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    January 22, 1885

    “Punishment of the Wicked-Continued” The Signs of the Times, 11, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    THE SABBATH-SCHOOL.

    LESSON FOR THE PACIFIC COAST.—FEB. 21

    1. Give a scriptural explanation of Revelation 14:9-11; 20:10.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.1

    2. When the wicked have been simply tormented with fire and brimstone, have they received their reward? Romans 6:23.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.2

    3. Then what must that fire do in order that the wicked may receive their deserts? Malachi 4:1.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.3

    4. What is appointed unto all men? Hebrews 9:27.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.4

    5. Can this death, to which all men are appointed, be the death which is the wages of sin?SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.5

    6. What is promised to all men, regardless of their character? 1 Corinthians 15:22; Acts 24:15.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.6

    7. Are the wicked now suffering their punishment? 2 Peter 2:9.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.7

    8. When will ever man be rewarded according to his works? Matthew 2:9.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.8

    9. Then for what purpose will they come forth from their graves? Job 21:29, 30.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.9

    10. Give further proof that the death which is common to all men is not the wages of sin. Ezekiel 18:26.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.10

    11. What is it that causes the death which is the wages of sin? Revelation 20:9.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.11

    12. What is this death by fire called? Revelation 21:8.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.12

    13. How long is it after the resurrection of the righteous before the wicked are “brought forth” to destruction? Revelation 20:4, 5.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.13

    14. Who will escape the second death? Revelation 2:11; 20:6.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.14

    “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.15

    It is not the province of this lesson to explain the meaning of the beast, his image, or his mark. It is sufficient to say that to worship the first two, or receive the last, must be the most heinous crime that man can commit, since it brings down upon the offender the unmingled wine of the wrath of God. The point to be explained is the expression, “and the smoke of their torment ascendeth but forever and ever.” As this has been explained in past lessons, a brief mention here will be sufficient. If the student will read Exodus 21:2-6, he will find that the term “forever” does not necessarily denote that the thing to which it is applied shall never cause to exist; for under certain conditions a servant was to serve his master forever, which could not possibly mean “without end.” Now if that term does not necessarily mean “without end,” Revelation 14:9-11 affords no proof that the wicked will be tormented to all eternity. That doctrine, if true, must be approved by other texts. But we have already learned that the wicked are to be stubble in a fire that shall “burn them up,” and will leave them “neither root nor branch.” Then, as in Exodus 21:2-6 we understand that “forever” means as long as the servant might live, so we must understand that Revelation 14:9-11 teaches that the smoke from the torment of the wicked will ascend without any cessation, until there are no wicked left in existence.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.16

    This explanation will also suffice for Revelation 20:10: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” The preceding verse shows that the fire has already “devoured” the wicked; this shows that the devil, the author of sin, survives to see the destruction of all his works. That he himself will, after a long torment, cease to exist, we are well assured, because Christ did not die in vain, and he died that he might “destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14. Satan is the “root” from which all wickedness springs; the day that cometh shall leave neither root nor branch.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.17

    It is true that “indignation and wrath, tribulation, and the anguish” are threatened to “every soul of man that doeth evil” (Romans 2:8, 9), yet we are by no means to suppose that those things comprise the sum of the punishment which the wicked are to receive. “The wages of sin is death,” and then until death takes place, the sinners will not have received their punishment. They are to be “punished with everlasting destruction;” and this will not be until their torment has been ended by the eternal death.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.18

    Certainly no one can gather from the Scriptures that the death with which we are so familiar is the wages of sin. “It is appointed unto man wants to die;” all men, both good and bad, die because they have inherited a mortal nature, and not because they have sinned. To all men, whether good or bad, there is promised a resurrection (Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22) from the death which they die as a consequence of being the descendants of mortal Adam; now if this death were the penalty for sin, then the resurrection would be the revoking of the penalty; but this can never be, because, when once inflicted, it is to be everlasting. That none of the wicked are now receiving the penalty for their sins is evident from 2 Peter 2:9: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” Those who are dead are preserved in their graves, from which, at the voice of Christ, they shall come forth. John 5:28, 29. Job also says that “the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction,” and that ‘they shalt be brought forth to the day of wrath.” Job 21:30.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.19

    In Ezekiel 18:26 we have most conclusive evidence that the death which Adam died, and which all his posterity have likewise suffered, was not as a penalty for sin. It reads thus: “When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and commiteth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.” The prophet here mentions two deaths. If a man dies in his sins, i.e., if he does not repent before death overtakes him, then he shall die. But if he is dead, how can he die? Evidently he must have a resurrection, and this, as we of seen, is promised to all men, irrespective of character. Those that have done evil come forth from their graves to the resurrection of damnation. John 5:28, 29. And in harmony with this idea are the words of Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.20

    Revelation 20:6 shows when the wicked are “brought forth” to suffer the second death. The apostle in verse 4 mentions the righteous who have been martyred, who, he says, lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. They had been dead, but now lived. This, he says, is the “first resurrection.” It is the first because “the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” The word again implies another living, or a resurrection. So a thousand years intervene between the resurrection of the righteous and that of the wicked. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; upon such the second death hath no power.” This statement has no force unless those who do not have part in the first resurrection do suffer the second death. This is the death which is the wages of sin, and is brought about by fire. It is yet future, and will not take place until the harvest,-“the end of the world”-when the tares will be gathered out and bound in bundles to be burned. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. E. J. W.SITI January 22, 1885, page 54.21

    “Will Worship, and No Worship” The Signs of the Times, 11, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The last paragraph of the letter upon which we commented last week reads as follows:-SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.1

    “If infidels care nothing for Sunday, how can you make them respect Saturday? Why not change their hearts instead of their calendar?”SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.2

    We will notice the last question first. That such a question could be asked, is evidence of the almost entire absence of thought concerning the subject of the Sabbath. How the questioner could have obtained the idea that anybody wants to change the calendar, is beyond all comprehension. It is certain that we do not desire any such thing. We are satisfied with the calendar that we have. With Bishop Haven, we believe that our week corresponds to the Hebrew week,-the genuine week,-and that “the Jewish Sabbath,” as he termed Saturday, is the true seventh day, the one which God blessed and sanctified. All the change we desire, is a change in men’s hearts, a change which will be indicated by their changed practices. Keeping the calendar that they have, we want them to rest upon the day which God appointed, instead of on one of which he spoke nothing; to obey the word of the Lord, instead of their own inclinations. If we were in the habit of going to San Francisco every Wednesday, and should change our custom and afterward go on Tuesday, would we thereby change the calendar, or the reckoning of days? Of course not. Why cannot people of reason as intelligently in regard to moral duties as they do concerning ordinary, temporal affairs?SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.3

    The first question in the paragraph above quoted indicates another erroneous idea that has obtained considerable currency. It is imagined that if people lose their confidence in the Sunday institution they will pay no regard to any day; and from this point people jump to the conclusion that we do wrong in exposing the fraud by which Sunday is made to appear to be the Sabbath. We shall see how much truth there is in these conclusions.SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.4

    “If infidels care nothing for Sunday, how can you make them respect Saturday?” In turn, we would ask, If people do not lose their respect for Sunday as a sacred institution, how can they be made to respect the Sabbath of the Lord? Said the Saviour, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon;” “no can serve two masters.” So no man can regard the Sabbath as holy to the Lord, and at the same time give equal homage to Sunday. To answer more directly, we say that we would get them to respect the Sabbath, by inducing them to respect its Author. Let their hearts be changed, so that they will reverence God and his word, and the work is already done. If people really have reverence for God’s word (not merely such portions as suit their fancy, but the whole of it), they will reverence the fourth commandment; and if they respect the fourth commandment, they must necessarily keep the seventh day,-Saturday,-as is therein enjoined.SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.5

    As a matter of fact there are thousands who now respect God’s holy Sabbath, who have not the slightest regard for Sunday; and the number of such persons is being increased every day. We readily grant that the great majority of people cannot be induced to respect the Sabbath; but shall we for this reason cease to work for those who will accept the truth? Because we cannot rescue all the inmates of a burning building, shall we make no effort to save any?SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.6

    And now we would like to ask our friend a question. If a man is an infidel, what difference will it make whether he respect Sunday or not? Will the respect that he may have for Sunday atone for his unbelief? Perhaps there are not many who would answer this question in the affirmative, and yet it is the position that thousands of professed Christians really hold. There is a society called the “National Reform Association,” which puts a premium on just such religion as that. To have Sunday kept strictly is really the one great point for which they labor. Says its organ, concerning some officials twh travel on Sunday, “Not one of those men is fit to hold office in the nation.” It would introduce a new kind of civil service reform. And make one’s zeal for the Sunday, and his strictness in observing it, the test of his fitness for office. Now when that party gets strong enough to dictate to the nation, how long will it be before every politician, whether infidel or Jew, will be a strict Sunday-keeper? Not long; and by the National Reform Association this will be counted to them for righteousness. Yet these same people charge Adventists with having no religion but the Sabbath.SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.7

    A frequent charge against Seventh-day Adventists is that they destroyed people’s confidence in the Sunday Sabbath, and do not succeed in persuading them to keep Saturday. It is claimed that these people are left in a worse condition than they were before, and that therefore the work of Seventh-day Adventists is wholly bad. The charge is not true. As we before stated, the number of Sabbath-keepers is being daily increased; and these accessions, from the ranks of infidelity as well as from those who have always revered the Bible, and who have walked in all the light that they had. But not all that hear the truth obey. Now are these in a worse condition than before? Undoubtedly; a man cannot reject light with impunity. The preaching of Christ, while it won some, hardened others. He himself said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.” John 15:22. Will our friends charge Christ with doing a bad work because he left some people worse than they were before?SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.8

    And yet, in the particular case under consideration, we doubt if persons are made any worse by losing faith in the supposed sacredness of Sunday, even if they do not accept the true Sabbath. Is one error better than another? We know that it is a grievous sin for a man to refuse to regard any day as a holy, when the Lord has said, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy;” but is that man disobeying God any more than the one who not only deliberately refuses to obey the command of the Lord, but who shows his contempt for that command by doing something exactly the opposite? We would not wish to occupy the position of either one. Here is a father who has two sons. One of them hears his father’s wishes and commands, and then invariably goes contrary to them, and the other refuses to do anything; would you say that the first is better than the second? Would you not rather say that both are bad and deserving of punishment?SITI January 22, 1885, page 56.9

    Take the first commandment. Our friends can use their reason in regard to this commandment, because their own interests are not directly affected by it. But there are millions who now practice the grossest form of idolatry. Now it is a fact that thousands who hear the teaching of the missionaries, never accept it. Take the Japanese, for instance. As a nation they are idolaters. Much missionary work has been done among them, and now Christianity is tolerated in Japan. There are many Japanese Christians, many native Japanese who are preaching the gospel to their fellow-men. But we now find that of the educated Japanese the great majority are infidels. This is a noted fact. They look on the worship of God and the worship of idols with equal disdain. Why is this? They have been led to see something of the foolishness of worshiping gods of wood or bronze, and have gone to the other extreme, believing in nothing. Shall we call back the missionaries from Japan? Shall we conclude that they are doing a bad work? Will our opposers say that it would be better to let all the Japanese remain heathen than to convert a few at the expense of making the rest infidels? Is it better to worship a log of wood than to worship nothing? To all these questions we think we hear an emphatic, No. Better that a few be saved than that all perish.SITI January 22, 1885, page 57.1

    We would that all could see this matter in its true light. We have known people who acknowledged that Saturday-the seventh day-is the only true Sabbath, but who thought that they would appease the wrath of God against their disobedience by keeping Sunday very strictly. How deceitful is sin! It blinds men so that they call evil good, and good evil. May the Lord enable our brother and many others who are in a like position, to realize that obedience is what is required, and that all stubbornness is iniquity and idolatry. E. J. W.SITI January 22, 1885, page 57.2

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