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    May 11, 1888

    “‘Forever and Ever’” The Signs of the Times, 14, 18.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Will you please explain Revelation 20:10, which says: ‘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.” Is it possible that their punishment will last forever and ever without an end? I thought that after the earth was thoroughly melted, and all things therein had burned up, the fires would go out, and the earth be prepared as a fit inheritance for the saints. Please explain to me, for I am a little confused. M. V. B. R.”SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.1

    This text has often been explained in these columns, but we are glad to repeat any point as often as it is required. On of the points upon which our friend is confused, although unconsciously, is in the terms “torment” and “punishment.” It is not only possible, but absolutely true, according to the Scriptures, that the punishment of the wicked will have no end. When Christ said, “These [the wicked] shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal,” he showed that the punishment of the wicked will last just as long as does the reward of the righteous; for the words “everlasting” and “eternal” in Matthew 25:46 are from the same Greek word, and the same word could not be used in two senses in such close connection.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.2

    But what will be the punishment of the wicked? Paul answers, when he says that the wicked “shall be punished with everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), and that “the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. Death, destruction, will be the punishment of the wicked. “They shall be as though they had not been.” Obadiah 16. “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” Psalm 37:20. While they will be made to suffer “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish,” they will not have received their punishment until they have consumed away into smoke and ashes, until it can be said of them, “They are dead; they are then as extinct as though they never had been.” From that death there will be no awakening; it will be eternal.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.3

    This, however, is of itself sufficient to disprove the supposition that the wicked will to all eternity suffer torment. While they are being punished, they will suffer anguish; but how can they suffer torment after they have become as though they had never been? It is utterly impossible. This point may be emphasized thus: If the wicked die, and become as though they had not been, and this death never has any end, then they cannot suffer torment to all eternity; if it be true that the wicked are to suffer torment to all eternity, then it cannot be true that they will die, for so the Bible expressly declares in many places; therefore it is not true that eternal torment is to be the lot of any creature which God has made.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.4

    What then must we conclude? that the Bible contradicts itself? Not by any means. That would be an impossibility, for the Bible is the word of God, “and he cannot deny himself.” Then we must conclude that the term “forever and ever” does not necessarily mean “eternity.” And that is just the case, as can be proved from instances in the Scriptures. One instance alone will suffice.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.5

    In the thirty-fourth chapters of Isaiah there is a record of the punishment that is to be visited upon all the nations of the earth, and of the state into which the earth is to be brought. Although the judgment is said to “come down upon Idumea,” and the great slaughter is to be “in the land of Idumea,” the first four verses of the chapter, which read as follows, show that the whole earth is meant, and that Idumea is put for the earth:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.6

    “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. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” Isaiah 34:1-4.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.7

    The following verses, also, to which we wish to call special attention, show that the judgment spoken of is not local, but is the final judgment upon the whole earth:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.8

    “For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.” Isaiah 34:8-10.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.9

    This language is just as strong as that used in Revelation 20:10, and refers to the same thing; and yet in the very next chapter we read:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.10

    “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.” “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.” “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:1, 2, 6, 7, 10.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.11

    This shows that the same land concerning which it is said that “the smoke thereof shall go up for ever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever,” will afterwards be inhabited. If anything more is needed to prove this, 2 Peter 3:10-13 furnish it. That text brings to view the melting of the earth, and also its restoration as an abode for the righteous. The psalmist also shows that the righteous are to dwell upon the same place from which the wicked are to be removed, when he says:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.12

    “For evildoers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:9-11.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.13

    We understand, therefore, that the term “forever and ever,” as used in Isaiah 34:10; Revelation 14:11; 22:10, does not mean unending duration, but that it does mean that the thing spoken of shall continue a long time, and without intermission within the limits assigned to it.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.14

    But then, it may be asked, How can we know when the term “forever and ever” is used in the sense of eternal duration? or how can we be sure that it is ever used in that sense? It is a proper question, and easily answered. We may know in the same way that we know that in the instances already considered it does not mean eternal duration, and that is by what is elsewhere taught us of the nature of things to which it is applied. True, we know that it does not mean eternal duration when applied to the torment of the wicked, and the destruction of the earth, because the Bible expressly declares the wicked shall cease to exist, and that the earth will be restored to the condition in which it was when God pronounced it “very good,” and shall be given the righteous for an inheritance. So when we read that the righteous shall shine “as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3), we know that it means ceaseless duration, because in the same prophetic book it is declared that “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heavens shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,” and that the kingdom is “that which shall not be destroyed,” and “shall not be left to other people.” Daniel 7:27, 14; 2:44. There is not need for confusion upon the subject if one will but particularly compare scripture with scripture, giving to each its due weight. W.SITI May 11, 1888, page 278.15

    “Sabbath Observance” The Signs of the Times, 14, 18.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In a paper published in Edinburgh, called the Free Church of Scotland, which we take to be the organ of that church, we find the following item:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 279.1

    “The bishops in convocation have had before them the subject of Sabbath observance. It would appear that among the upper classes in London the Lord’s day is being more and more used for purposes of pleasure and amusement. The fact was much deplored; but when we find it said that most English churchmen now deny that the Lord’s day is to be identified with the Jewish Sabbath, it will be difficult to find a basis broad enough to urge with effect the duty of Sabbath sanctification.”SITI May 11, 1888, page 279.2

    Exactly; it will be difficult indeed to find a basis broad enough to urge the duty of Sabbath sanctification, if the day which it is designed to sanctify be different from the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. And those English churchmen do well to deny that Sunday (for that is what the item means by “Lord’s day”) is to be identified with the Sabbath of the commandment, which is commonly misnamed “the Jewish Sabbath.” That Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, and of course Sunday cannot be identified with it. Consequently there is no ground whatever for urging the duty of Sunday observance; if either the upper classes or lower classes are brought to observe that day, force will have to take the place of exhortations to duty.SITI May 11, 1888, page 279.3

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 18.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Elder G. C. Tenney and family departed from San Francisco, May 5, on the steamer Zealandia, bound for Australia, to join with the workers there in spreading abroad the glorious truth of the Third Angel’s Message.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.1

    Even the SIGNS, or rather its editors, get sleepy once in a while, and not over their work. In one of those seasons, a few weeks ago, a remark by Madam Roland was attributed to Charlotte Conday. We noticed the error before the friend in Los Angeles’s kindly called our attention to it, but thought it not worthy of mention, as the point which we made in the note was not affected. We notice it now simply to save other friends the trouble of writing to notify us of the mistake.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.2

    Our brother and will all be pleased to learn that the Elder A. J. Cudney arrived in Oakland, Cal., Thursday, May 3, on his way to Pitcairn Island. He and Brother Tay will sail for Pitcairn on the first ship that they can find which will land them there. They will also carry the message to other islands of the Pacific as God may give them opportunity. We know that many prayers will ascend to Heaven that the Lord may speed the sails which shall carry these brethren to the longing hearts on that lonely island. All who have letters or papers to send to Pitcairn Island should address them at once. The postage on letters is five cents a half ounce, on papers, two cents each.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.3

    The following questions have been received:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.4

    “1. Is it right to administer the ordinances when the brethren are at variance?SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.5

    “2. Can one partake of the ordinances with a brother knowing him to be at fault with another brother?”SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.6

    1. It is not right to celebrate the Lord’s Supper when the brethren are at variance. Says Paul: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.” 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17. Now it is certain that if all are one body, all are united to Christ, all must be united to one another. There can be no distinctions among those who are Christ. So all efforts should be made to settle all differences and to secure perfect harmony before the ordinances are administered.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.7

    2. If the church has done its duty, there will be no occasion to unite in the Lord’s Supper with one who is at enmity with another. For if the Bible plan has been followed, the offending one will have been restored, or, if stubborn, will have been brought before the church and subjected to proper discipline,-placed under censure, or disfellowshipped. There is, however, a wrong idea in the minds of many. They think that they cannot continue if there is one in the company who is not doing just right, although his action may not concern them personally. This is a mistake. If a man dares come to the Lord’s Supper with sin cherished in his heart and eats and drinks unworthily, not discerning the Lord’s body, the responsibility rests with him. I need not deprive myself of the blessed privileges, simply because somebody else is presumptuous.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.8

    Here is something that is old, but it ought to be repeated until everybody has learned it by heart, and until everybody who has a conscience has learned its full meaning: “Calumny would soon starve and die of itself, if nobody took it in and gave it lodging.” There are some people who think that if they do not originate a false report, or if they do not absolutely know that it is false, they are at liberty to pass it along. They do not seem to realize that he who tells a thing which he does not know to be true, is guilty of falsehood if it should prove that the story is not true. Many people who would scorn to originate a slander, will pass it along to somebody else, and thus become an equal sharer in the guilt. In the Judgment, the maker of a lie and the lover of a lie will be classed together.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.9

    The Oakland general meeting closed Wednesday night, May 2. It was a most interesting and profitable meeting throughout. From Tuesday, April 24, to Wednesday, May 2, the time was devoted to a Ministerial Institute, the Tract and Missionary work, the Sabbath-school, the canvassing work, and the church-its organization, its officers and their duties. The attendance was good, and all entered into the work with a will to know what could be learned in the time that was given to instruction. Sunday the new Seventh-day Adventist house of worship was dedicated. The meetings closed with the ordination of Brother Robert Hare to the work of the gospel ministry. The workers have now all gone, with good courage, to their several fields of labor. We thank the Lord that he has counted us worth of a part in his work; and we thank him for these seasons of mutual encouragement and improvement. May all our work be indeed the work of faith, our labor the labor of love, our patience the patience of hope; and may it at last all be approved and accepted by Him who is the Author of faith and love and hope.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.10

    Judge Love of the United States District Court in Iowa, thus expounds the law governing strikes, which is of special interest at the present time:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.11

    1. Railroad employés have a right to quit work.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.12

    2. But they have no right to present others from taking their places, nor to interfere with the operation of the road.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.13

    3. A railroad company must haul the freight of every other company on equal terms.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.14

    4. It is no excuse for the company to say that its employés will not handle the cars of a road on which there is a strike.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.15

    5. Such company must obey the law of the land, not the order of the Brotherhood of Engineers.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.16

    6. If it refuses the traffic of another road it may be order to carry, by the courts, and, moreover, is liable to suits for damages at the hands of shippers.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.17

    The California Christian Advocate says:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.18

    “As an outcome of the Law and Order League crusade against Sunday business in Pittsburgh, Pa., a club with 250 members has been organized, a State charter will be applied for, and there will be a hall secured where members and their wives can meet on Sunday and drink liquor without interference.”SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.19

    This will afford the National Reform Association another chance to cry out against “the demands of liberalism,” and to urge the necessity of laws to prevent the world from swallowing the church. They conveniently ignore the fact, which is stated above, that there were no Liberal Leagues and “demands of liberalism” until the National Reform Association and kindred orders began to make demands for the church, such as Christ never authorized. Infidels have never banded together to secure laws inimical to Christianity, when Christians were continually carrying out the divine commission; they only make “demands” when the churches stop outside the sphere, and demand things which they have no right even to request.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.20

    The following from the dramatic columns of the San Francisco Chronicle, does not give much support to the theory that the theater has a general elevating effect on the morals of those who frequent them.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.21

    “One thing is perfectly certain, that the question of morality and immortality has been for a long time held altogether of too little importance in a ... a book. The youngest of our theater-goers has come to believe that it is unmanly to be moral. He has been allowed to see men on the stage habitually imposed as gentlemen, and women habited and posed as ladies, guilty of the most terrible of moral crimes, and, as a rule, the soft-hearted American playright and the scrupulous manger have made the act always end happily for everybody except the ... lain, who may suffer some temporary inconvenience, but who, unless it is a melodrama, goes guilty ... the end to have more liaisons with other women. This question is one of much greater importance than many people will admit. It helps a moral ... ity which in the rapidly-developing generation is likely to have painful social results. It is quite liable now to reflect how loose the relations between the sexes are, and how widespread the immortality is.”SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.22

    Quite a sensation is reported from Louisville, Kentucky, over the proposed action of the First Christian Church of that place, in the case of two robbers who are whisky dealers. Recent revival and temperance meetings by Moody and Murphy have stirred up the people and they propose that the whisky men must leave their business or the class. The dispatch says:-SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.23

    “The action of the church in the matter has aroused a great deal of indignation among which men, who are leaders here in business circles and regard themselves quite as good Christian as anyone else. Liberal-minded laymen are also opposed to the movement, but a majority of the congregation will be found in approval. It is understood that this movement is to be followed up by other churches and in that event the whisky men will very likely establish a church of their own.”SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.24

    It is quite natural that there should be indignation among whisky men, who think themselves “quite as good Christians as anyone else;” but it is pitiable to read that church members apologize to the dispensers of the liquid poison, simply because they sell it by the wholesale and so make much money. There is no doubt that the whisky men are quite as good Christian as the “liberal-minded laymen who champion their cause. But just fancy a church established by and composed of whisky men. We read of “the synagogue of Satan,” and we can imagine no more perfect specimen of it.SITI May 11, 1888, page 288.25

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