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    VERSES 6-8: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”EMTF 15.1

    No point has been argued in favor of the past complete fulfillment of Matthew 24, with greater show of plausibility than this. Yet it remains decidedly against that view. Dr. Adam Clarke, for whose honesty and ability we entertain the highest respect, says: “This portended the dissensions, insurrections, and mutual slaughter of the Jews, and those of other nations, who dwell in the same cities together;” etc. We say we respect Dr. Clarke, and it is no disparagement of him to believe there is more light now shining out from this chapter, with the greater investigation, and the later fulfillment of prophecy, than he saw in his day. We insist that all that he produced in regard to the dissensions among the Jews, their insurrections, etc., does not meet the demands of this text. On the latter part of the verse he says: “This portended the open wars of the different tetrarchies and provinces against each other.”EMTF 15.2

    In this chapter the Saviour refers us to Daniel the prophet, by whom we learn, what indeed we can learn from any history, that the kingdom of Rome was universal in power at the time of which we are speaking. The dissensions and insurrections of tribes and provinces were not sufficient to meet the prophecy.EMTF 15.3

    But the Saviour further says: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” The overthrow of Jerusalem was caused by an insurrection of one of the provinces of the Roman kingdom. But these are not even connectives of the final event which was mentioned by our Saviour. These things—wars and rumors of wars—shall come, “but the end is not yet.” And kingdom rising against kingdom—which, we insist, was not fulfilled by provincial insurrections—“are but the beginning of sorrows”—“the end is not yet.” This point will be yet more clearly settled when others are considered.EMTF 15.4

    Wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes have occurred at different periods since these words were spoken. Therefore, these, as they have existed, cannot be regarded as the special signs of the end. It maybe urged, however; with a good degree of consistency, that the Scriptures teach that these calamities would exist in the last days to such an extent as to constitute a sign of the approaching judgment. We wish to keep the important fact distinctly before the mind, that the Sacred Scriptures do teach when men may not, and when they may, look for the second appearing of Christ.EMTF 16.1

    The prophets had so uniformly associated such judgment as war, famine, pestilence, and earthquake with the last judgment, that the disciples were in danger of concluding that the end would immediately follow the list appearance of these calamities; hence the caution given: “These things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Here the disciples were clearly taught that they should not expect the end in their day. This fact is worthy of the candid attention of those who object to the proclamation of the second advent of Christ in the form of a special message. These sometimes assert that it was right for the disciples to look for Christ in their day, and that it has been scriptural and right for all Christians of each successive generation to look for his second appearing in their time. And they affirm that no more can be learned and believed upon this subject in our time than by the Christians of past generations, and that the public mind should not now be agitated upon this great question, any more than in all past time since the first advent of Christ.EMTF 16.2

    We have seen that this position is incorrect so far as the early disciples were concerned. They are cited to the distant future as the time when their Lord should come. They are assured that they need nut be troubled at hearing of wars and rumors of wars: “For all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Our Lord then guides the minds of his disciples, as we shall see in the examination of this chapter, down over the time of the great apostasy, and the long period of the rule of Papal Rome, before mentioning a sign of his second advent. He does not intimate that his people, during these long periods, may expect the end. No, not once. But when he comes near our time, the Lord gives signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and adds, “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”EMTF 17.1

    Mark this: Our Lord does not mention wars, fam- ines, pestilences, and earthquakes as signs of his second advent, but rather as events of common occurrence all the way through the Christian age; and history attests the fact that these calamities have covered at least seventeen centuries. The following is from a work of Noah Webster, LL.D., published in 1799: 1The plagues are corrected by the Encyclopedia Britannica.EMTF 17.2

    “By famine and sword, 580,000 Jews were destroyed between A. D. 96 and A. D. 180.EMTF 18.1

    “In Antioch, from A. D. 96 to A. D. 180, earthquakes destroyed 13 cities and over 100,000 lives.EMTF 18.2

    “In Rome, A. D. 169 pestilence destroyed 10,000 daily.EMTF 18.3

    “In Rome, A. D. 187, pestilence appeared and continued, three years.EMTF 18.4

    “In London, A. D. 310, by famine, 40,000 died.EMTF 18.5

    “In A. D. 446, September 17th, an earthquake shook down walls of Constantinople, and 57 towers fell.EMTF 18.6

    “In Rome, A. D. 539, in one district 50,000 died.EMTF 18.7

    “In Antioch A. D. 588, an earthquake killed 60,000.EMTF 18.8

    “In A. D. 542, the plague killed 10,000 daily in Turkey.EMTF 18.9

    “In A. D. 679, a severe famine in England, three years.EMTF 18.10

    “In A. D. 717, in Constantinople, 300,000 died of plague.EMTF 18.11

    “In A. D. 1005, earthquakes three months, followed by pestilence, by which it is said one-third of the human race died.EMTF 18.12

    “In A. D. 1077, in Constantinople, so many died by plague and famine the living could not bury them.EMTF 18.13

    “In A. D. 124, in Italy, there was such famine that the dead lay in the streets not buried; and in England one-third of the people died of plague.EMTF 18.14

    “In A. D. 1294, in England, thousands died of famine.EMTF 18.15

    “In A. D. 1346, in London, 50,00o died of plague and famine, and were buried in one grave-yard; in Norwich, 50,000; in Venice, 100,000; in Florence, 100,000; in Eastern nations, 20,000,000. It was called the black death.EMTF 18.16

    “In A. D. 1352, in China, 900,000 died of famine.EMTF 18.17

    “In A. D. 1450, in Milan, 60,000 died of plague.EMTF 18.18

    “In A. D. 1570, in Moscow, 200,000 died of plague.EMTF 18.19

    “In A. D. 1572, in Lyons, 50,000 died of plague.EMTF 19.1

    “In A. D. 1625, in London, 35,000 died of plague.EMTF 19.2

    “In A. D. 1656, in Naples, 300,000 died of plague.EMTF 19.3

    “In A. D. 1665, in London, 68,000 died of plague.EMTF 19.4

    “In A. D. 1755, an earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon, killing 50,000. In Mitylene, and the Archipelago, it shook down 2,000 houses. It shook all the Spanish coast. The plague followed, which destroyed 150,000 persons in Constantinople.”EMTF 19.5

    VERSES 9, 10: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”EMTF 19.6

    Here is a brief description of the afflictions and martyrdoms of the church of Christ. Thousands of the faithful followers of Jesus were most cruelly put to death by Pagan Rome; yet the prophecy doubtless applies more particularly to the long period of papal persecutions, in which many millions of Christians were put to death in the most cruel manner that wicked men and demons could invent. In these verses we are brought down over the long period of the martyrdom of the church of Jesus Christ, to near the present generation.EMTF 19.7

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