “Perilous Times” The Signs of the Times 13, 40, pp. 632, 633.

    “IN the last days perilous times shall come,” says the Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:1. That we are in the last days no one can doubt who will give any attention to the word of God on that subject, for that word has spoken so much about the last days that no one who will study can fail to see that the times in which we live are those days. The disciples asked the Saviour, “What shall be the sign of thy coming?” Matthew 24:3. He answered, “There shall be signs.” Luke 21:25. They asked for but one “sign,” he said there shall be a number, “signs.” Peter, quoted from Joel, says, “And I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath.” Acts 2:19. These signs are so numerous, and in such places, that everyone who is not warned by them will be without excuse. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s heart’s failing them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth.” Luke 21:25, 26. Now count the number of places where these signs are to be: (1) In the sun, (2) in the moon, (3) in the stars, (4) and upon the earth, (5) and amongst the nations, (6) and upon the seas, (7) and among men themselves, their hearts failing for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. Men will see these things coming, their hearts will fail them for fear, because of them, yet they will fail to draw from them the only lesson that there is in them, namely, the Lord is coming. He says: “When these things begin to come to pass then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” These things began to come to pass in 1780. Then the sun was darkened, and the moon also, as the consequence. Again, the Saviour said, “When ye shall see all these things, know that he is near, even at the doors.”SITI October 20, 1887, page 632.1

    Now is there any one of these things named by the Saviour as signs which cannot be seen by any one at the present day? It is a historical fact that the sun and the moon were darkened May 19, 1780; and this fact is perpetuated as unexplainable, in each successive edition of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the highest human authority in the English language. It is likewise a fact that in November 1833, occurred the greatest star-shower ever known, which fact is perpetuated in the astronomical geographies and treatises, as well as in many other kinds of records. Again, what nation is at ease and in quiet? Not one. Our own nation, the best one of all, is not. It is a fact that there is distress with perplexity as never before in every nation. Mark the expression, “distress of nations, with perplexity.” Webster says, “We are perplexed when our feelings, as well as judgment, are so affected that we know not how to decide or act.” Nations have been grievously distressed before, but they always knew just what to do to relieve themselves. The peculiarity of the present “distress of nations” is the “perplexity”—they do not know how to decide or act; they do not know which way to turn. Therein lies the sign, and nothing below the divine mind of Christ could have penetrated it. “The sea and the waves roaring,” spreading affliction and calamity, and all can see it. “Men’s hearts” are “failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” The cyclones, the water-spouts, and the fearful floods, carrying destruction in their paths, none knowing when nor where they will come, are the very embodiment of that which causes men’s hearts to fail them for fear. There is not one of those signs in the heavens that may not be seen by all, in the most authentic records; and there is not one of these signs upon the earth that is not seen by all in the very fact itself. Be he believer or unbeliever, he does see all these things. This is the fact, but it only points to the other, and most stupendous fact, that the second coming of Christ is at the doors. He says, “When ye shall see all these things, know that he is ... even at the doors.” The people do see all these things. He is at the very doors.SITI October 20, 1887, page 632.2

    But it is not in these things that the peril lies which is referred to in 2 Timothy 3. These evidences only show that we are in the days when the perilous times shall be. The perils are from other causes: “In the last days perilous times shall come for [because] men shall be lovers of their own selves.” And from this root, selfishness, grows the fearful catalogue of eighteen forms of sin, named in the following verses. In the sins of the last days lies the peril.SITI October 20, 1887, page 633.1

    “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37. “The earth also was corrupt before God; and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:11, 12, 5. “Every imagination of the thoughts,” on which Dr. Clarke says: “The very first embryo of every idea, the figment of every thought, the very materials out of which perception, conception, and ideas were formed, were all evil.” “And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.” Again says Dr. Clarke: “They were flesh, wholly sensual, the desires of the mind overwhelmed and lost in the desires of the flesh.” Every desire was fleshly, and every effort was only in the direction of satisfying such desires, with the natural and inevitable result, as the Saviour expresses it, “They were marrying and giving in marriage;” and with nothing in view but the satisfaction of the fleshly desires, it was an easy step to where “they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:2.SITI October 20, 1887, page 633.2

    Now let anyone take the divorce records of any of the County or District Courts in the United States, or the statistics which are compiled from these, and in view of the wonderful facility with which divorces are obtained, let him ask himself whether we are not fallen upon such times as were in the days of Noah? whether men do not now take to them wives of all that they choose? In itself marriage is right. It was instituted by the Lord himself. It was the dearest relationship of the human race. It is honorable in all when it is entered into in the fear of God, and when the relationship is maintained in accordance with those sanctions which God has established. But when people are married to be divorced and divorced to be married, all respect for the relationship and its obligations is annihilated, and the institution is destroyed.SITI October 20, 1887, page 633.3

    From this the evil goes on in the descending scale to another stage mentioned by the Saviour, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot ... even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:28-30. That it is the moral condition of the world that is here referred to, as well as to worldly carelessness and lack of faith in the great event which is to come upon them, is plainly shown in 2 Peter 2, where he is writing of the same things spoken of by the Saviour; after giving the instance of Noah and his times, he takes up Sodom and Gomorrah, and speaks of “just Lot vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; for that righteous man dwelling among them in seeing and hearing vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.”SITI October 20, 1887, page 633.4

    Paul also shows that this is the point that is reached in the full development of the perilous times. He says: “For of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women, laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.” But he not only shows how it is brought about. “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:6-8. “As [in the same manner] Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses.” By turning to the record in the seventh and eighth chapters of Exodus, we learn that it was by miracles that these men withstood Moses, and Paul says as they did, “so do these resist the truth.” Now if it be so, as all the other scriptures show that we are in the perilous times, for this specification to be met, and thus these positions be fully confirmed, there should be in the world at the present time people who resist the truth (the word of God, John 17:17) by working miracles, showing signs, and doing wonders. It is well known that Spiritualism does these things. It is equally well known that the very first of the efforts of Spiritualism everywhere is to destroy confidence in the Bible as the truth of God, and to resist its obligations upon the people.SITI October 20, 1887, page 633.5

    In speaking of the second coming of the Lord, Paul says, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” This shows that just before the Saviour comes, Satan, by power and signs and wonders, will resist the truth of his coming, and the truth which will prepare a people for his coming. It is thus then that Satan, by miracles and signs, resists the truth of God, and brings to the full the last days as were the days of Noah and the days of Lot. If anyone will know the possibilities of evil that are in Spiritualism, let him read Deuteronomy 18:9-14, with the eighteenth and twentieth chapters of Leviticus, and he will see what it did for those nations which dwelt in Canaan. And when in the last days these same “spirits of devils, working miracles,” “with all power” “go forth to the kings of the earth and the whole world” it is “to gather them to the battle of the great day of God.” Thirty-nine years have these “spirits of devils” been going forth. Soon, very soon, will they gather the nations to the battle of the great day. “Who is on the Lord’s side?” We are in the perilous times. Who will escape? Christ is at the doors. Who is ready when he shall knock to open to him immediately? Luke 12:36.SITI October 20, 1887, page 633.6