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    March 31, 1887

    “The World Will Not Be Converted” The Signs of the Times 13, 13, pp. 198, 199.

    BY those who believe in a millennium of peace and safety and the conversion of the world, it is argued somewhat as follows: The Bible says that the devil is to be bound a thousand years and shall deceive the nations no more till the thousand years are finished. Therefore, Satan being bound, and unable to deceive anybody, the gospel having no opposition, and having a thousand years to work untrammeled, in the very nature of the case all will accept the blessedness of the gospel, and the world must become converted.SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.1

    That appears very plausible, but is it true? We think not, and that for many reason which the Scriptures show, some of which we shall give.SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.2

    1. It is true that the devil is to be bound a thousand years. It is true that he is to have no power to deceive till the thousand years shall be fulfilled. And it is just as certainly true that when the thousand years are expired he does have power to deceive the nations; and that he does deceive them, to that extent that he gathers them to battle against the City of God, and fire comes down out of Heaven and devours them. Let us read the scripture on this. It is in the twentieth chapter of Revelation:—SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.3

    “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season.” “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Revelation 20:1-3; 7-9.SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.4

    That is a straightforward story. It needs no addition. It says plainly that Satan does not deceive the nations for a thousand years, and then that when the thousand years are expired he does deceive them, even the nations that are in the four quarters of the earth, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea, and fire devours them. Now it seems rather incongruous to claim that the world will all be converted during the thousand years, only to be deceived by the devil and devoured by fire as soon as the thousand years are over. It seems hardly reasonable that the Lord would give over to the devil and destruction, the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, when they had all become converted. If it should be claimed that these who are destroyed are only the ones who would not yield to the gospel, and would not be converted, then what becomes of the doctrine of the world’s conversion? For the number of the deceived and destroyed is made up of the nations that are in the four quarters of the earth, and the number is as the sand of the sea. At that rate the number of the converted could hardly embrace the world. No; neither this text that speaks directly of the millennium—müle-annum, a thousand years—nor any other in all the Bible gives any hint of the conversion of the world. A thousand years, a millennium of peace and safety and the destruction of all evil, is a myth. The doctrine of the conversion of the world is a fraud, and the preaching of it a deception and a snare.SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.5

    “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you; they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” Jeremiah 23:16, 17.SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.6

    Could this time be better described than it is in these words? Those that despise the Lord are increasing on every hand; those who walk after the imagination of their own heart are multiplying in the church as well as in the world; evil men and seducers are growing worse and more abundant; and when anyone proclaims the word of God, that the Lord cometh to judge them for their evil ways, then a chorus of voices can be heard all around, saying to them that despise the Lord, “The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace.” “Don’t be troubled, the Lord is not coming yet. The world is only in its infancy. The gospel has only got a fair start. The world must be converted before the Lord comes,” etc., etc. And when the word of the Lord is preached that “destruction cometh,” and “fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth,” then the same deceptive song is heard, “No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? Who hath marked his word and heard it?” “Don’t be disturbed. Nobody can tell whether the coming of the Lord is nigh or not. It may be a thousand years, may be ten thousand years yet. Nobody can tell anything about it.” “No evil shall come upon you.” This say they, but what saith the Lord?SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.7

    “Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind; it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart; in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” Jeremiah 23:19-22.SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.8

    The wicked, and those that despise the Lord and walk in their own evil way, they will comfort with the hope of the soon-coming millennium of peace the hope of the soon-coming millennium of peace and safety, and the conversion of the world; and then as the wickedness increases, those who promise and preach such things will invoke the power of the State to compel the wicked to act as though they were righteous, and so to help bring in the millennium and convert the world. They will comfort the wicked with the promise of a time when they can all be converted and become servants of God, without forsaking the world, or denying themselves, or taking up the cross,—a time in short in which the way to life will be so broad that none can get out of it, and the way to destruction so narrow that no one can get into it.SITI March 31, 1887, page 198.9

    But such a time will never be in this world. Christ said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13, 14. And he never gave any intimation that the order would ever be reversed, and the way become so broad that the world would find it. But he did say, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” They will seek, but will not strive. They will go in the way to destruction because the way to life is so strait. And, “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are... Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.” Luke 13:25-27.SITI March 31, 1887, page 199.1

    When the door of salvation closes there will be “many” working iniquity. Yea, says the Saviour, “And 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. And, “The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith [not all flock to the faith], giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1 Timothy 4:1. “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8.SITI March 31, 1887, page 199.2

    All these scriptures and all others that we might quote, show that the word of God contemplates no such thing as a millennium of peace and safety, nor the conversion of the world. And they who preach, or promise, or prophesy these things “speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.” “I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:16, 32. As we said before, so say we now again, If there is any one thing about the preaching of the present day that should be disbelieved, it is the preaching of peace and safety, and the conversion of the world.SITI March 31, 1887, page 199.3

    J.

    “‘A Complaint’ Indeed” The Signs of the Times 13, 13, p. 200.

    UNDER the heading of “A Complaint,” a Presbyterian elder writes to the Interior of March 17, 1887, as follows:—SITI March 31, 1887, page 200.1

    “I listened to the argument of a Baptist clergyman a short time ago, who, as usual, claimed that there was but one mode of baptism—that by immersion. Returning home, I took down Dr. William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, an abridged edition prepared by him alone, for universal use among Sabbath-school teachers, and Bible students. I expected to find a statement of the different views held by Christian denominations of the world on baptism, briefly and concisely stated, such as can be usually found in Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias for general use. I was much surprised in not finding any reference to the mode by sprinkling, as practiced by the great majority of Christians; but on the contrary, Dr. Smith says, ‘Baptism properly and literally means immersion.’ As to the mode, he says, ‘The language of the New Testament, and of the primitive fathers, sufficiently points to immersion, as the common mode of baptism.’ He says further, that ‘the ancient church mostly adopted immersion.’ His larger edition prepared by him and seventy others, may treat the subject exhaustively, but this one prepared by him alone for universal use, does not, to my mind, deal fairly with the subject. I picked up ‘Watson’s Dictionary of the Bible,’ and there I found the strongest arguments of those who favor, and those who oppose immersion, candidly set forth and the subject fairly treated. The ‘Smith’s Dictionary’ that I have is an American reprint published by Jansen McClurg & Co., 1875. I cannot understand (unless Dr. Smith is a Baptist), why all reference to sprinkling, as a mode of baptism—practiced by such a large body of Christians—is omitted by him. Can you enlighten me?”SITI March 31, 1887, page 200.2

    That is “a complaint” with which a great many people are afflicted nowadays. They find themselves believing and preaching something that is practiced “by a large body of Christians,” but which is totally at variance with the teachings of Christ, and then when their error is shown them they look for something that will confirm them in their error, and if they do not find it they enter their complaint. If their error be, as in this instance, in practicing sprinkling for baptism; and the Scriptures are set before them, and their error pointed out and the truth shown them, then instead of accepting the truth and obeying the word of God, they will go to some commentary or dictionary to find arguments to confirm them in their disobedience. And then if the dictionary is against them and in harmony with the Bible, they “cannot understand” it unless the writer, as in this case, Dr. Smith, “is a Baptist”! Unless the writer of the book is a Baptist they cannot understand why all reference to sprinkling as a mode of baptism is omitted by him, when it is “practiced by such a large body of Christians.” They cannot understand how the Scriptures can be right and the people wrong. They cannot understand how a writer can “deal fairly with the subject” when he gives the plain meaning of the Scriptures, instead of the corrupt practice of a large body of Christians, and so they enter “a complaint.” That is to say they cannot understand how it is that the practice of the people should be regulated and tested by the Bible, instead of the Bible being interpreted by the practice of the people.SITI March 31, 1887, page 200.3

    It is the same way in regard to Sunday-keeping. The Lord says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath,” and commands all men to “remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy.” “A large body of Christians,” make the Sabbath a working day, and keep Sunday instead. When the word of God is set before them and their sin in working on the Sabbath is shown them, then too many are just like this Presbyterian elder with baptism; instead of going to the word of God to see indeed their duty, they will go to commentaries or dictionaries to find something to confirm them in their wrong doing. We actually knew a minister to warn his congregation against “Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible” (Barnum’s edition, Appleton, etc.) as being published in the interests of Seventh-day Adventists; and now here comes this Presbyterian elder and suspects Dr. Smith of being a Baptist! And in both instances they will refuse to obey the word of God, because it is contrary to their practice.SITI March 31, 1887, page 200.4

    This is a very sad “complaint,” and afflicts a very “large body of Christians.”SITI March 31, 1887, page 200.5

    J.

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