Loading...
Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "undefined".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    Chapter Two. Nature and Extent of the Coming Judgments

    Closely connected with the great prophetic outlines or chains of prophecy, we find many explicit statements of the determination of the Lord concerning the people and nations of the earth. We have seen that their wickedness will increase and become very great before the end of the world, and that the Lord Jesus will come to take vengeance. Will he come without any warning being given? This is a very interesting and important question to consider.RDAC 23.1

    The Saviour foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and of her children, and declared it was because they knew not the time of her visitation. Luke 19:41-44. By this we judge that they might have known the time. God never visits a nation or an age in judgment without first giving a warning of impending danger. So it was with the Antediluvians, the Sodomites, the Egyptians, the Ninevites, and the Jews. And by these examples we learn that it is not necessary that all, or even many, become convinced by these warnings; for many will not be convinced; but it has always been sufficient when they who tremble at his word, who are willing to believe, have been so fully warned that they might have opportunity to escape. Such was the warning to Noah, to Lot, to the Hebrews, to the people of Nineveh, and to those of the Jews who believed the preaching of Christ. The others of these several ages, having had the same warning, “knew not” till their destruction came upon them. There was no necessity for the ignorance of those who were destroyed, in any of these cases, for they all had full and timely warning. But they refused to listen, and hardened their hearts against the evidence presented to them.RDAC 23.2

    Jerusalem might have averted the judgment that came upon her, for Jesus declared his willingness, yes, his desire, often, to have gathered her children, but they rejected his offer of mercy. Matthew 23:37. But there was one class that was especially guilty, and more than all others deserving of the wrath which fell upon that guilty nation; it was comprised of those who were instructed in the word of the Lord; to whom the Lord had instructed the responsibility of teaching the people his truth; but who took away “the key of knowledge;” who would neither enter in themselves, nor suffer others to enter in who were willing. Luke 11:52. Their guilt was that of the watchman at whose hand the Lord will require the blood of them that fall unwarned. Ezekiel 3:17-20. May the Lord spare in this our day, that we be not deceived by the cry of “peace and safety” when “sudden destruction” is coming.RDAC 24.1

    That another destruction, great and terrible, is foretold in God’s word, none can deny. And it becomes all who have any regard for his word, and for the salvation of themselves and of their fellowmen, to inquire (1.) against whom these judgments are pronounced, and (2.) at what time they are to be executed. If these judgments be proclaimed, and yet it be not known whether they will overtake few or many, or what is the necessary preparation to escape them; or whether they are far off or near, whether at the coming of Christ or one thousand years subsequent to his coming, the trumpet will then give an uncertain sound, and “who shall prepare himself to the battle?” These different ideas are being advocated, and if it be truth that the destruction will not take place till a long time after Christ’s second coming, or if there will be many who will escape that destruction, then they who proclaim the judgments of God as soon coming, on “all flesh,” or on all the unrighteous of the earth, are found “false witnesses of God.” But if this latter view be true, if the wrath of God is speedily to be poured out on all the inhabitants of the earth who are not “Christ’s at his coming,” then they who put far off the evil day, or promise a way of escape other than that presented through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, are taking away the key of knowledge, and at their hands will be required the blood of those who fall without warning.RDAC 24.2

    From all that is said in the Bible respecting the teachings of false prophets, we should learn to avoid crying, Peace, when the Lord says, There is no peace. Crying, Peace, when danger is impending, has been the characteristic of false prophets in all ages, and is to be a prominent part of the delusion of the last days. “For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3. And so the cry of peace and safety will be made in the last days; but instead of peace there will be war, and instead of safety there will be a snare. Therefore Zion’s watchmen are directed to “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.The people are summoned to hear this alarm as follows: “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people; let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations; and his fury upon all their armies; he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.” Isaiah 34:1, 2.RDAC 25.1

    This day is spoken of by all the prophets. Says one, “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men because they have sinned against the Lord; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” Zephaniah 1:14-18. Again, in the same book, it is said: “My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” Chap. 3:8.RDAC 26.1

    Another prophet says: “Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.” “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:6, 9. And again, the same prophet says, “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste.” “The land shall be utterly emptied and utterly spoiled; for the Lord hath spoken this word.” Chap. 24:1, 3.RDAC 26.2

    Jeremiah gives an account of this destruction more full and emphatic than those already quoted. “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me: Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the Lord had sent me; to wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; and all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, and all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, and all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, and all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, and all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. Therefore, thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thy hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Ye shall certainly drink. For lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished; for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts. Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh: he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” Jeremiah 25:15-33.RDAC 27.1

    It has been supposed that some nations will escape; but such a supposition is here contradicted; the language is clear and definite-the destruction will be universal and utter; and that it will include the heathen is plainly stated by the prophets. “Thus saith the Lord God; Howl ye, Woe worth the day! For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.” Ezekiel 30:2, 3. Another prophet says, “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen.” Obadiah 15. And another, “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 plow-shares 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.RDAC 29.1

    Now that there is to be, at some period of time, an utter destruction of all the inhabitants of the earth, no one who reads the prophecies can deny. Had we the privilege of framing the testimony to our own liking, it would be impossible to present it in language more clear and emphatic. I will now notice a few points in these passages which will serve the twofold purpose of showing the identity of these with certain events spoken of in the New Testament, and of locating the chronology of these judgments, or fixing the time of their execution.RDAC 29.2

    1. This warning is to be given-not because the day of the Lord is nearly expired, nor yet because it is come, but-because the day of the Lord is coming; it is near, and hasteth greatly. The people are to be warned of those events which are to transpire when that day is ushered in. And this shows that these judgments are identical with those spoken of in the Revelation, which will be inflicted in close connection with the coming of the Son of man. See the promise to the church of Philadelphia. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Revelation 3:10, 11.RDAC 29.3

    2. This alarm is sounded when a great battle, or universal war, is pending. It is said in the time of the sixth plague, “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” And that this coincides with the others in time, and is fulfilled at the second advent, is proved by the next verse, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth.” Revelation 16:13, 15.RDAC 30.1

    3. The kings and nations shall certainly drink of the wrath of God. Even if they refuse, their refusal is of no avail; it is too late. This threatening must be identical with that of the third angel’s message of Revelation 14:9-12, which refers to the plagues (under which the great battle will be fought), in which it is said they “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” By comparison, we learn that Ezekiel 9:5, 6, is parallel with these, where this order is given to them that have the slaughter weapons: “Let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity. Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women.” These all refer directly to the time when the Saviour ceases to plead with the Father in behalf of sinful men, and judgment without mercy is made manifest.RDAC 30.2

    4. The voice of God is heard from on high in the midst of these awful scenes. In the description quoted from Jeremiah 25, it is said, “The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation;” “he shall give a shout as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.” When Joel foretold the gathering of all nations, and all the heathen to the valley of Jehoshaphat, he said, “The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake.” Joel 3:15, 16. In the book of Revelation, we are informed that this takes place at the closing of the plagues. “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air, and there came a great voice out of the temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” Revelation 16:17. Jesus says, as quoted, when the sixth vial is poured out, under which the nations are gathered to battle, “Behold, I come quickly.” Therefore all must admit that the pouring out of the seventh and last plague, when the voice of God is heard, is in immediate connection with the coming of Christ. And of this time, the Saviour said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.” Matthew 24:29, 30. But the prophet says it is the voice of God from on high that shakes “the powers of the heavens,” and with this agree the words of Paul, “For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:25, 26.RDAC 31.1

    Again, the prophet says, “They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:19. See verses 10-12, 17-21; also chap. 13:6-13. And with these agree the words of John, “And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains: and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand.” Revelation 6:14-17. And Paul shows that the wrath of the Lamb is manifested at his coming, for it is at that time that he takes vengeance. 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. And thus it is clearly proved that all these judgments come on the earth at the second advent, and not afterward.RDAC 32.1

    5. When these judgments come, God’s people will be delivered. It has been claimed that there are exceptions to these general declarations, which is true only if the righteous can be said to form an exceptional class. But I think the claim is not just; instead of the righteous being exceptions to these declarations, they are a separate class, to whom these declarations will not apply. And there are no exceptions of the wicked. There can be only two classes-the righteous and the wicked. The Scriptures do not teach that there is a class between those who are under the law, and those under grace. There is no recognized middle ground between condemnation and justification; and there is no justification except through faith in Christ. And if vengeance be taken “on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” of course they only will escape who know God and obey the gospel.RDAC 33.1

    When the Lord says “he will plead with all flesh,” it is to “give them that are wicked to the sword.” Jeremiah 25:31. He will “lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9. Again, when the earth is utterly emptied, “the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” Isaiah 24:6. Who these few men are, may be learned from verses 13, 14, “When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning-grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice; they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord.” The righteous will sing their triumph when the judgments of God are made manifest upon the nations. Revelation 15:1-3. These few men are not “left” upon the earth, else the earth would not be made waste and “utterly emptied,” but they are left from the burning.RDAC 33.2

    The prophet Joel says, “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.” Jeremiah, speaking of the same time and event, says, He shall “shout against all the inhabitants of the land.” But Joel adds, “But the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Daniel had a view of the same overthrow of the nations, and to him the angel said, “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” Daniel 12:1. This is when Michael stands up, or reigns. It is also when “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” It is therefore evident that this deliverance takes place at the coming of Christ, and not at any future time. Proof on this point might be greatly enlarged from the New Testament, but it cannot be necessary.RDAC 34.1

    We come now to a more direct examination of the outlines of prophecy in regard to the destiny of the nations of earth at the coming of Christ.RDAC 34.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents