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    October 24, 1900

    “Lessons from Matthew 24. The Signs of the Lord’s Coming and of the End of the World” The Signs of the Times 26, 43, p. 4.

    “What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?”SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.1

    THIS question the disciples asked Jesus. And Jesus answered the question directly, and even more fully than they had asked. They asked, “What shall be the sign?” and Jesus answered, “There shall be signs”—not one only, but a number of them; and these in different places.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.2

    But first He tells definitely the time when the signs would begin to appear, so that those who would intelligently look for His coming could know when to expect the signs, and as a consequence know that His coming and the end were near. Thus He says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, there shall be signs.”SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.3

    In the stretch of time that would elapse, and the course of events which would occur between the day of His discourse and the day of His coming and of the end of the world, He had said, as noted in the preceding study, that upon the elect “there shall be great tribulation, such as there hath not been the like, from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.4

    These are the “one thousand two hundred and threescore days,” each day for a year, in which the church of God—the elect—was “nourished from the face of the serpent,” and protected from the flood of wrath, which the dragon through his earthly instrument cast out of his mouth “after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” Revelation 12:17; 14, 15. They are the days during which the power symbolized by the “little horn” of Daniel 7:8, 20-22, 25, “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them,” and wore them out. They are the days in which death, on his “pale horse,” rode prosperously, with hell following with him, while he killed “with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” those who must be “slain for the Word of God and the testimony which they held.” Revelation 6:8, 9. They are the days in which “that woman Jezebel,” “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth,” used her terrible power so astonishingly that she was “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Revelation 2:19; 17:3-6. They are the days in which this “abomination that astonisheth” (Daniel 11:21, margin) caused many to “fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.” Daniel 11:31-33.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.5

    Thus “those days” are the twelve hundred and sixty years of papal supremacy, which began in A.D. 538, at the rooting up of the last of the “three” kingdoms mentioned in Daniel 7:8, 20, 24, and ended in A.D. 1798, when the papal government was abolished in Rome, when a Roman republic was again declared there, and “the old foundations of the capital were made again to resound with the cries, if not the spirit, of freedom; and the venerable ensign, S.P.Q.R., after the lapse of fourteen hundred years, again floated in the winds,” and when the pope was made a prisoner and was carried into captivity in France, where he died at Valence, Aug. 29, 1799. And “the tribulation of those days” is the terrible persecution inflicted by the Papacy, as shown by the scriptures referred to in the preceding paragraph, and certified in the history of the Dark Ages.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.6

    But Jesus said “those days should be shortened,” and “for the elect’s sake.” “They shall be holpen with a little help,” said the angel to David. Daniel 11:34. “The earth helped the woman” in the wilderness, wrote John. Revelation 12:16. The tribulation was shortened; the elect were relieved before the days ended, else there would have been none left. The tribulation ended in the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773. The days ended A.D. 1798. And “immediately after the tribulation” ended, yet before the days ended, the signs of His coming would begin to appear; for said Jesus, “In those days, after that tribulation,” the signs should begin.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.7

    And where would be the signs? Read: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” (in the days) “there shall be signsSITI October 24, 1900, page 4.8

    (a) “In the sun, andSITI October 24, 1900, page 4.9

    (b) “In the moon, andSITI October 24, 1900, page 4.10

    (c) “In the stars, andSITI October 24, 1900, page 4.11

    (d) “Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity;SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.12

    (e) “The sea and the waves roaring;SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.13

    (f) “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Luke 21:25, 26.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.14

    Thus the signs of the coming of the Lord and of the end of the world are to be abundant, and in so many places that it is impossible for anybody to fail to see, at the very least, some of them. The signs are to be in the havens and on the earth, amongst the nations, upon the sea, and among men as individuals.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.15

    The signs in the heavens are to be in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars. And these are the first signs mentioned. Not only are they the first mentioned, but they are definitely specified as the ones which would begin in the days, and after the tribulation: “immediately after the tribulation of those days [in the days] the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.” “The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.” Mark 13:24; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12; Joel 2:31.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.16

    As already stated, the tribulation ended in 1773. The days ended in 1798. And May 19, 1780, just seven years after the tribulation ended and eighteen years before the days ended, the sun was darkened from about 10 o’clock in the morning all the rest of the day, and till past midnight; and in that night of darkness such as “doubtless had not been since the Almighty first gave birth to light,” the moon, which had fulled the day before, appeared as red as blood. Of the darkening of the sun, and, consequently, of the moon, one of the best accounts is the following:—SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.17

    Almost if not altogether alone, as the most mysterious and as yet unexplained phenomenon of its kind in nature’s diversified range of events, during the last century, stands the dark day of May 19, 1780—a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England—which brought intense alarm and distress to multitudes of minds, as well as dismay to the brute creation, and fowls fleeing bewildered to their roosts, and the birds to their nests, and the cattle returning to their stalls. Indeed, thousands of the good people of that day became fully convinced that the end of all things terrestrial had come, and gave up, for the time, their secular pursuits, and he betook themselves to religious devotions; while many others regarded the darkness as not only a token of God’s indignation against the various iniquities and abominations of the age, but also as an omen of some future destruction that might overwhelm the land—as in the case of the countries mentioned in Biblical history—unless speedy repentance and reformation took place. The ignorant indulged in vagaries and wild conjectures as to the cause of the phenomenon; and those profounder minds, even, that could gauge the heavens and tell the stars,” were about usually at loss for any rational explanation of the event. It is related that the Connecticut Legislature has a session at this time, and that so great was the darkness the members became terrified, and thought that the day of judgment had come; a motion was consequently made to adjourn. At this Mr. Davenport arose and said: “Mr. Speaker, it is either the day of judgment or it is not. If it is not, there is no need of adjourning. If it is, I desire to be bound doing my duty. I move that candles be brought, and that we proceed to business.”SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.18

    The time of the commencement of this extraordinary darkness was between the hours of 10 and 11 in the forenoon of Friday of the date already named; and it continued until the middle of the following night, but with different appearances at different places. As to the manner of its appearance, it seemed to appear, first of all, in the southwest. The wind came from that quarter, and the darkness appeared to come on with the clouds that came in that direction. The degree to which the darkness arose varied in different localities. In most part it became so dark, that people were unable to read common print distinctly, or accurately determined the time of day by their clocks or watches, or dim, or manage their domestic affairs conveniently without the light of candles. In some places the degree of darkness was just about equal to preventing persons seeing to read ordinary print in the open air for several hours together.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.19

    The extent of this darkness was also very remarkable. It was observed at the most easterly regions of New England; westward to the farthest parts of Connecticut, and at Albany; to the southward it was observed all along the seacoasts; and to the north as far as the American settlements extended. It probably far exceeded these boundaries, but the exact limits were never positively known.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.20

    With regard to its duration, it continued in the neighborhood of Boston for at least fourteen or fifteen hours; but it was doubtless longer or shorter in some other places. The appearance and effects were such as tended to make the prospect extremely dull, gloomy, and unnatural. Candles were lighted up in the houses; the birds, in the midst of their blithesome forenoon enjoyments, stopped suddenly, and, singing their evening songs, disappeared and became silent; the fowls retired to their roosts, the cocks were crowing in their accustomed manner at the break of day; objects could not be distinguished at a comparatively slight distance; and everything bore the aspect and gloom of night,—to say nothing of the effect upon the minds of the people, which, indeed, was quite indescribable.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.21

    The above general facts concerning this strange phenomenon were ascertained, after much painstaking inquiry, soon after its occurrence, by Roger Williams, of Harvard College, who also collected together some of the more particular observations made in different parts of the country, relative to the remarkable event.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.22

    At 8 in the evening the darkness was so impenetrably thick as to render traveling positively impracticable; and, altho the moon rose nearly ... about 9 o’clock, yet it did not give light enough to enable a person to distinguish between the heavens and the earth.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.23

    That this darkness was not caused by an eclipse is manifest by the various positions of the planetary bodies at that time; for the moon was more than one hundred and fifty degrees from the sun all that day, and according to accurate calculations made by the most celebrated astronomers, there could not, in the order of nature, be any transit of the planet Venus or Mercury upon the disc of the sun that year; nor could it be a blazing star—much as is a mountain—that darkened the atmosphere; for that would still leave unexplained the deep darkness of the following night. Nor would such excessive nocturnal darkness follow an eclipse of the sun; and as to the moon, she was at that time more than forty hours’ motion past her opposition.—“Our First Century,” pp. 89, 90, 93, 95, Great and Memorable Events.SITI October 24, 1900, page 4.24

    A. T. JONES.

    (To be continued.)

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