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

    November 30, 1888

    “‘Almost Discouraged’” The Signs of the Times, 14, 46.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “I am so weak, and have so much to overcome, that I am almost discouraged.” How often do we hear this expression in social meeting. It is the burden of some testimonies. It seems as though some people think that there is special merit in depreciating themselves. They almost take pride in their humility. Others do not seem to know that there is any better way for them to do. But however true it may be, or however often it is repeated, it cannot but be displeasing to God. We are commanded to “exhort one another,” and to “provoke unto love and good works,” but such language is anything but encouraging. Its effect is seen on the individual who uses it. It soon becomes habitual, for each time it is uttered the discouragement increases. It grows by repetition, but it is withering to the soul.SITI November 30, 1888, page 722.1

    It is the language of unbelief. Although the individual may be unconscious of the fact, the spirit which prompts it is the same as that possessed by the ten spies who brought back an evil report. God had said: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Having this promise, it was exceedingly wicked for them to say they could not possess the land. On this occasion, as well as at other times of murmuring, God showed his great displeasure. In this instance we see the natural result of such distrust. They did not enter the promised land. “And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you; your carcases shall fall in this wilderness.” Numbers 14:26-29. They said they could not go, and they did not; but Caleb and Joshua, who said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are able to overcome it,” did enter the promised land.SITI November 30, 1888, page 722.2

    Distrust and faint-heartedness are as displeasing to God now as then. His promises are abundant. Listen to a few: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15, 16. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. God does not upbraid us, does not taunt us with our weakness. A child has not the strength of a man, and no father will ridicule his infant child because of its weakness. Its very helplessness appeals to his sympathy. So God says, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13, 14. But it is necessary to “ask in faith, nothing wavering,” for “without faith it is impossible to please him.” Again we are exhorted: “Be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5. And yet again, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32. One more passage ought forever to stop all our murmurings and doubtings: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. Read also: Hebrews 2:18; 12:1-4; 13:8; Philippians 4:4, 13; and especially Psalm 139:17, 18, and Lamentations 3:22-33.SITI November 30, 1888, page 722.3

    Do we really believe these promises? If we did would we not appropriate them to ourselves? We read them, and say we believe them, and yet to very many they seem vague and unreal. But if they are to be of any benefit to us we must consider them as real, and make our requests accordingly. Our belief is measured by our actions, not by our words. Is it not as much infidelity to disbelieve a promise that God has given as it is to disbelieve any other portion of his word? Let us take heed lest there be found in any of us “an evil heart of unbelief in departing from God.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 722.4

    But ought we not to be sensible of our weakness? Certainly the more so the better. But we are not to think of it in such a way as to become discouraged. There are two ways of looking at our own frailties. One is to brood over them, lose sight of God’s willingness to help, and become discouraged. This pleases Satan. If we are prone to doubt and become faint-hearted, he will assist us to see more lions in the way than really exist. And such a course is really a form of selfishness. The individual becomes so intense by self-conscious that he can take cognizance of nothing else. He thinks of himself so much that he loses sight of Christ. He imagines that he himself must do the great work that is to be done, and when a few attempts show him the impossibility of it, he becomes discouraged. Another way to consider them is in the light of the promises of God. When we do this we have every reason to be encouraged, and God is pleased with us. The more we distrust ourselves while trusting God, the stronger we will be, for God has said: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. And in view of this, Paul was led to say: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak them am I strong.” No man ever had more trials than Paul had, or felt less confidence in himself; but he believed God’s promises, and it was no vain boast for him to say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 722.5

    Thus it was with Caleb and Joshua. It was not vain self-confidence which led them to say, “We are well able to overcome it.” Hear them: “If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us; their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us; fear them not.” Numbers 14:8, 9. So the Lord is with us; his promises are multiplied to us. We have the accumulated proofs of his power and goodness through thousands of years past. It is far more sinful for us to distrust God now, than it was for ancient Israel. Then “let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 722.6

    “Christ the Only Source of Strength” The Signs of the Times, 14, 46.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Not long since the Michigan Christian Advocate contained a eulogy of the work of Sam Jones, the professional revivalist, with some quotations from his wise sayings, among which was the following:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.1

    “If you want to be good, you must do your part. God will go you halves, and that’s about all he will do.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.2

    That such an utterance could be quoted with approval in a Methodist paper, is evidence that Methodism has changed greatly since the days of Wesley. For nothing is more certain than that preaching which is like the above quotation, is not gospel preaching, and is calculated either to cause men to despair, or else to become conceited, self-sufficient professors.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.3

    While reading the above quotation, one text comes very forcibly to mind. It is Ephesians 2:8-10: “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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Boasting is utterly excluded from the gospel of God; but if a man were able to do half in making himself good, then he would certainly have something whereof to boast.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.4

    Not only is such doctrine productive of boasting, but it is discouraging; for everything that tends to bolster up self-confidence, tends also to discourage those who see things as they are. What comfort can there be to the poor sinner who is “holden with the cords of his sins,” to say to him, “You got into that condition through your own fault, and now you must help yourself before you can expect any help.” Says Paul: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17. His recital, in the seventh of Romans, of his own experience, shows the utter powerlessness of any man to free himself from sin. And Christ himself testifies to the weakness of human nature, when he says:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.5

    “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4, 5.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.6

    We become branches of the true Vine by being grafted into it. Before that takes place, we are as withered and useless as the branch that has been severed from the vine. Now since the branches of the vine bear fruit only because of their connection with it, what folly to ask the sapless scions that lie around on the ground, to bear a little fruit as evidence that they will bear fruit after they are grafted upon the vine.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.7

    To say to the prisoner who is locked in the iron cell, and bound to the floor with heavy chains, “We will help you out if you will rise from the floor and break at least half of your fetters,” would be the most cruel mockery. Not so does God deal with his creatures. Knowing the helplessness of humanity, he reaches down to the lowest depths, to lift up the fallen and degraded in whose heart his all-seeing eye can discern the longings for purity of soul.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.8

    Read the prayer of the inspired apostle, for us: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:20, 21. So then whatever of good there is in any individual is the direct result of the working of God in the soul,-Christ dwelling in the heart by faith,-and to him is all the glory due.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.9

    Not only are we dependent upon God for the good that may be manifested in our lives, for the power to rise in the scale of morality, but we are dependent on him for the very desire to rise. Says the apostle: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.10

    When Adam sinned, he suffered a complete moral fall. He placed himself in direct antagonism to God, and in perfect accord with Satan. His sin was not the light thing that many suppose, but a complete renunciation of allegiance to God, and as complete a surrender to Satan. If he had been left to himself, his desires would have been as fully toward the ways of the devil as are those of the fallen angels. But God in his mercy interposed. The plan of salvation provided not only a way of escape from sin, but the desire to escape. And so God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” Genesis 3:15. Whatever desire for a higher and holier life any man has is due to the mercy of God. God has implanted in the soul of every man some knowledge of right and wrong, and some natural desires for the right; and whenever a man gives himself wholly to sin, he does so only by resisting the strivings of the Spirit.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.11

    So it is that to Christ we are indebted for every good not only in fact but in possibility. So it is that Christ is the “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:9. Thus it is that Christ is made unto us, “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. And so the true child of God, while continually growing in grace, patiently continuing in well-doing, and steadily rising to new heights of holiness, will ever exclaim, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14. And when all the redeemed stand at last before the throne of God, and see his face, their whole ascription of praise will be “unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Revelation 1:5. W.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.12

    “The Papacy. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times, 14, 46.

    E. J. Waggoner

    That the church should be corrupted in the first centuries was the inevitable result of the methods employed to make converts. Says the historian:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.13

    “As the lower ranks of society are governed by imitation, the conversion of those who possessed any eminence of birth, of power, or of riches, was soon followed by dependent multitudes. The salvation of the common people was purchased at an easy rate, if it be true that, in one year, twelve thousand men were baptized at Rome, besides a proportionable number of women and children, and that a white garment, with twenty pieces of gold, had been promised by the emperor to every convert.”-Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. 20, paragraph 18.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.14

    There is not reason to disbelieve this statement, for it is related upon good authority that Gregory Thaumaturgus (Gregory the miracle worker), bishop of Neo-Cæsarea, on the anniversaries of the martyrs (and they were numerous) allowed his flock to give a loose rein to pleasure, to indulge in conviviality, and to do all the things that the worshipers of idols were accustomed to do in their temples, on their festival days, hoping thereby to gain the heathen, and thinking that in process of time they would, as “Christian,” voluntarily leave off such customs. (See Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, book 1, cent. 2, part, 2 chap. 4, sec. 2, note 3.) This was not an isolated case, for Mosheim says that “the Christian bishops purposely multiplied sacred [?] rites for the sake of rendering the Jews and the pagans more friendly to them.” Thus was pure Christianity crowded into obscurity, and that which took its name was in reality paganism with all of its corruption. Speaking of the barbarians who conquered Rome, Wylie says:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.15

    “These rude warriors, who had overturned the throne of the Cæsars, bowed down before the chair of the Popes. The evangelization of these tribes was a task of easy accomplishment. The ‘Catholic faith,’ which they began to exchange for their paganism or Arianism, consisted chiefly in their being able to recite the names of the objects of their worship, which they were left to adore with much the same rites as they had practiced in their native forests. They did not much concern themselves with the study of Christian doctrine, or the practice of Christian virtue. The age furnished but few manuals of the one, and still fewer models of the other.”-History of Protestantism, book 1, chap. 3, paragraph 9.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.16

    How could there be any models of virtue, when the truly virtuous were slaughtered, and the only virtue recognized was adherence to the dogmas of Rome? Henry Charles Lea, in his “History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages,” graphically portrays the condition of the Papacy. On this point he says, among other things:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.17

    “Uniformity of faith had been enforced by the Inquisition and its methods, and so long as faith was preserved, crime and sin were comparatively unimportant except as a source of revenue to those who sold absolution. As Theodoric Vrie tersely puts it, hell and purgatory would be emptied if enough money could be found. The artificial standard thus created is seen in a revelation of the Virgin to St. Birgitta, that a Pope who was free from heresy, no matter how polluted by sin and vice, is not so wicked but that he has the absolute power to bind and loose souls. There are many wicked Popes plunged in hell, but all their lawful acts on earth are accepted and confirmed by God, and all priests who are not heretics administer true sacraments, no matter how depraved they may be. Correctness of belief was thus the sole essential; virtue was a wholly subordinate consideration. How completely under such a system religion and morals came to be dissociated is seen in the remarks of Pius II. Quoted above, that the Franciscans were excellent theologians, but cared nothing about virtue.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.18

    “This, in fact, was the direct result of the system of persecution embodied in the Inquisition. Heretics who were admitted to be patterns of virtue were ruthlessly exterminated in the name of Christ, while in the same holy name the orthodox could purchase absolution for the vilest of crimes for a few coins. When the only unpardonable offense was persistence in some trifling error of belief, such as the poverty of Christ; when men had before them the example of their spiritual guides as leaders in vice and debauchery and contempt of sacred things, all the sanctions of morality were destroyed, and the confusion between right and wrong became hopeless. The world has probably never seen a society more vile than that of Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.”-Vol. 3, pp. 641, 642.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.19

    The custom of selling absolution, which was devised for the purpose of filling up the depleted Papal treasury, is one of the worst things that the Papacy has ever done against God and his worship. It set at naught the atonement, counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and fastened the world far more securely than it had ever before been in “the bond of iniquity,” which must hold those who think that the gift of God can be purchased with money.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.20

    Perhaps some may think that the Papacy has improved, since we no longer see crimes so openly committed under its sheltering wing. They think that its wickedness was due to the ignorance of the age, and that “advancing civilization” has made such wickedness impossible. Such should remember that “Rome never changes.” The only reason why crimes are not so openly committed under its protection is because it has not now the power to protect them. As evidence that the seeming improvement in the character of the Papacy is due to lack of power and not to the spread of education, we quote the following:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.21

    “In Italy the revival of letters, while elevating the intellectual faculties, had been accompanied with deeper degradation in both the moral and spiritual condition of society. Without removing superstition, it had rendered skepticism fashionable, and it had weakened the sanctions of religion without supplying another basis for morality. The world has probably never seen a more defiant disregard of all law, human and divine, than that displayed by both the church and the laity during the pontificates of Sixtus IV. and Innocent VIII. and Alexander VI. [1471-1503.] Increase of culture and of wealth seemed only to afford new attractions and enlarged opportunities for luxury and vice, and from the highest to the lowest there was indulgence of unbridled appetites, with a cynical disregard even of hypocrisy.”-Id., p. 203.SITI November 30, 1888, page 726.22

    The principles of the Papacy are the same to-day that they were five hundred years ago. The system is as corrupt to-day as it ever was, and it cannot be reformed. It is sin itself, “the man of sin,” and for it there can be nothing but perdition. The earth will be freed from its course only when it is destroyed by the brightness of the coming of the Lord.SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.1

    But the prophecy continues: “And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” The “they” of course refers to the “saints of the Most High” and the “times and laws,” which are mentioned in the same verse. The “time and times and the dividing of time,” then, indicates the period of Papal supremacy, and of the unlimited reign of lawlessness.SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.2

    In the first place we may notice that in the Douay Bible, as well as in the Revised Version, “time and times and the dividing of time,” is rendered, “time, and times, and half a time.” We have no need to conjecture what this means, for the Bible is its own interpreter. In Revelation 12:14 we find the same period of time mentioned: “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Now in verse 6 of the same chapter the same event is brought to view in these words: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” From these two verses we learn that “a time, and times, and half a time” is only another expression for twelve hundred and sixty days. Then the little horn of Daniel 7 was to have supremacy for twelve hundred and sixty days.SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.3

    But the question now arises, “Is it possible that only twelve hundred and sixty days, three years and a half, cover the whole time which the prophecy allows to the Papacy?” We answer, No; and the explanation is simple. The prophecy is symbolic; four mighty empires are represented by short-lived beasts; the Roman Catholic power is represented by a little horn of one of these beasts. It is obvious, then, that the prophecy would not be consistent if it should express the duration of those powers in literal years. The time would be out of proportion to the nature of the symbol representing the power. Therefore it is evident that the time must also be symbolic. We inquire, then, What is the standard of time when used in symbolic prophecy? In Ezekiel 4:4-6 we read the answer:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.4

    “Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days; I have appointed thee each day for a year.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.5

    Since all prophecy of Scripture proceeds from the same source, and is not of private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20, 21), the interpretation given to a symbol in one prophecy; therefore the “time, and times, and half a time,” or twelve hundred and sixty days, indicate just twelve hundred and sixty years.SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.6

    The next question to be settled is, When does this period of time begin and end? There are several dates given by various authors to mark the rise of Papal supremacy, but 538 A.D. seems to be the one that has the only just claim to consideration. The prophet, in describing the rise of the little horn, says, “He shall subdue three kings.” Daniel 7:24. This is in explanation of the fact that three horns were to be plucked up before it. Of course the only powers that would be rooted up to make room for the Catholic power would be those who were opposed to it. Now long before 538 A.D., paganism, as a State religion in the Roman Empire, was dead. Since the time of Constantine, Rome had been nominally Christian. The barbarous tribes by which the empire was divided into the ten parts, also embraced the Christianity of the empire. Says D’Aubigne:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.7

    “Already the forests of the North had poured forth the most effectual promoters of the Papal power. The barbarians who had invaded the West and settled themselves therein,-but recently converted to Christianity,-ignorant of the spiritual character of the church, and feeling the want of an external pomp of religion, prostrated themselves in a half savage and half heathen state of mind at the feet of the chief priest of Rome.”-History of the Reformation, book I, chap. 1, paragraph 31.SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.8

    But not all of these tribes were favorable to the pretensions of the bishops of Rome. Some of them, especially the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths, were professedly followers of Arius. The contest between the Catholics and Arians was bitter and unrelenting, and so long as these powers held Italy and the adjacent country, the Pope could not assert Papal authority. In the year 493 A.D., the power of the Heruli was annihilated by the death of Odoacer. From that time it is impossible to trace them in history. In 534 the Vandals were conquered by Belisarius, the general of Justinian; and in 538 A.D., Rome, which until that time had been in possession of the Arian Ostrogoths, was occupied by the Roman army, and the Catholic religion was established. These conquests are described in detail in the thirty-ninth and forty-first chapters of Gibbon. W.SITI November 30, 1888, page 727.9

    (To be continued.)

    “The Commentary. Second Epistle of Peter” The Signs of the Times, 14, 46.

    E. J. Waggoner

    2 Peter 3:1-7.
    (Lesson, Sabbath. Dec. 15.)

    1. To whom was the second epistle of Peter addressed?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.1

    “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:1.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.2

    2. Why was it written?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.3

    “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.” 2 Peter 3:1.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.4

    3. Of what does the apostle wish us to be mindful?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.5

    “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” Verse 2.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.6

    4. What purpose does prophecy serve?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.7

    “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.8

    5. Upon what is special light given by the prophecy?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.9

    “When it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:11, last part.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.10

    “But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” Daniel 2:28.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.11

    6. Give reference to some prophecies which foretell the final glory of Christ, and give the substance of each. Psalm 50:1-3; Habakkuk 3:3-6; Isaiah 63:1-6, etc.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.12

    7. What must we look for just before the end?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.13

    “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.” 2 Peter 3:3.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.14

    “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.” Jude 17, 18.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.15

    8. Mention some other places in the writings of the apostles where this is foretold. 1 Timothy 4:1, 2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 4:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.16

    9. Of what do these scoffers profess to be ignorant?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.17

    “And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:4.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.18

    10. Is there any excuse for such ignorance?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.19

    “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.” Verse 5.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.20

    11. What notable event recorded in Scripture shows that all things have not continued as they were from the beginning of the creation?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.21

    “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” Verses 5, 6.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.22

    12. How did the earth come into existence?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.23

    “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 8, 9.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.24

    13. In what condition was the earth at first?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.25

    “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.26

    14. What division was first made in this watery mass?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.27

    “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.” Verses 6, 7.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.28

    15. What was done with the waters that were beneath the firmament?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.29

    “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so.” Verse 9.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.30

    “He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap; he layeth up the depth in storehouses.” Psalm 33:7.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.31

    16. When, by the word of the Lord, the flood destroyed the earth, how did the waters that were stored up in the earth contribute to that result?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.32

    “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Genesis 7:11.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.33

    17. What fate, by the same authority, now awaits the earth?SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.34

    “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.35

    18. Where has the word of the Lord declared this? Nahum 1:7; Isaiah 34:8-10; Deuteronomy 32:22.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.36

    19. What positive assurance have we that this will be done?-We have the word of Him who spoke the earth into existence, and who caused the water that constituted a portion of the earth, to contribute to its destruction. See 2 Peter 3:5-7.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.37

    20. Show the analogy between the destruction of the earth by water, and its destruction by fire. See note on verses 5-7.SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.38


    The phrase, “the earth standing out of the water and in the water,” does not at all express the idea of the original. The Greek word which in the authorized version is rendered “standing,” should, as the margin indicates, be rendered “consisting.” Robinson’s “Lexicon of the New Testament” says of the word: “To place together parts into a whole, i.e., to constitute, to create, to bring into existence. Hence, in N. T., intransitive, to be constituted, created; to exist,” as in Colossians 1:17, “by him all things consist.” Wakefield translates the passage thus: “A heaven and earth formed out of water and by means of water.” Bloomfield says: “The earth... being formed out of water, and consisting by means of water.” Murdock’s translation of the Syriac has it: “The earth rose up from the waters, and by means of water, by the word of God.” The meaning is that the earth in its chaotic state was simply a watery mass, as indicated by Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.39

    “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perish.” When God gathered the waters together into one place, and made the dry land appear, he evidently stored large quantities of water in the interior of the earth. This is indicated in the second commandment by the phrase, “the waters which are under the earth,” and by Psalm 136:6: “To him that stretched out the earth above the waters,” and also by Psalm 33:7; 24:1, 2. In the flood which destroyed the earth in the days of Noah, the waters in the interior of the earth united with the rain from heaven, as the record says: “The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Genesis 7:11. The idea of the passage in Peter’s epistle is that one of the very elements from which the earth was formed, was made to contribute to its destruction. Having disproved the assertion that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, the apostle draws a parallel thus:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 730.40

    “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word [the word of God, see verse 5] are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7. Instead of, “are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of Judgment,” a better translation would be, “stored with fire, reserved unto the day of Judgment.” Now the comparison is at once apparent. By the word of God, the earth, in the beginning, was formed from the watery mass which God had spoken into existence. Part of this water was stored up in the earth, and by the word of God was afterward caused to overflow the earth, and contribute to its destruction. And the same word of God, which performed this, has stored the interior of this present earth with fire, and is keeping it till the day of Judgment, when, as in the case of the waters of the flood, the fire within the earth, uniting with that which comes down from God out of Heaven (Revelation 20:9) will destroy it.SITI November 30, 1888, page 731.1

    Particular attention should be given to the word “kept.” Instead of all things continuing as they were from the beginning of the creation, the earth has within it the elements of its destruction, and it is only the power of God that stays the catastrophe.SITI November 30, 1888, page 731.2

    Some have fancied that this chapter teaches that the earth will be annihilated at the Judgment-day. This is a mistake. This earth will be destroyed in the same sense that the original earth “perished” by the waters of the earth. It was all broken up, and the face of it was changed, so that the earth after the flood had no resemblance to the earth before the flood. This was the last and greatest curse caused by sin, and completed the desolation of the earth. But the matter which composed the earth was not destroyed. So by the fires of the last day “the elements shall melt with fervent heat,” but they will not be annihilated. From those melted elements, “new heavens and a new earth” will be formed which will have no more resemblance to this sin-cursed earth than this earth does to Eden, the garden of God. The people that shall dwell in it will all be righteous (Isaiah 60:21); and “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.” Isaiah 35:1, 2.SITI November 30, 1888, page 731.3

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 14, 46.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Bible Echo, Melbourne, Australia, which during the three years of its existence has appeared as a monthly, is to be published semi-monthly beginning with January, 1889. The subscriptions will be 5s. 6d., or about $1.50 per year.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.1

    A national convention in the interests of Sunday observance is to be held at Washington, D.C., December 11 to 13. This meeting is the outcome of their recent meeting in Chicago, of the Illinois “Sabbath Association.” No doubt plans for the more systematic influencing of national legislation will be laid, and we await the results of it with the greatest interest.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.2

    The revival meetings in the Oakland church still continue with unabated interest. A large number have already given their hearts to God; many have renewed their consecration and have obtained most precious evidences of divine acceptance. The members of the church, with scarcely an exception, have set their hearts to seek God as never before, and his blessing has been poured out in a remarkable manner.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.3

    It seems that “progress” is the watchword in Australia as well as elsewhere. Brother Tenney reports from Melbourne that a publishing house is soon to be erected which will be three stories high, thirty-five by sixty-five feet in size. At the time of writing they were building the press-room, thirty-three by sixty-five feet, which will be in the rear of the main building, and detached. It is doubtless occupied by this time. The greatest lack felt is of laborers. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.4

    From a private letter from Elder A. G. Daniells, dated Napier, New Zealand, November 2, we extract the following, which we are sure will be of great interest:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.5

    “This is a town of about 7,000 inhabitants, about 300 miles south of Auckland, on the east coast. I came down here and started the canvassing work last July, I then went to Melbourne to attend the general meeting, and got back two weeks ago. Brother Hare and I pitched our tent last week, and began meetings last Sunday night. Have held for services, with an excellent attendance. The first night there were over 400 present. Since then the tent, which holds 300, has been just nicely filled. The people seem intelligent, and must be interested, for at the last three services they have bought $30.65 worth of books. Last night they bought over twelve dollars’ worth, and then a number had to go without them, because I had no more of the kind. The interest seems wonderful. Of course the Sabbath question will make a change, but we are praying God to save those who wish to do right.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.6

    A more full report for the SIGNS, which comes too late for this issue, will appear next week.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.7

    Forty-six workingmen’s societies at Milan have held a meeting in protest against the triple alliance, and against war in general. A resolution was adopted declaring that they would not support the Italian Government in the event of war. The workingmen of France will be invited to adhere in the name of the brotherhood of labor, and Milanese workmen will ask other associations to co-operate. No doubt very many people will affect to see in this movement a long stride towards the time when wars shall cease; but it will be found that when the rulers get ready to plunge the nations into war, the protests of workingmen will be of no more avail than the wail of an infant. Wars and fightings will never cease so long as fleshly lusts war in the souls of men. Wars will cease only after the last great battle, in which sin and sinners shall be destroyed out of the earth; and then under the mild rain of the Prince of Peace, “the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.8

    The Christian Union, in answer to a question by a correspondent as to how he can defend his position in keeping the first day of the week, when the fourth commandment so plainly says that the seventh day is the Sabbath, replies to the effect that there is no command for the observance of the first day of the week, and that the change from the seventh day to the first was gradual, and then says: “You can best defend your position by Christian common sense.” Now it seems to us that this is requiring a great deal of common sense. “Common sense” is but another name for good sense, and sense is synonymous with reason or understanding. It is the power of perceiving things that actually exist. To say that a thing for which no reason can be given, must be defended by common sense, is worse than the demand that the Israelites should make bricks without straw, for they had the clay, while in this instance the senses have nothing upon which to lay hold.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.9

    The Herald of Truth of November 15 has a report of what the editor calls an “able sermon on the Sabbath,” in which occurs the following remarkable paragraph:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.10

    “He said there never was a command for keeping Sunday because it ran by a better force. He gave facts. He emphasized the fact that for Saturday to be the Sabbath there must be special commands; that this was against it as the primitive Sabbath; that this must take place with any day of the week but Sunday.”SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.11

    Do not be incredulous, dear reader, this was actually preached before an association of Baptist ministers, and was actually published in, and commended by, the paper to which it is credited. It is worthy of notice only as showing to what absurdities men are driven in their attempt to uphold the Sunday institution. The absurdity of the above lies in the statement of the fact that the observance of Sunday is of more obligation than Saturday, because Sabbath-keeping was commanded, while Sunday-keeping never was. Think of it! It is seriously claimed that because a certain thing is commanded, it is of less force than something else that is not commanded! Such a theory overturns all law, and makes the Anarchist the most reasonable man in the world. The statement of that theory is all that is needed to show its wicked absurdity.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.12

    By the way, we would ask the reader to lay alongside of the admission that there is no command for the keeping of Sunday, the following definition of superstition: “Extreme and unnecessary scruples in the observance of religious rites not commanded.” See Webster. Reader, do you want to be superstitious?SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.13

    At the late Switchmen’s Convention, in St. Louis, the following resolutions in regard to Sunday labor and rest were adopted:-SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.14

    “WHEREAS, Our Creator has taught us that out of the seven days of the week one should be set apart as a day of rest; and,SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.15

    “WHEREAS, With the advancement of civilization, it has become the custom so to do, and believing that the improvement of our social condition demands that we should observe the Sabbath day; therefore, be itSITI November 30, 1888, page 736.16

    Resolved, That the Switchmen’s Mutual Aid Association of North America, in the third annual convention assembled, do most heartily recommend that the management of each and every railway in the United States and Canada take such steps as will lead to this desirable result. And we also ask that our representative in the law-making department take action thereon, and we further promise to support only those who pledge themselves so to do.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.17

    Resolved, That resolution be printed, and a copy forwarded to all managers and superintendents in railway lines in the United States and Canada, respectfully asking that they be kind enough to consider the same, and if after due consideration they will reduce Sunday labor, it will be duly appreciated by this association.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.18

    These resolutions have been sent to the railroad managers of the United States and Canada, and the Switchmen’s Journal for November prints the replies that have been received from a large number of managers of leading railroad lines. We cannot publish these replies this week, but will only say that they are uniformly favorable to the cessation of Sunday labor. This all may seem very harmless to some, but when it is remembered that the railroads have always been the greatest hindrance to Sunday rest, and that in regard to the Sunday there is a growing feeling that what the majority want to do the minority must be forced to do, we can see in it a great menace to liberty.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.19

    The New York Independent well says that if one makes a misuse of the probation he has in this world by refusing to improve it, he would do no better if he had a second. If he improves his present probation, then he will not need a second one hereafter for the same purpose.SITI November 30, 1888, page 736.20

    Larger font
    Smaller font