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    July 17, 1884

    “The Sabbath-School” The Signs of the Times, 10, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner


    1. On what occasion did Christ deliver the discourse recorded in the fourteenth chapter of John?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.1

    2. What had Jesus said that caused the disciples sorrow? John 13:33.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.2

    3. Where was he going? John 13:1.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.3

    4. Was he going to the Father immediately?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.4

    5. With what words did he comfort his troubled disciples? John 14:1-3.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.5

    6. What idea is conveyed by the use of the word “again”?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.6

    7. What testimony does an inspired apostle bear on this point? Hebrews 9:27, 28.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.7

    8. For what purpose does Christ appeared unto them that look for him?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.8

    9. In what different ways will his coming affect the righteous and the wicked? Isaiah 66:5.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.9

    10. What did Christ’s sake he would do for his disciples at his second coming? John 14:3.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.10

    11. Then since he comes only the “second time,” what must we conclude?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.11

    12. When, after Christ’s resurrection, Peter asked what John’s work would be, what did Jesus reply? John 21:20-22.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.12

    13. What saying immediately went abroad? Verse 23.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.13

    14. Why did they think he would not die?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.14

    15. Does the inspired writer made a distinction between death and the coming of Christ? John 21:23.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.15

    16. Can you find in Christ’s promise to his disciples, proof that his coming does not mean the conversion of sinners?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.16

    17. Will Christ come to earth in person? 1 Thessalonians 4:16.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.17

    18. To what will the manner of his coming be similar? Acts 1:10, 11.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.18

    19. How was he seemed to go into heaven? Acts 1:9.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.19

    20. Is the one who is coming the same one who was crucified and buried here on earth? Ephesians 4:8-10.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.20

    21. As Christ’s went up, what received him? Acts 1:9.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.21

    22. With what will he come? Revelation 1:7.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.22

    23. How many will see him when he returns?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.23

    24. Is it probable that before Christ comes any one will teach that he has actually come in a secret manner? Matthew 24:26.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.24

    25. Should we believe such teaching?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.25

    26. How can we prove it to be false? Matthew 26:27.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.26

    27. Who will attend the Saviour when he returns? Matthew 25:31.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.27

    28. What part will the angels have to act? Matthew 24:31.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.28


    1. What doctrine occupies a prominent place in the preaching of the apostle? 2 Peter 1:16.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.29

    2. When had they been eye-witnesses of the glory of Christ’s second coming? Verses 17, 18.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.30

    3. To what occasion does Peter refer? Matthew 17:1-5.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.31

    4. Did they have any strong evidence to present than that of their own senses? 2 Peter 1:19.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.32

    5. How early was Christ’s second coming a subject of prophecy? Jude 14.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.33

    6. How long after the creation did Enoch live?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.34

    7. How long before the birth of Christ?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.35

    8. Who are the “saints” referred to in Enoch’s prophecy? Jude 14 (Revised Version); Matthew 25:31.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.36

    9. What other patriarch of ancient times prophesied of the Lord second coming? Job 19:25-27.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.37

    10. What testimony did David bear on this subject? Psalm 50:3-5; 96:11-13.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.38

    11. For what purpose did he say the Lord would come? Psalm 50:5.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.39

    12. With what words of Christ is this agreed? John 14:3.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.40

    13. What did the apostle John say at the thought of Christ in coming? Revelation 22:20.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.41

    14. Why did he say this?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.42

    15. In the day of the Lord’s coming what will be said? Isaiah 25:9.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.43

    16. Why will the Lord saved these persons?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.44

    18. Who are the ones that will be rewarded when the Lord comes? 2 Timothy 4:8.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.45

    19. If we do not love to hear of or think about the Lord’s coming, of what may we be assured?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.46

    20. Would we not naturally expect some revelation to be made concerning the time of so important and event? Amos 3:7.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.47

    21. What does Paul say to the brethren? 1 Thessalonians 5:1.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.48

    22. Of what “times and seasons” is he speaking? 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.49

    23. If there was no need for Paul to write concerning the time, what must we conclude?SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.50

    24. Why are the brethren not ignorant of the time? 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.51

    25. What makes them children of the light? Psalm 119:105.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.52

    26. Upon whom will the day of the Lord, as a thief? 1 Thessalonians 4:2, 3; Luke 21:35.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.53

    27. What will cause men to be blind to the near coming of Christ? Luke 21:34, 35.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.54

    28. Can the people of God be called “dwellers” upon this earth? Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.55

    29. Where is there home? Hebrews 11:16; Philippians 3:20 (Revised Version).SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.56

    The words of Christ in John 14:1-3 are very significant when we consider them carefully, in the light of his previous words. The last Passover supper, Jesus had told his disciples once more that he was about to leave them. He had previously told the unbelieving Jews that they would die in their sins, and that whither he went they could not come (John 8:21). And now to his loved disciples he said: “As I said to the Jews, whither I go ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” John 13:30. Peter, ever zealous, declared himself ready to die for his Master, but even that would not give him the desired privilege of being with the one whom he loved. In this time of sadness and gloom the Saviour spoke the comforting words found in John 14:1-3 and onward. He assured them that the separation would not be final, but that he would return to take them to the mansions prepared for them.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.57

    What the Saviour promised must be considered in the light of what the disciples wanted. They desired his personal presence with them. Now if Jesus promised them something else, his words could contain no comfort for them. We would therefore expect him to promise a literal return for them. And this is just what he did. “I will come again.” This can mean nothing but that he would once more be as really present with them as he was then.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.58

    How can we know that Christ is not already come? and if he has not come, how can we tell when that event takes place? These questions have been answered in advance. When he comes it is to execute judgment upon all that are ungodly (Jude 15); his people will be taken to be with him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17); but they are yet separated from him. Many will teach that Christ is come, but we need not be deceived. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:27. He will come in the same manner in which he ascended to heaven (Acts 1:11), a real, personal being, “the same Jesus,” and “every I shall see him.” Revelation 1:7. There will then be no need for one to tell another that the Lord is come, for none can be ignorant of the fact.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.59

    Why do we have some much to say about the coming of the Lord? Simply because we find so much about it in the Bible. There is no other subject which occupies so much space. Peter says (2 Peter 1:16) that the apostles had made known the power and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that they had evidence of that which they declared. Besides their personal testimony, we have, as he says, the “more sure word of prophecy,” which speaks with no uncertain sound on the subject of Christ’s coming. Indeed that is the principal object for which they were given. They all point to the one event. Peter, after speaking in the third chapter of his second epistle with great positiveness concerning the coming of the Lord, says that Paul in his epistles speaks of these things (verses 15, 16); this statement we can easily verified by an examination of the writings of Paul. In them the coming of the Lord is spoken of familiarly as a thing well understood.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.60

    And why should it not be so? What more natural than that the event which is to be the consummation of all things should be often spoken of? Christ had comforted the hearts of his sorrowing disciples with the promise that he would come to receive them to himself. Now if they had never said anything about that promise, we would say that their love for their Lord, and their desire to be with him was not very ardent. We would measure their love for their Master by the earnestness of their longing for his return. They did love the Saviour with intense devotion, and consequently his return was their constant theme. Does any one say that they were too sanguine, or that they were mistaken? Such a statement is nothing less than charging the Lord himself with deception, for they said nothing but what he had taught them. If they were mistaken in this, we have no warrant that they were not mistaken in everything, and in that case what becomes of our Bible? No, they were not deceived, and we can depend upon what the Holy Spirit has preserved for our instruction.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.61

    Only those who love his appearing will receive the crown when the Lord comes. 2 Timothy 4:8. It is only to those who look for him that he appears unto salvation. The mere fact that we talk about the coming of the Lord does not prove that we love his appearing but it is certain that we do not love his appearing if we do not love to think and talk about it. If we love the Lord we shall certainly love his appearing. How may we know that we really love him, and are preparing for his coming? He says, “If ye love me keep my commandments.” If we are walking in his footsteps, obeying his voice, we show our love for him. E. J. W.SITI July 17, 1884, page 422.62

    “A New Creature in Christ” The Signs of the Times, 10, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We have shown from the Scriptures that the whole duty of man is to keep the commandments, and that only by so doing can we gain eternal life. We have also found that the law, being perfect and holy, condemns the whole world, and that we can be freed from this condemnation only by faith in Christ. The law condemns; Christ has opened the way for pardon. When the sinner has acknowledged his guilt, and has accepted Christ as his Saviour, he can say, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. We now inquire, What is his relation to the law from this time on? and, Does this condition of things make any less true the statement that to fear God and keep his commandments is the whole duty of man?SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.1

    In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul describes a man in this justified state: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” We have heard this text quoted to prove that a man in Christ has no more use for the law, that such old things as that are done away. The absurdity of such a claim is manifest on its very face; for if that supposition were true, it would amount to saying that the law is abolished only for Christians, but that it is in full force until a man becomes a Christian; and since Christians and sinners live side by side in this world, we would have the anomaly of the law being both abolished and in full force at the same time!SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.2

    But the eighteenth verse tells what the new things are: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.” If a man in Christ does all things that are of God, he certainly will not violate God’s law. The statement of what Christ did for us, proves this: “Who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” Verse 19. The act of reconciliation implies that certain parties have been estranged from each other-have been enemies. So Paul, in Romans 5:8-10, shows that while we were sinners-transgressing the law-we were the enemies of God, and that we are reconciled by the death of his Son. The prophet Isaiah (ch. 30:9) shows very clearly in what rebellion against God consists, where he says that “this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord.” And Paul also states that the carnal mind is enmity against God, simply because “it is not subject to the law of God.” Romans 8:7.SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.3

    Since, then, our enmity to God while we were sinners consisted simply in disobedience to his law, it must necessarily follow that when we are reconciled we will keep the law. Indeed, the very act of reconciliation implies submission on our part to the requirements of God. Paul goes on to say (2 Corinthians 5:20) that having received the commission from God, “we [that is, the ministers of Christ] are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.4

    This means simply that the work of the gospel is to persuade men to keep the law of God. The thing is stated in plain words by the apostle Peter, when he says, “The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of God endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:24, 25.SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.5

    The point, however, is established beyond all controversy by the closing words of 2 Corinthians 5: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The turn which some give to the first part of this verse, viz., that Christ was made a sin-offering for us, robs the text of all its force. It is true that Christ was our sin-offering, but that is not what the apostle here states. God made Christ (the sinless one) to be sin for us. He was made in all things “like unto his brethren;” and that means not simply as to the outward, physical frame, but that he bore sin, just as we do. The sins that he bore were not his own, but ours. He “knew no sin,” yet “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. Although the sins that he bore were ours, they were counted as his own, and so caused his death. “He was wounded for our transgression, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.6

    And why was this done? Why was the spotless Lamb of God made to be sin for us? Paul answers: “That we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” What is the righteousness of God? We have already shown from Isaiah 51:6, 7 that it is nothing else but the law of God. Then Paul’s words mean that Christ was made to be sin for us in order that, in him, we might be conformed to the law of God. This, then, is what it is to be a new creature in Christ; it is to put away the old life of sin, and to become reconciled to God by keeping his law.SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.7

    In the second chapter of Ephesians Paul briefly states the change from being dead in trespasses and sins to being quickened, and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This is done because God is rich in mercy. We read: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Verses 8, 9. The term “saved” is sometimes used in an accommodated sense. We are really saved only when we are given the victory over death, and are made immortal in the kingdom of God. This salvation is brought to us “at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13. But since this everlasting salvation is given only to those who overcome their sins (Revelation 3:21), we are said to be saved when we are freed from our past sins through the pardoning mercy of God. If we continue in this condition, we will receive our full salvation. In this place the word may be taken in both senses. “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Simply a repetition of Romans 3:28. God was not under obligation to save us, and we could not atone for past sins, and thus earn salvation. Our salvation is wholly due to the infinite mercy of God through the merits of Christ and consequently we have nothing whereof to boast. Shall we conclude from this, then, that Christ does everything for us, that is, in our stead, and that we have no call to work for ourselves? Paul does not so teach. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:20. By being “created in Christ Jesus,” we are made new creatures in Christ; and for what? That we might be able to perform good works, for that is what God from the beginning designed that we should do, and this is our whole duty.SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.8

    And now we are able to understand fully Christ’s reply to the young ruler who asked the way of life. Matthew 19:18-21. While he said, “if thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments,” you will notice that he did not leave him with that. Christ well knew that the man, in spite of his self-righteousness was a sinner. By a simple test he showed that the young man was not only covetous, but that he did not love his neighbor as well as he did himself, and that he did not love God with all his heart. He was selfish, and loved himself and his property more than he did God and his neighbors; and so he was a violator of all the commandments, for he broke the two great precepts upon which they hang. (Matthew 22:36-40.) Christ well knew that the young man could not justify himself, nor even keep the commandments as they should be kept, in his own strength, and so he added the words, “Come, and follow me.” What for? That in Christ he might be a new creature; that, whereas by himself he had utterly failed of fulfilling the righteousness of God, in Chist, he might attain to that; in short, that he might be enabled to keep the commandments.SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.9

    And so it still remains a fact that to fear God and keep his commandments is the whole duty of man and Christ has simply come to our aid, to help us to do our duty. While he assumes the responsibility of the sins which the believer has committed in the past and thus sets him once more in the right way, justified before God, he tells him that “without me you can do nothing.” We are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” but it is only while we abide in him that we can bear any fruit. Without Christ our efforts to obey God are vain struggles; with the strength which he gives we can do all things, and at last stand “complete in him.” And this opens the way for us to understand how it is that Christ is the end of the law, which will next be considered. E. J. W.SITI July 17, 1884, page 424.10

    “Manner of Christ’s Coming” The Signs of the Times, 10, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Last week we gave two texts (John 14:1-3; Hebrews 9:27, 28) which contain a direct promise of Christ’s second coming. If the subject were mentioned nowhere else in the Bible, these two texts would be sufficient. They are unequivocal statements of a fact, and the promises of God are not yea and nay. From those texts we concluded that the second coming of Christ must be as real and literal as his first. We shall now produce positive testimony to that effect. We would first, however, remind the reader that every text that speaks of the manner or object of Christ’s coming, is additional proof of the fact that he will come again.SITI July 17, 1884, page 425.1

    In his first letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul warns the brethren against indulging in hopeless sorrow for their dead friends, as though they were lost. He assures them, “by the word of the Lord,” that those who live until the Lord comes will have no precedence over those who fall asleep in Jesus. We will not be with Christ any sooner than they are. And then he proceeds to tell how this can be. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.SITI July 17, 1884, page 425.2

    We shall have occasion to use this text again, and we pass it for the present. Turning to the first chapter of Acts, we read the account of Christ’s ascension. In his gospel, Luke had previously written, “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.” Luke 24:50, 51. In Luke’s second narrative we have this account: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11.SITI July 17, 1884, page 425.3

    There is no mistaking these words. Christ was there in person. In bodily form, while in the act of blessing his disciples, he ascended to heaven. And the angels declared that “the same Jesus”-“the Lord himself,” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-should come in exactly the same manner as had left the earth. Now, as showing the perfect harmony of the Bible narrative, we quote right here the words of John: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Revelation 1:7. The one who claims that the coming of Christ is death, or conversion, or anything else than a literal return to earth, squarely contradicts these plain texts.SITI July 17, 1884, page 425.4

    Our Saviour foresaw that before his return many would be engaged in this very work. In order to draw the attention of man away from the real advent of Christ, as described in the Bible, Satan and his angels will transform themselves, not merely into angels of light, but into the appearance of Christ himself, and will “show great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24. They will claim that Christ is already come, and will work miracles to support the claim. How, then, can we be sure that they are not the Christ; here is the sure guide: “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:26, 27. The reason why it will be impossible to deceive the elect, is because they will remember and implicitly believe the plain declarations of the Bible.SITI July 17, 1884, page 425.5

    These texts prove not only that the coming of the Lord is a literal event, but that it is yet future. Do you still say that it took place on the day of Pentecost? We answer that Paul’s words in Hebrews 9:28 were written many years after that time. None of the apostles had written a line at that time, and, since the resurrection of Christ, had engaged in no public work whatever. Is it claimed that the destruction of Jerusalem answers to the coming of the Lord, we remind you that the book of Revelation was written more than a score of years after Jerusalem was conquered by Titus; and in that book, besides the description already quoted (Revelation 1:7), almost the closing words are these: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.” Verse 20. These forbid the application of the promise to any event before the close of the first century.SITI July 17, 1884, page 425.6

    Again, no event has ever yet occurred comparable to the coming of the Lord as described in the Bible. Peter, in answer to those who, professing to be able to see no signs of such an event, derisively asked, “Where is the promise of his coming?” says: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10.SITI July 17, 1884, page 426.1

    The psalmist says: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Psalm 50:3-5.SITI July 17, 1884, page 426.2

    The heavens have not departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; not yet as the glorious appearing of the Son of man in those opening heavens dazzled every eye as does the vivid lightning flash. Not yet have “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 free man, 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.” Revelation 6:15, 16. The time is still future when the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God shall call the dead in Christ from their graves, and when the living righteous, with glad accord, shall unite in the exclamation: “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9.SITI July 17, 1884, page 426.3

    That they will not pass and leave saints and sinners alike unconscious of its arrival. The Lord comes, not as an intercessor, but as a king, “without sin.” There is thenceforward no more mercy for sinners-they receive according to their deeds; no more trials for saints-he appears to them unto salvation. This being so, it is manifestly fool-hardy in any one to say, “We shall know more about it when it comes than we do now.” Yes, we will; but those who put off their knowledge of it until it comes, will learn to their sorrow. While the signs that show that coming near are fulfilling all around us, let us search the Scriptures that we may be children of the light, and, having our lamps trimmed and burning, be able to hail our Lord with joy when he returns. E. J. W.SITI July 17, 1884, page 426.4

    “Some Modern Criticism” The Signs of the Times, 10, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The apostle Paul wrote that “whatsoever things were written aforetime [referring to the Old Testament Scriptures] were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4. It would seem that the modern expositor reads it, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our criticism.” And in his case the word “criticism” means to pull to pieces, and not simply to wait and judge. In the great struggle to make the Bible harmonize with “science,” the subject of miracles has of course been much discussed. Now it happens that “science” has no place in its domain for miracles, and it has therefore occurred as a necessary consequence of the intense desire that the Bible shall not be regarded as being behind the age, that its avowed friends have quite generally set themselves to work to explain all supposed miracles in accordance with “known natural laws.” The latest effort disposes of the miracle of the sun’s standing still at the command of Joshua in the following manner:-SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.1

    “A writer in the Church Quarterly Review maintains that what the Israelitish leader prayed for was not that the sun and moon might ‘stand still,’ but that they might ‘be silent,’ that is to say, ‘ceased to shine’-dom shemesh, as the Hebrew text has it. A storm of hail-stones was the principal cause of the defeat of the allied kings. Joshua, finding that the storm and darkness by which it was accomplished did more toward the overthrow of the enemy than his own troops, naturally prayed that the darkness might continue until the utter ruin of the foe was accomplished. The formidable astronomical objections to the miracle are thus removed by a simple philological discovery, which the reader may accept or not, at his pleasure.”SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.2

    We are glad that the Christian at Work, from which we clip the above, gives us the privilege of accepting it or not, as we choose. We choose to give such nonsense a wide berth. We are greatly surprised that that journal, and others which lay claim to great Biblical knowledge, should quote with approval a theory which is so directly contradictory to the plain Scripture narrative. It is simply a proof that there is a wide-spread desire to strip the Bible of everything which stands in the way of its acceptance by a self-sufficient, unbelieving world,-in other words to make the way of life so broad that all will find themselves in it without making any effort.SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.3

    How does this explanation agree with the Bible? Let us see. Our critic says that the sun was simply darkening during the day; the Bible says, “So the sons stood still in the midst of heaven and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” We have seen many stormy days when the sun did not shine, but the sun always set at the appointed time. In this instance the sun did not go down, according to Joshua’s command; but if darkness for were what he wished, he would with more propriety have prayed that the sun might hasten its going down, instead of that its course should be stayed.SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.4

    Again, the sacred historian declares: “And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man.” Joshua 10:14. If the answer to Joshua’s prayer consisted simply in the Lord sending a storm and darkness, we cannot understand this statement, for there have been many stormy days since then; but we can well believe that never since that time has there been so extraordinary an occurrence as the sun’s standing still for a whole day. It will be clearly seen that if a critic had read the entire narrative carefully, his criticism could not have been made.SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.5

    “But,” says one, “how do you explain that miracle?” We don’t explain it; it is entirely beyond our capacity, and that is why we call it a miracle. There are some wonderful things that we can account for, but we do not call them miracles. We believe in a God, and therefore we believe in miracles-things entirely beyond the comprehension of human minds. The desire to find an explanation for all recorded miracles and the Bible, arises from a growing unbelief that such things really occur; and to deny the occurrence of miracles is really the same as denying the existence of God.SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.6

    Perhaps this last statement may not be self-evident to all; we think it can easily be made to appear. God is greater than man; if he were not, he would be simply a man, and therefore not an object of worship. But he is infinite. “Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty and the perfection?” Job 11:7. This question can be answered only in the negative. God is incomprehensible. Then of course his acts must be above the comprehension of man. Paul had thought much on heavenly things, and had been admitted into close communion with the Lord, and he exclaimed, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his waist past finding out.” Romans 11:33. This is only in keeping with what we should expect. Finite minds cannot grasp infinitely. Then of course there must be miracles. And when many things are recorded, all of which are beyond our comprehension, who shall say that some of these are possible and others impossible? Who will dare to limit the power of an infinite God?SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.7

    “But,” says another, do you believe that God violates laws of nature, in performing miracles? Again we reply, We do not know; it is impossible to tell. We are very certain that he has often done things that directly conflict with any laws known to man. But then there are many things that even scientific men do not know. So long as we cannot understand God, we cannot understand the laws of nature, for they are his laws. Things that seem impossible to us, may be in perfect harmony with laws of which we know nothing. When the Dutch ambassador told the king of Siam that in his country water sometimes assumed such a condition that man could walk upon it, the king said, “I often thought that you were untruthful, but now I know you lie. It is impossible for man to walk upon water.” Doubtless the king’s scientific men would have said the same thing, and proved it by science. It is contrary to the nature of a clock for the hands to move backward, and yet a man can move them backward. The child gazes with wonder upon the steam engine, and cannot comprehend how the engineer can start, stop, or back it at pleasure; but it would be foolishness in him to assert that those things cannot be done. Well, this universe is the great machine which God has made, and which he controls. Between the mind of man and that of the great Architect, there is no more comparison than there is between the ant beside the track, and the man who drives the engine. And so, instead of denying the existence of miracles, we are lost in wonder and admiration of the power that is as infinitely beyond us.SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.8

    And now a few words by way of application. Some will say, “We did not need this article, for we believed in the miracles of the Bible just as they are recorded.” We are glad of that. But would not such an article as the one from which we have quoted shake your faith? “No.” Why not? Because it directly contradicts the Bible. “But do you profess to know more about the Bible than a learned D. D., who has spent a life-time in its study, and who understands the Hebrew and Greek? You reply, “I can understand the English language, and I know when a man is contradicting the plain statement of the Bible.” Then you are willing to admit that “great men are not always wise,” and that even learned men may be led by their prejudices into grievous and palpable errors? “Certainly.” Well this is just what we wish to have you bear in mind. And now whenever you hear some wise men say that God did not bless and sanctify the seventh day, but only the Sabbath institution, and that he now requires men to observe the first day instead of the seventh, don’t be overawed into acquiescence by the immensity of his learning, but simply ask him for his authority. “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. E. J. W.SITI July 17, 1884, page 434.9

    “The Sabbath-School” The Signs of the Times, 10, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner


    1. What did Jesus say to this disciples as they were at one time pointing out the splendor of the temple? Matthew 24:1, 2.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.1

    2. What questions they ask him? Verse 3.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.2

    3. Did he rebuke them for making such an inquiry? Verse 4.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.3

    4. Why were they to be so careful? Verse 5.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.4

    5. Did the Lord and courage his disciples to expect his coming immediately? Verse 6.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.5

    6. What terrible things did he say must first come? Verse 7.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.6

    7. With those calamities indicate that the end was at hand? Verse 8.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.7

    8. What else did he say must be done before the end would come? Verse 14.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.8

    9. When did he say that those which were in Judea should flee to the mountains? Verses 15, 16, 10.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.9

    10. What is meant by the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place? Luke 21:20, 21.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.10

    11. When they sought Jerusalem surrounded with armies, what were they to know? Ib.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.11

    12. Then to what did Jesus have reference in Matthew 24:15?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.12

    13. What had Jesus, on a previous occasion, said should take place at the end of the world? Matthew 13:40-43.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.13

    14. At the destruction of Jerusalem to the angels cast all that did even iniquity into a furnace of fire?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.14

    15. Rather righteous made to shine as the sun in the kingdom of God?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.15

    16. Then can it be that the destruction of Jerusalem was the “end” to which Christ and the apostles referred?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.16

    17. To what did he say his coming would be similar? Matthew 24:27.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.17

    18. Following the destruction of Jerusalem, what did he say there would be? Verse 21.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.18

    19. How great would the tribulation be?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.19

    20. What would be the result, if those days were not shortened? Verse 22.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.20

    21. For whose sake were they to be shortened? Ib.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.21

    22. If some of the elect would be saved in consequence of the shortening of those days of trouble, who were they that were to suffer that great tribulation?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.22

    23. Who were meant by “the elect”? Acts 10:35.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.23

    24. What were the people of God commanded to do when they saw that the destruction of Jerusalem was near? Luke 21:20, 21.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.24

    25. If all the Christians left Jerusalem before it was destroyed, could any of them have suffered in the siege?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.25

    26. Then can the tribulation of Matthew 24:21, 22 be limited to that at the destruction of Jerusalem?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.26

    27. Was a time of trouble for the saints of God foretold in prophecy? Daniel 7:25.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.27

    In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew two subjects are considered-the destruction of Jerusalem, and the coming of the Lord. Concerning these two events only one point is considered, namely, time. There was no question as to whether those things would occur, for Christ had already assured them of that fact; but the question is, “When shall these things be?” It is this question that our Saviour answers in the discourse that follows. Incidentally, it is true, he imparts additional information concerning those events; but the main point in the chapter is to settle the time of their occurrence.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.28

    Although the discourse relates to time, no attempt is made to fix the exact date of either event. Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem he says (we quote the parallel passage in Luke 21:20): “And when ye shall see Jerusalem contest with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” This is as definitely as that event is located. The disciples are informed as to the events that will show it to be imminent, so that they can escape before the ruin comes. So likewise concerning the coming of the Lord. After relating certain signs, to be considered in detail hereafter, he says: “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Matthew 24:33.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.29

    It is popularly supposed that if all men are not ultimately converted, the gospel will have proved to be a failure. This would indeed be the case if it were anywhere stated that the gospel was designed to accomplish the conversion of all men. The trouble is that men make the mistake of expecting more of the gospel than the Lord ever said it would do. He said (Matthew 24:14) that it should be preached in all the world for a witness. Now witness may testify against a man as well as for him. The work of a true witness is not to favor any one, but to tell the exact truth and let that justify or condemn according to circumstances. James said that God visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. Acts 15:14. God was perfectly willing and anxious that all should be converted, at the same time he knew that many would remain stubborn and rebellious. If all men are permitted to hear the gospel in its purity, then the gospel will have accomplished its work. It is a witness to all men; to some it will prove a savor of life unto life; to others, a savor of death unto death. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.30

    “This gospel of the kingdom.” In these words the gospel in its entirety is brought to view. The Lord was speaking about his coming, and when he said, “this gospel of the kingdom,” he evidently meant the gospel which proclaims his coming to set up his kingdom. And this is the gospel itself; for the gospel is the good news of salvation; it brings to view the plan by which condemned rebels may be saved from death, and converted into loyal subjects of the kingdom of heaven. But, as we have already seen, the final salvation of man depends upon the coming of Christ. None are saved until the Lord comes for them. To leave the coming of the Lord out of the preaching of the gospel would be to deprive it of all its force. So we say that the preaching of the gospel includes the announcement that the Lord is coming. The gospel is not complete without this. And therefore it is not enough that all nations have heard of Christ; they must also hear of his second coming in glory to save his people, and must have an opportunity to learn of the special preparation necessary to fit them for the event. When this shall have been done, then the end will come, as stated in Matthew 24:14.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.31

    Whatever idea may have been in the minds of the disciples when they asked the question recorded in Matthew 24:3, it is certain that Jesus made a wide distinction between his coming and the destruction of Jerusalem. Christ had previously said (Matthew 13:36-43), that in the end of the world he would send forth his angels to gather up the wicked and cast them into a furnace of fire, and that the righteous should then shine forth as the sun. This did not occur at the destruction of Jerusalem. Again, we have learned (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) that the Lord himself shall descend, and that the righteous dead shall be raised. This was not the case at the destruction of Jerusalem. More than all, in the Revelation, which was written more than twenty years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and in John’s Gospel, which was written still later, the coming of the Lord is spoken of as an event then in the future. And, finally, Christians are taught, both by Christ and by his apostles, to look for the coming of the Lord as the consummation of all their hopes; they are taught that they cannot be with him unless he comes again. Now if Christ’s coming is in the past, Christians at the present they have nothing to look forward to. But our faith is not in vain, for our King is yet to come with his reward.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.32

    “For there shall be tribulation.” When? Following the destruction of Jerusalem. To whom was the trouble to come? Upon the people. This is proved by verse 22: “For the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” The elect are the beloved of the Lord, those who serve him. But if the elect were saved from utter extermination only by the shortening of the trouble, then it follows that the trouble was upon the people of God. And this is proof that the destruction of Jerusalem is not referred to in the passage, for before that city was destroyed, the disciples, in accordance with the Lord’s instruction in Matthew 24:15, 16, had fled. When the final siege came, there were none of the disciples of Christ in the city. The tribulation referred to in verses 21, 22, must therefore refer to something besides the destruction of Jerusalem. “It is a fact that the early Christians did suffer very much from pagan persecution; but these cannot be all the tribulations referred to, for the promise that certain days should be shortened, indicates that the Saviour had in mind a definite period, during the greater part of which his followers should suffer grievous persecution. This fact is plainly stated in Mark’s account, where he says: “But in those days, after that tribulation.” Mark 13:24. The question then arises, To what period of persecution did Christ refer?SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.33

    In the book of Daniel we have two times of trouble brought to view. One is mentioned in chap. 12:1, but that trouble must be for the wicked, for God’s people are to be delivered from it. In Daniel 7:25, however, we read of a certain power that “he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws.” The term “wear out” is very forcible, indicating slow but sure extermination by torture. The time allotted to this work was “a time and times, and the dividing of time,” a definite period. This, then, must be the tribulation to which the Saviour referred as coming upon his people,-a tribulation that failed to entirely “wear out” or exterminate its victims only because it was cut short. E. J. W.SITI July 17, 1884, page 438.34

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