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    February 3, 1887

    “Yet a Little While” The Signs of the Times 13, 5, pp. 71, 72.

    THE prophet Isaiah exclaims, “Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” 59:14. We are not left in doubt as to when this is, for in immediate connection with these words is the statement that the Lord “put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,” and this time is shown by Paul to be at his second coming: “To you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. And Isaiah continues: “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense.” “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.” Verses 18, 20. There can be no doubt therefore that the time to which Isaiah refers is the same to which Paul refers, and that the time is that which immediately precedes the second coming of the Lord.SITI February 3, 1887, page 71.1

    Hosea speaks of the same time, saying, “Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel; for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.” 4:1, 2. That the prophet in this perfectly describes the condition of things at the present time, can be proved by anyone who looks at any of the leading daily or weekly papers anywhere in all the land, or who to any extent moves about among men. Whole columns are filled with the reports of deeds of violence; with thievings and adulteries in high places and in low, and especially in the high places. Columns of iniquitous reports of adulterous proceedings are telegraphed at immense expense across the ocean and then across the continent in all directions, and the paper that bears the fullest account sells the best. Society is honeycombed with the canker of iniquity.SITI February 3, 1887, page 71.2

    Now are we left in doubt as to whether these words of the prophet were meant to describe the times which now are. The next verse says, “Therefore shall the land mourn, and everyone that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.” This time when the beasts of the field languish is definitely shown by Joel 1:15-20; 2:1. “Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.... The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.... The beasts of the field cry also unto thee; for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.” Said Hosea also, “The fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.” The time when the fishes of the sea are taken away is in the time of the second of the seven last plagues. “The second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.” Revelation 16:3. When the seventh plague is poured out the voice of God declares the end of the world, and then comes the end of the world. Therefore by these evidences it is plain that the word of the Lord by Hosea, which we have quoted, describes the state of society at the time when the great day of the Lord and the end of the world are impending.SITI February 3, 1887, page 71.3

    Micah also says: “The good man is perished out of the earth; and there is non upright among men; they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire; so they wrap it up. The best of them is as a brier; the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge.” And that this is in the last days is shown by the next clause, “The day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.” This is made positive by another verse in the same connection: “Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.... He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.” Micah 7:2-9.SITI February 3, 1887, page 71.4

    Habakkuk too in vision, saw all this evil going on, and he cried out unto the Lord about it. He wanted to know how the Lord could stand it to see so much iniquity, when he hates iniquity; how he could bear to behold so much injustice when he is altogether just. He says, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me; and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth; for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity; wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” 1:2-4, 13.SITI February 3, 1887, page 71.5

    After thus making his inquiries he waited for an answer, saying, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me.... And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Chap. 2:1-4. Now the Lord has made his own application of this text, and by reading that application there can be no mistake about the time to which the prophet refers when he speaks of this violence and failure of justice prevailing. Paul, in speaking of the coming of the Lord, quotes these words of Habakkuk, saying, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:36-38.SITI February 3, 1887, page 71.6

    The vision, therefore, which Habakkuk saw was the concerning the coming of the Lord, when his coming would be so near that whatever delay there should seem to be would be but a tarrying and that for but a little while, when he should surely come and would not tarry. But the vision for an appointed time. It was to be written out and made plain upon tables, that he might run who should read it. The visions concerning the appointed time of the coming of the Lord have been written out; they have been, and are still being, made plain on tables, and many who read are running with the word to show to men that the appointed time is almost expired and that the coming of the Lord is at the doors. And he himself said, “Because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:12, 13. Now the just shall live by faith, and there is no room for drawing back. For, says, the Scripture, to draw back is to draw back unto perdition, and we must not be of such but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.SITI February 3, 1887, page 71.7

    All the evidences of the Bible are in perfect accord with words of the prophets which we have here presented. All show that the last days—the days in which we live—will be times of fearful iniquity and outbreaking sin; of violence and bloodshed; of blasphemy and impurity; of injustice and oppression. As quoted at the beginning of this article, they will be times when “judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey [is accounted mad, margin].”SITI February 3, 1887, page 72.1

    But to those who do depart from evil the Lord promises that the Redeemer shall come. Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die, O house of Israel. To “them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28.SITI February 3, 1887, page 72.2

    J.

    “Notes on the International Lesson. Abraham Pleading for Sodom. Genesis 18:23-33” The Signs of the Times 13, 5, pp. 74, 75.

    (February 20.—Genesis 18:23-33.)

    THE time had come when Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, had filled up the measure of their iniquity, and like the inhabitants of Canaan afterward, and the antediluvians before, the earth could bear them, and the justice of God could spare them, no longer. Yet they, as all others, were called, and were given an opportunity to escape the impending ruin. The Lord kept it not a secret from Abraham, and sent Lot to call whoever he could induce to escape. The responsibility for every wicked man’s destruction is upon himself; God calls all, and will save all who will give him the opportunity.SITI February 3, 1887, page 74.1

    “SHALL I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7. And Abraham was a prophet. Genesis 20:7. He was God’s trusted servant, and the Lord would not destroy that city, so fearfully wicked as it was, without telling Abraham; he would not bring the flood without telling Noah; he would not give up Israel without sending them prophets in abundance; he did not at the last destroy Judah till, in addition to all the prophets, he had sent them his own Son, who, as he beheld the city in her stubbornness of spiritual pride, burst into weeping, exclaiming, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!” “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Matthew 23:37; Luke 19:42-44.SITI February 3, 1887, page 74.2

    THAT has been and is the trouble with all, they know not the time of their visitation. The people upon whom the flood came knew not the time of their visitation; the cities of the plain knew not the time of their visitation; nor Jerusalem. Felix knew not the time of his visitation, although he trembled at the message of God. Agrippa knew not the time of his visitation, although, by the earnest words of Paul, he was almost persuaded to be a Christian. Nero knew not the time of his visitation, though God called him twice. It is a fearful thing to be so dulled by the influences of sin that we cannot perceive the gracious visitation of the love of God. “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart.” “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” We beseech you that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.SITI February 3, 1887, page 74.3

    TEN righteous people would have saved Sodom and the cities of the plain! No community knows, no city knows, no nation knows, the world itself does not know, what it owes to the few humble, pious people of God. They who fear God and walk in the steps of Christ are the salt of the earth. It is they who preserve from destruction the vast multitude of the wicked; they are the light of the world, and God still bears with the wicked in patient waiting that they may in that light see his goodness and glorify him in the day of visitation. The long-suffering of God is salvation. It is the history of the human race illustrated over and over, that as long as there is any possibility of getting any good out of a nation or a people, so long God suffers them to remain, though there be iniquity in them. But when all hope of good is gone, then that people is given over, as were those in the lesson to-day. Sodom and Gomorrah are made an example to all who live ungodly. 2 Peter 2:6.SITI February 3, 1887, page 74.4

    BUT in this lesson on Sodom, there is a special lesson for all who live to-day. It is a lesson of the greatest importance. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:28-30. The announcement is now being made throughout the land and to the ends of the earth, that the time is at hand when the Son of man will be revealed in a glory that will cover the heavens. Accompanying the announcement is a message of God which will make ready a people prepared for the Lord. If the message is heeded by you, you may be amongst that people.SITI February 3, 1887, page 74.5

    THAT message is the Third Angel’s Message (Revelation 14:9-12): “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.... Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And that which follows closely upon the message is the coming of the Lord. God, “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.”SITI February 3, 1887, page 74.6

    THOUSANDS of people will study the lesson of Sodom to-day, and will wonder why they and those others listened not to the call of God, and knew not the time of their visitation; and yet will reject the message of God to-day, and will not now know the time of their visitation. It is easy enough now to believe that the flood, or this destruction of Sodom, came and destroyed all but those who believed and escaped. It is easy enough now to express surprise at the people there for not believing the message of God. It is easy enough now to do all this, and at the same time do exactly as they did in rejecting the message of God in our day, as they did in theirs. God has now in the earth a message of warning, of entreaty, and of salvation, as really as he had in the days of Noah or of Lot. It must be believed and heeded as really if we would escape a destruction as real as was then. While the world stands, Paul’s words to the men of Antioch are ever apt: “Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” Acts 13:40, 41.SITI February 3, 1887, page 75.1

    J.

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