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    January 20, 1888

    “The Fall of Babylon” The Signs of the Times 14, 3, pp. 38, 39.

    ISAIAH called Cyrus by name one hundred and thirteen years before he was born, and said, one hundred and seventy-six years before it came to pass, that he should let the people of Israel go from captivity. But Babylon was to fall before Israel could go free. And the prophet also said that Cyrus should take that mighty city. Isaiah 45:1-5. In the fourth year of Zedekiah, B.C. 597, Seraiah was sent as an embassador to Babylon on business to the king; and by him Jeremiah sent a copy of the prophecies contained in the fiftieth and fifty-first chapters of Jeremiah. Seraiah was to take the prophecy with him, and when he reached Babylon, he was to read it all, and when he had finished the reading of it he was to bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates, and say, “Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her.” Jeremiah 51:59-64.SITI January 20, 1888, page 38.1

    In that prophecy which Jeremiah had sent to be read in Babylon, it was said to the people of Israel: “My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord. And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumor that shall be heard in the land; a rumor shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumor, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.” Jeremiah 51:45, 46. Here was given a definite sign by which the people of Israel might know when to escape from Babylon, and from the ruin that was to fall upon her. There were to be two rumors of danger to Babylon, and the rumors were to be a year apart. As stated above, Cyrus started for Babylon in early spring, B.C. 539, but he went only about half way that year. The cause of this is thus stated by Herodotus:—SITI January 20, 1888, page 38.2

    “Cyrus on his way to Babylon came to the banks of the Gyndes, a stream which, rising in the Matienian Mountains, runs through the country of the Dardanians, and empties itself into the river Tigris.... When Cyrus reached this stream, which could only be passed in boats, one of the sacred white horses accompanying his march, full of spirit and high mettle, walked into the water, and tried to cross by himself; but the current seized him, swept him along with it, and drowned him in its depths. Cyrus, enraged at the insolence of the river, threatened so to break its strength that in future even women should cross it easily without wetting their knees. Accordingly he put off for a time his attack on Babylon, and dividing his army into two parts he marked out by ropes one hundred and eighty trenches on each side of the Gyndes, leading off from it in all directions, and setting his army to dig, some on one side of the river, some on the other, he accomplished his threat by the aid of so great a number of hands, but not without losing thereby the whole summer season. Having, however, thus wreaked his vengeance on the Gyndes by dispersing it through three hundred and sixty channels, Cyrus, with the first approach of the ensuing spring, marched forward against Babylon.”—Book I, chap. 189, 190.SITI January 20, 1888, page 38.3

    Here then were the two rumors which Jeremiah said there should be: First, when Cyrus started from Ecbatana, the rumor reached Babylon, and the Babylonians made all ready to meet him in defense of the city. But he stopped and stayed a year, and then started again for Babylon, which would be the cause of the second rumor. This was what the people of Israel were waiting for; then they knew it was the time to get out of Babylon, for then would surely be violence in the land, ruler against ruler. And thus that prophecy was certainly fulfilled beyond all reasonable dispute.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.1

    In the spring of B.C. 538 Cyrus proceeded to Babylon without hindrance. The king of Babylon drew up his forces in the plain outside of the city, prepared to give battle. Cyrus attacked him at once and easily defeated him. The king, Nabonadius, himself took refuge in Borsippa, while the greater part of his army escaped within the walls of the city, where Belshazzar was in command. When they all got within the mighty walls of Babylon, with all the brazen gates securely fastened with the heavy iron bars, they felt perfectly secure, and laughed defiance at Cyrus and all his forces, and at all his efforts to force his way in. But Cyrus had already made a success of turning the river Gyndes out of its banks, and he determined to do the same thing for the Euphrates. The Euphrates ran directly through the city, under the walls, and Cyrus determined to turn the waters out of the channel, and then, under cover of darkness, follow the bed of the river into the city. This also was in fulfillment of prophecy: “A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up.” “And I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.” Jeremiah 50:38; 51:36. Thus spake the prophet sixty years before, telling what should be, and the following are the words of the historian telling what was:—SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.2

    “Withdrawing the greater part of his army from the vicinity of the city, and leaving behind him only certain corps of observation, Cyrus marched away up the course of the Euphrates for a certain distance, and there proceeded to make a vigorous use of the spade. His soldiers could now appreciate the value of the experience which they had gained by dispersing the Gyndes, and perceive that the summer and autumn of the preceding year had not been wasted. They dug a channel or channels from the Euphrates, by means of which a great portion of its water would be drawn off, and hoped in this way to render the natural course of the river fordable.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.3

    Isaiah was shown in vision that Babylon would fall in a time of feasting: “Prepare the table, watch in the watch-tower, eat, drink;” and that in the midst of it she would be attacked: “Arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.” Chap. 21:5, 9. And thus says the history:—SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.4

    “When all was prepared, Cyrus determined to wait for the arrival of a certain festival, during which the whole population were wont to engage in drinking and reveling, and then silently in the dead of night to turn the water of the river and make his attack. All fell out as he hoped and wished. The festival was held with even greater pomp and splendor than usual; for Belshazzar, with the natural insolence of youth, to mark his contempt of the besieging army, abandoned himself wholly to the delights of the season, and himself entertained a thousand lords in his palace.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.5

    Daniel was in Babylon that night, and tells what happened there: “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father [grandfather, margin] Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.6

    Jeremiah said it was “a land of graven images,” and prophesied that they would be “mad upon their idols.” Chap. 50:38. And Daniel says that in that night’s feast which he saw “they drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” Daniel 5:1-4.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.7

    Isaiah, one hundred and seventy-six years before, said that their night of pleasure should be turned into fear. Chap. 21:3, 4. Daniel tells what did it: “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” Chap. 5:5.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.8

    Isaiah in vision pictured him thus in his fear: “My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me;” “therefore are my loins filled with pain; pangs have taken hold upon me; ... I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.” Daniel tells what was the reality: “Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” Daniel 5:6.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.9

    Isaiah showed that he would call in the astrologers: “Let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee;” “none shall save thee.” Isaiah 47:13, 15.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.10

    Daniel says the king did so: “The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers; ... but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.11

    This was the scene in the king’s banqueting-house, but it was only a sample of what was going on all over the city, for it was a national feast. Says William Hayes Ward, in the Sunday School Times:—SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.12

    “We are told in Daniel that Babylon was captured on the night of a great feast to the idol gods, at which the wives and concubines joined in a wild revelry. But the women were not in the habit of feasting with men—how is this? An account, by Cyrus himself, of his capture of Babylon, was dug up only three or four years ago. In it he declares that Babylon was captured, ‘without fighting,’ on the fourteenth day of the month Tammuz. Now the month Tammuz was named in honor of the god Tammuz, the Babylonian Adonis, who married their Venus or Ishtar; and the fourteenth of Tammuz was the regular time to celebrate their union, with lascivious orgies. On this day of all others, the women took part in the horrible rites; and it was in this feast of king, princes, wives, and concubines, that Babylon was taken and Belshazzar slain. The Bible is here fully and wonderfully corroborated.”—Vol. 25, No. 42, pp. 659, 660.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.13

    J.

    (Concluded next week.)

    “The Image of the Beast” The Signs of the Times 14, 3, pp. 39, 40.

    WE have shown that the National Reform movement, or the movement to unite religion and the State in this nation, is in the direct course of the fulfillment of Revelation 13:11-17. We have shown that this movement to unite religion and the State is but to form an image to the Papacy, and is a fulfillment of the prophecy which speaks of its being said “to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Verse 14. We now propose to show that the logic of the National Reform movement is the exact fulfillment of the words which immediately follow: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” By the proposed amendment to the Constitution, the National Reformers propose to have this nation acknowledge God as sovereign, and as “the source of all authority and power in civil government.” When that shall have been done, then, according to their own statements, what will follow? Let us see.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.1

    First, they say that “the keeping of the Sabbath is an acknowledgment of the sovereign rights of God over us.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.2

    Secondly, they say, “Sunday is the Sabbath.” Therefore it inevitably follows that whoever refuses to keep Sunday denied the sovereignty of God.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.3

    Now the nation, in declaring that God is Sovereign, virtually takes upon itself the obligation to maintain that sovereignty within its jurisdiction; and as the keep of Sunday is declared to be the acknowledgment of that sovereignty, the nation thereby sets itself to maintain the proper observance of Sunday, and so the proper recognition of the sovereignty of God. And the refusal to keep Sunday, being counted a denial of the sovereignty of God, will also be treason against the State, and if persisted in can only receive the punishment due to treason, and that is death.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.4

    It is even now claimed by the leading Sunday advocates, that the terrible calamities that so often occur, are the judgments of God sent upon the nation because of the desecration of Sunday; and that all manner of Sunday work must be stopped, or the nation will perish. Therefore, according to their argument, as Sunday work imperils the nation, whoever persists in working on Sunday and in disregarding the day, thereby sets himself against the life of the nation. Then, in the view of the National Reformers, the only question will be, Which is the most valuable, the life of the nation or the life of the few who persistently refuse to keep Sunday? To this question there can be but one answer, of course. It will readily be argued that it is better that the few shall die than that the whole nation perish.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.5

    The awful train disaster that occurred last summer at Chatsworth is attributed by the National Reformers to the national disregard of Sunday. Therefore when the nation espouses the cause of Sunday sacredness, suppose there shall yet be those throughout the land who persistently and intentionally work on Sunday, then suppose a train runs off the track and a number of persons are killed; as the desecration of Sunday causes the accident by which these are killed, it necessarily follows that those who desecrated the Sunday are guilty of their death. And as these persons still refuse to keep Sunday, the only thing that remains will be to put them to death.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.6

    This is the plain, straightforward logic of the National Reform Sunday law propositions. And this is precisely what is pointed out in the scripture which speaks of the making of the image of the beast: “e had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” But in direct opposition to this work stands the warning of the Third Angel’s Message, that whosoever worships the beast and his image “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” It is therefore certain that no person who loves the truth of the Third Angel’s Message, will ever obey any law which forbids work on Sunday, even though death be involved in his working on that day. If the law says he shall not work, he, like Daniel when he was forbidden by the law to pray to God, will do exactly as “he did aforetime,” and just as if there was no such law in existence. Of course, he will have to face fine and imprisonment, and the time will come when he will have to face death to do it. This is plainly set forth in the Third Angel’s Message. But it is far better to face fine and imprisonment and even death itself, than to worship the beast and his image.SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.7

    Let no one think that we are writing extravagantly in thus setting forth the logic of the Sunday-law propositions. We have their own arguments, which show the very thing which we have here pointed out. And to show that we are not talking at random, we shall not give some of their own testimony on the subject. Last August there was a National Reform W.C.T.U. Convention held at Lakeside, near Sandusky, Ohio. One of the questions, with its answer, was as follows:—SITI January 20, 1888, page 39.8

    Question—“Will those who conscientiously observe the seventh day of the week, be required to keep Sunday also?”SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.1

    Answer (by Dr. McAllister, editor of the Christian Statesman)—“I will say, not in the way of compelling them to wait upon services on that day. No man should be compelled to attend public worship. But let a man be what he may—Jew, seventh-day observer of some other denomination, or those who do not believe in the Christian Sabbath—let the law apply to everyone, that there shall be no public desecration of the first day of the week, the Christian Sabbath, the day of rest for the nation. They may hold another day of the week as sacred, and observe it; but that day which is the one day in seven for the nation at large, let not that be publicly desecrated by anyone, by officer in the Government, or by private citizen, high or low, rich or poor.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.2

    At one of the meetings, Mrs. Bateham, the head of the W.C.T.U.’s Department of Sunday Observance, made a speech on the subject. After the speech there was a short time given for questions. There were many questions asked, all of which involved the point of work on Sunday. We shall choose one question and its answer, which contain the substance of many. A member of the W.C.T.U. said:—SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.3

    “This subject was called to my attention just a few days ago, by a lady in our town who is an observer of the seventh day, and she said: ‘Oh! I hope you women of the Christian Temperance Union will never press this question of Sunday observance into the law of the State. Don’t you see that if they make it a legal Sabbath day, it will persecute us? for it is just as binding a command of God that we labor six days of the week, as it is to rest one. Of Course, I have no given much attention to it; but I was forcibly impressed with the manner in which she expressed herself. She said if we put anything into the Constitution of the United States, or the laws of the State, that compels all labor to cease on our Sunday, then they would be obliged to disobey God, or else the laws of the land, or their own consciences. Now I would like some light on this point.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.4

    Answer (by Mrs. Bateham)—“I believe myself that the fourth commandment not only commands to rest on one day but to labor on the other six; but I believe there is abundance of labor which could be performed upon that day and would not draw public attention. There are many things that are right and proper for others who are not observers of the first day of the week, to do on that day. But when the good of the whole country requires that this day should be kept as a holy day, they must not be allowed to infringe upon the rights of the people.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.5

    Now look at the argument. She admits that the commandment of God not only enjoins rest on one day of the week, but also enjoins labor on the other six. Here are a people who obey the commandment by resting on that one day, and who also desire to obey the commandment by laboring on the other six. But the W.C.T.U. says, through Mrs. Bateham, “They must not be allowed to labor on the other six days.” That is to say, They must not be allowed to obey the commandment of God—even that which Mrs. Bateham herself confesses to be the commandment of God. She says, “The fourth commandment not only commands rest on one day but to labor on the other six.” These people rest on that one day, and then in addition to that the W.C.T.U. proposes to compel them to rest on one of the other six, on which the commandment of God commands them to labor. Therefore the W.C.T.U. deliberately proposes to compel a whole people to break the commandment of God.SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.6

    And why? Oh! because “they must not be allowed to infringe upon the rights of the people.” What a specious plea indeed! Let the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union be told that the rights of the people never can involve the breaking of the commandment of God. Let the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union be told that obedience to the commandment of God never can infringe upon the rights of the people.SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.7

    How perfectly the Third Angel’s Message applies right here! Just at this time, when this vast organization deliberately sets itself to compel a people to break the commandment of God, how appropriate it is that the Third Angel’s Message should cry with a mighty voice, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.8

    But suppose these people refuse to break the commandment of God, what then? Amid further questions and answers, there was said this:—SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.9

    “There is a law in the State of Arkansas enforcing Sunday observance upon the people, and the result has been that many good persons have not only been imprisoned, but have lost their property, and even their lives.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.10

    Reply—“It is better that a few should suffer than that the whole nation should lost its Sabbath.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.11

    Exactly! That is the very argument by which the Saviour was condemned to death by the popular religionists of his day; and “If they called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light; and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” “Yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”SITI January 20, 1888, page 40.12

    J.

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