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    THE LORD SAYS

    Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near. Let them come up. Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about; thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Joel 3:9-12.OFH1 17.3

    To this agree the words of Paul: “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3. How strikingly is this saying of peace and safety fulfilled in the preaching of the temporal millennium, the conversion of the world, and the prophecy of peace among the nations; while Scripture and facts combine to show that the world is sinking lower and lower, the wicked are waxing worse and worse, and the nations are making far greater preparations for war than at any former period.OFH1 17.4

    7. All shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest. Hebrews 8:11.OFH1 18.1

    This is in the promise of the new covenant, and relates, first, to the condition of each individual with whom the new covenant is made; and, secondly, to the fullness of the blessings of the gospel when all are brought into harmony with God in the everlasting state. Both ideas are embraced in the promise. But that every individual will be converted, or that all of any generation this side of the immortal state, will be converted and come to the knowledge of God, the Scriptures do not teach.OFH1 18.2

    This promise is made concerning those with whom the Lord makes the new covenant. Now, although everything has been done that can possibly be done to ratify the covenant, or make it of force, yet we cannot say that it is actually made with any individual until that individual is brought into covenant relation with God. But when men are so brought into covenant relation with him, according to the promise, the law of God is written on their hearts. Then they know God. John says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3. This, of course, cannot apply to the unconverted. None who remain impenitent are embraced in the promise.OFH1 18.3

    8. The glory of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” Numbers 14:21. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14. “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5.OFH1 18.4

    This glorious state, however, is not brought about by the conversion of all men. It is introduced by the destruction of sinful men, the restitution of the earth to its condition as it came from the hand of the Creator, and the gift of immortality to the meek of all ages. “For evil-doers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be; yea thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:9-11.OFH1 19.1

    9. “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” See Isaiah 65:17-25; also Chap. 11:6-9.OFH1 19.2

    This prophecy is said to be a figurative description of the condition of things during the temporal millennium. We, however, regard it as a prophetic description of the state of things after the restitution of the earth and man to their primeval glory. Before the fall, man was upright, and the earth and all that God had created upon it, as viewed by the Creator, were seen to be “very good.” Genesis 1:31.OFH1 19.3

    The Scriptures to not teach the annihilation of all things by the fires of the great day, and the creation of all new things for the future state. But they do distinctly teach the restitution of all things. Thus saith the great Restorer: “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5. Isaiah and the Revelator both speak of the new heavens and the new earth. The prophet Isaiah is either giving a figurative description of a very happy condition of things in the mortal state, or he is portraying the literal glories of the restitution after the second advent and the resurrection of the just. To the figurative view we find serious objections:-OFH1 20.1

    (1) Our temporal millennium friends, in order that all parts of their figurative theory may harmonize, must have in their figurative new heavens and earth figurative houses, figurative vineyards, and they must figuratively eat the figurative fruit thereof, and be obliged to suffer from figurative wolves, and figurative lions, figuratively feeding with figurative lambs and figurative bullocks, to say nothing of the presence of figurative serpents. But it is said that the gospel is to convert all these wolves and lions and serpents. Then we reply, that if they are converted, they are no longer wolves and lions and serpents, and during the entire period of the millennium there will be nothing but lambs and doves. Therefore, the prophecy has no reference to the temporal millennium. It must apply to some other period.OFH1 20.2

    (2) The apostle has so clearly identified the three worlds, namely, the one before the flood, the one that now is, and the new earth which is to come, as to entirely preclude the figurative view. He says: “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water; whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” “Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:5-7, 13.OFH1 21.1

    No fact can be more plainly stated than that the world that perished by the flood is the same as that which now is, and is reserved unto fire. This is to be changed by fire, and then will appear the new heavens and the new earth, according to the promise of God. And it is a remarkable fact that the promise of God referred to by the apostle is found only in the sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. Thus, the apostle links the three worlds together. Are the first two worlds literal? so is the third. Is the new earth, mentioned by Isaiah, figurative? So are all three worlds figurative. If they are all literal, then we see a harmony in Scripture respecting them. But if they be regarded as figurative, then we are left to the following conclusion:OFH1 21.2

    In the days of figurative Noah, the figurative heavens and earth being overflowed by figurative water, perished figuratively. But the figurative heavens and earth which are now, are reserved unto figurative fire, against the figurative day of figurative judgment and figurative perdition of ungodly figurative men. Nevertheless, we, according to his figurative promise, look figuratively for figurative new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth figurative righteousness.OFH1 21.3

    True, the sacred writers use figures and parables. But we feel bound by sacred obligations to believe that God in his word means just what he says, unless the connections show good reasons why a figure or parable is introduced. If God does not mean what he says in his word, who will tell us what he does mean? In case that God does not mean what he says, the Bible ceases to be a revelation, and God should give us another book to teach what this one means. But the Bible is the very book in which he has plainly spoken, and revealed his truth to us.OFH1 22.1

    With this view of the sacred Scriptures we see spread out before us the living realities of the new earth, in all their grandeur and glory, as when Adam was lord of Eden. Before the transgression, all was purity and peace, even among the beasts which God had created. And who can say that these, with natures such as the Creator first gave them, will not be in place in the earth restored from the fall, as well as in the earth before the fall?OFH1 22.2

    But when the figurative interpretation of the Scriptures is adopted, the new heavens and the new earth of Isaiah and the Revelation may be made to mean almost anything fancy may suggest. Such liberties taken with the word of God, have led the skeptic to say that the Bible is like a fiddle, on which any tune can be played at pleasure.OFH1 22.3

    Having examined the principal texts quoted to prove the conversion of the world, and a period of universal peace and holiness in this mortal state, and seen that they do not mean what they are said to mean, we will now call attention to some of the many direct proofs that no such state of things can exist prior to the second advent.OFH1 23.1

    1. The prevalence of the little horn. “I behold, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Daniel 7:21, 22. “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever.” Verse 18. Here it will be seen that the little horn makes war with the saints until they take the kingdom; and when they once obtain the kingdom, they hold it forever, even forever and ever. Where, then, is there room for that period of peace and triumph of the church called the temporal millennium?OFH1 23.2

    2. The apostasy. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not that when I was yet with you I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8.OFH1 23.3

    The apostle is here speaking of the day of the coming of the Lord. He is guarding the church against deception in being led to expect the coming of Christ too soon. He states what must come before the appearing of the Lord. Is it the temporal millennium? the triumphs of the world’s conversion? No; it is the sad apostasy, the falling away, and the manifestation of the Man of Sin, who will continue his blasphemy until the coming of the Son of Man, when he will be destroyed. Where, then, is room for one thousand years before the coming of the Lord, during which time all men will love and serve God?OFH1 24.1

    3. The wicked continue with the righteous, as illustrated by the parable of the wheat and tares, until the end of the Christian age.OFH1 24.2

    “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him. Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24-30.OFH1 24.3

    The friends of the modern doctrine of the world’s conversion find this parable directly in their way, and they have wearied themselves in laboring to explain it away. But as our divine Lord, by special request, gave an explanation of it, modesty suggests that we accept his explanation, and there let the matter rest:OFH1 25.1

    “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house; and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Verses 36-43.OFH1 25.2

    We simply repeat, “The field is the world.” “The good seed are the children of the kingdom.” “The tares are the children of the wicked one.” Let both grow together until the harvest.” “The harvest is the end of the world.”OFH1 25.3

    4. Persecution and tribulation were to be the portion of the church of God in all ages. The apostle speaks of the faithful who had lived and suffered before, who “had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins, and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy;) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And those all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:36-40. He also points to the future, and says: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12.OFH1 26.1

    5. The last days of human probation have been regarded as the favored period for the completion of the great work of converting the world. But the prophets of the Old Testament nowhere represent God as saying that the last days would be glorious. Jesus and the apostles of the New Testament never speak of the last days as a period of triumph to the church; but, rather, as the days of her peril, which demand especial watching; the days of her mourning and tears and importunate prayers for deliverance. Paul describes the last days thus: “This know, also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. From such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.OFH1 26.2

    6. The last days embrace the very last day, reaching down to the coming of the Son of Man. The days of the coming of the Son of Man, were to be like the days of Noah and of Lot. “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also 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 17:26-31.OFH1 27.1

    Then the wickedness of the wicked was such that God could bear with them no longer. And when their measure of iniquity was full, he visited them in wrath. There is a wonderful similarity between the days of Noah and Lot, and ours. The men were given up to the love of the things of this life, as they are at the present time. Then they were abandoned to lust and crime, fitly illustrating the terrible records of our times. As God manifested his wrath then in flood and in fire, so now the vials of his wrath, unmingled with mercy, only wait for the interposing arm of mercy to be removed, when they will be poured out upon the ungodly.OFH1 27.2

    7. Destruction, not conversion, awaits the world at the very time when many popular professors cherish the delusive hope of a good time coming. They see no danger, and brand as fanatical alarmists those who obey the prophetic injunction, “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.” Joel 2:1. But, says the apostle: “When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2. At the very time when the Lord, by the prophet Joel, is saying, “Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong, Chap. 3:9, 10, they are fulfilling the prophecy of Micah, which says, “And many nations shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, ... and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, nation shall not lift up a sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.” Chap. 4:2, 3.OFH1 28.1

    8. The way to destruction is broad, and many go in it; and the way to life is narrow, and but few find it. When one asked Jesus, “Are there few that be saved? he answered, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:23, 24. Again it is recorded, “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. The doctrine of the world’s conversion, and that of universal salvation, are both directly opposed to this passage. The one has the way to life narrow at first, but growing wider, until all walk in it; while the other has the way to life always wide enough for all the world. To be of real service to Universalism the text should read: Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to life, and all go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto destruction, and none can find it. But our Lord states a great fact in this passage, which existed when spoken, ever had existed, and which would exist until the close of probation; namely, that the way to destruction was broad and many would go in it; and that the way to life was narrow, and few would find it.OFH1 28.2

    But when the few of each successive generation, from righteous Abel to the close of probation, who have bent their lonely footsteps in the narrow path to Mount Zion, shall reach their everlasting rest, they will constitute that “great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” arrayed in Heaven’s purity and brightness. Not one of these had come out of that imaginary period of a converted world. No, not one. What an imposing scene! “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:13, 14.OFH1 29.1

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