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

    January 8, 1885

    “The Sabbath-School” The Signs of the Times, 11, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner


    1. When will all the nations of earth be gathered before the Lord?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.1

    2. How many classes of people will there be?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.2

    3. Name and describe them?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.3

    4. What will be said to those on the right hand-the righteous? Matthew 25:34.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.4

    5. What will the Lord say to those on the left? Verse 41.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.5

    6. Have any people ever yet been punished with everlasting or eternal fire? Jude 7.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.6

    7. Describe the fate of Sodom and Gomorrha. Genesis 19:24, 25.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.7

    8. How long a time, in comparison with eternity, did it take to accomplish this overthrow? Lamentations 4:6.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.8

    9. As the result of being overthrown by “everlasting fire,” what did those cities become? 2 Peter 2:6.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.9

    10. After the cities became ashes what must have become of the fire?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.10

    11. Then does “everlasting fire” necessarily burn to all eternity?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.11

    12. What did the prophet Malachi say of the fierceness of the fires of the last day? Malachi 4:1.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.12

    13. As the result of this fire, what will the wicked be? Verse 3.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.13

    14. When this takes place, what will have become of the fire which devoured them?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.14

    15. What wonderful promise was made concerning Jerusalem, on condition that the people should obey the Lord? Jeremiah 17:24, 25.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.15

    16. What did the Lord say that he would do if they did not obey him? Verse 27.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.16

    17. What did he say that this fire should do? Ib.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.17

    18. What did he say should not be done to the fire? Ib.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.18

    19. What is the meaning of the word “devour”?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.19

    20. If the fire, when kindled, had been quenched, would the gates and palaces have been devoured?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.20

    21. When that upon which the flames were feeding was “devoured,” what must have become of the fire?SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.21

    22. What did Christ say of the fire into which the wicked are to be cast? Mark 9:45.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.22

    23. Since the fire is not to be quenched, what will it do? Revelation 20:9.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.23

    24. Then how much of the wicked will there be left? Malachi 4:1.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.24

    It has been said that the Bible is like a fiddle, because it will play any tune that is desired. To this it has justly been replied that you can get only one tune from a fiddle if you keep your fingers off from the strings. So the Bible of itself does not teach many and contradictory doctrines, but only one, harmonious in all its parts. In no case is this better illustrated than in the doctrine of the punishment of the wicked, which we are now considering. If we only let the Bible explain itself, nothing more harmonious was ever seen. Our lesson covers one or two texts which suffer much from being tampered with by human hands; let us see how they appear when the Bible is used as a commentary.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.25

    “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” The “angels that kept not their first estate” sinned against such great light that there was for them no forgiveness. If man had not yielded to temptation, they would alone have suffered the torments of the everlasting fire; but now they are to be accompanied by wicked men who will not be forgiven. “And this torment is never to end,” says one, and then, of perchance, he asks, “Is it just for God to cause a man to suffer the eternal torment for the sins committed in one short life?” We answer, It must be, if that is what he has threatened to do. We are not to decide by our ideas of justice what God ought to or will do, but must derive our ideas of justice from what God says he will do; for he is the embodiment of justice, as well as of every other desirable thing. Perhaps if we study carefully, we shall find that God has not threatened anybody with eternal torment. Eternal punishment, as we learned last week, is threatened; but we must remember that this punishment is death, and that no one has received his punishment until death takes place, and then torment must necessarily cease.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.26

    As we read along the New Testament, with this text in mind, our attention is caught by a similar expression in Jude, the seventh verse: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Everybody is familiar with the story of the destruction of Sodom. It is found in Genesis 19. There we learn (verses 24, 25) that God rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha fire and brimstone, and overthrew them and all their inhabitants. Peter tells us how complete was this overthrow: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:6. When a thing is reduced to ashes, we know that every particle of it that is combustible has been burned, and that fire can no longer be kept burning upon it. In fact, there is no surer way of putting out a fire than of covering it with ashes, for they are incombustible. So then the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha having been long since turned to ashes, must have, for an equally long time, ceased to burn; nobody will question this, for all believe that a portion of the Dead Sea covers a place where they once stood.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.27

    And still those cities suffered the vengeance of “eternal fire.” This being true, we reasonably conclude that although the wicked are to go into everlasting or eternal fire, they need not necessarily continue to burn to all eternity. At least Matthew 25:41 does not teach that they will. Now if we carry our investigation a little further, we shall see that, as in the case of the cities of the plain when they were turned to ashes, the fire which prey upon the wicked must cease to burn. “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1. Stubble cannot long withstand the action of fire, and we are not surprised to learn that if the wicked are stubble nothing will be left of them when once they are subjected to the flames. But read verse 3: “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.” That settles the matter beyond controversy. We know not how long a time it may take to reduce the wicked to ashes; to our comprehension it will doubtless be a very long time; but we are certain that they eventually will be ashes, and are just as certain that when that time comes, the “everlasting fire” which consumed them will have ceased to burn.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.28

    The learned commentator, Dr. Barnes, although he believed in the eternal torment of the wicked, has given the following just criticism on Jude seven:-SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.29

    “The phrase ‘eternal fire’ is one that is often used to denote future punishment-as expressing the severity and intensity of suffering. See Notes on Matthew 25:41. As here used, it cannot mean that the fires which consumed Sodom and Gomorrha were literally eternal, or were kept always burning, for that was not true. The expression seems to denote, in this connection, two things: (1) that the destruction of the cities of the plain, with their inhabitants, was as entire and perpetual as if the fires had been always burning-the consumption was absolute and enduring-the sinners were wholly cut off, and the cities forever rendered desolate; and (2) that in its nature and duration this was a striking emblem of the destruction which will come upon the ungodly.”SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.30

    Mark 9:45 is another text that is sadly misunderstood. People think, or, rather, conclude without thinking, that “fire that never shall be quenched” must of course always continue to burn. But what is the natural consequence to perishable substances when the fire into which they are cast is not quenched? Why, they are burned up, of course. They are speedily reduced to ashes, and then the fire, which was not quenched, dies a natural death. Throw stubble into the fire; if you speedily quench the flame, the stubble may be saved; but if the fire is unquenchable, nothing can keep the stubble from becoming utterly consumed. So of the wicked; if the Bible said that the fire shall be quenched, we should know that they would escape punishment; but no human power can quench the fire of the last day, and God said that he will not. So we must conclude, even if the Bible did not tell us, that the wicked are to be devoured, not preserve alive. When the fire has done its work, they will be left “neither root to nor branch.” E. J. W.SITI January 8, 1885, page 22.31

    “False Witness” The Signs of the Times, 11, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Some time ago we received a circular from a crank who pretended to know exactly when the Lord would come. We say “a crank,” because his professed “calculations” showed that in his mental make-up he was decidedly crooked. He represented nobody, and made no pretensions to, and we thought we treated his guess-work with great respect when we promptly granted it a place in the waste basket. The time that he had set was Jan. 5, 1885, and as this date is in the past, he is doubtless now at work on a new and improved computation.SITI January 8, 1885, page 25.1

    But news was scarce after election, and the most of the papers to which this circular was sent, gave it a prominent place in their columns. More than this, both secular and religious papers have given the gratuitous information that “the Adventists have fixed it that the end of the world is to be January 5, 1885.” When this statement was first noticed, a denial of it, and a true statement of the case was sent to the San Francisco Bulletin, which showed its fairness by giving it as prominent a place as it did the other. But not one of the papers that copied the original charge have copied the refutation. After that refutation appeared in the Bulletin, a religious journal in San Francisco repeated the statement that the Adventists have fixed the time for the end of the world. We can only conclude that, not having been able to make any headway against the doctrines of the seventh day at best, it is willing, in order to create prejudice against them, to place itself among those who love and make a lie.SITI January 8, 1885, page 25.2

    Wherever Seventh-day Adventists are known, it is well understood that they set no time for the Lord to come, and have no sympathy with those who do so. It is true that some who profess to be Adventists do presume to fix the time when the Lord will come; but the unwarranted act of a few irresponsible persons should not be set down against an entire denomination, which repudiates both the persons and their methods.SITI January 8, 1885, page 25.3

    The Lord himself, speaking of his coming, said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man.” This is in the same chapter in which he says that after certain signs have taken place, we must “know that he is near, even at the doors.” The same word that obliges us to be Adventists, also obliges us to confess our ignorance as to the day, or month, or year when the Master will return.SITI January 8, 1885, page 25.4

    We have no expectation of causing false reports to cease. We do not suppose that, because of our protests, people will cease to show their contempt for the Bible doctrine of the coming of the Lord, by maligning and ridiculing those who profess it. On the contrary, we expect that such things will increase. Personally they did not trouble us, and our only object in noticing them is to disabuse the minds of some who have innocently believed these false reports, and who, but for them, would look with favor on the doctrines which we are sure are of vital importance. E. J. W.SITI January 8, 1885, page 25.5

    Larger font
    Smaller font