THE inner veil of the earthly sanctuary was rent in twain when Christ on Calvary uttered the words, "It is finished." These words announced to all the waiting universe, that the service in types and shadows was forever at an end; for type had met antitype. When Christ rises from the judgment throne in "the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven," the holy of holies, and cries so that His voice reaches the utmost bounds of creation, saying, "It is done," the Father's glory fills the temple, and all other beings are excluded. Men on earth may continue to plead for forgiveness; they may still think there is time to make peace with God; but like the Jews, who did not see in Christ the antitype of the lambs they had slain, and continued to minister in the temple, there is no longer any virtue in their service. Neither will prayer avail after Christ says, "It is done."
His declaration is final; probationary time will then be at an end. For thousands of years men have heard the voice of God, but they have passed on without regard. All men hear the preaching of the everlasting Gospel, but many turn a deaf ear to Jehovah's voice.
Humanity takes all its physical life, all its power and energy from God; for "in Him we live, and move, and have our being;" and yet while every pulse beat is under the direct control of the God of life, and He knows about and makes possible, every breath that is drawn, men will deny His very existence; or, while feebly acknowledging that there is a Supreme Power, they claim that they are wholly independent of that Power, and have the right to follow the dictates of a perverted intellect. Time will be given for these philosophers to prove their theory. When grace and mercy cease to reach earthward, the prince of this world will have full control of the wicked.
When man says by word and act that he will not obey, and those who do obey are gathered into little companies overshadowed by the glory of God, then the restraint is removed, and man feels the effect of a life without Christ. Having waited to the extreme limit of time given for mercy, God calls at last from the temple to the seven angels having the seven vials full of the wrath of Jehovah, and bids them go forth. The seven angels come to the earth one at a time; that is, God's overruling Spirit is withdrawn from one element after another, until utter destruction results. Her plagues [shall] come in one day, the prophet says, or one year of literal time.
The first angel went, and poured out his vial upon the earth. Ever since the divine fiat uttered on the third day of creation week, the earth has been an obedient servant; and since the creation of man, she has never refused to respond to his call for food. Whatsoever a man sowed that he expected to reap; and the grains and the herbs have been for the service of man and beast. The foods which the earth brings forth nourish the human frame, and disease is repelled. But the first angel poured out his vial upon the earth. "Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." "The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate." Habakkuk says that "The fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls." "The heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit."
A short drought, over a small area, has caused untold suffering and disease on the earth.
What will it be when the earth ceases to yield her fruits, or when the trees and all vegetation are so full of disease that the cattle starve for lack of pasturage, and man is in no better condition?
"There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image." Before the first angel, holding his vial, left the temple, all men had been divided into two classes, -- those who are sealed with the seal of the living God, and those who worship the beast, or his image, and bear his mark. The grievous sores come upon those having the mark of the beast. When disease is abroad in the land, it is rebuked only by a strong spiritual atmosphere. Christ was fully charged with life, which is the result of soul union with the fountain head; and as He could touch the leper and cause health to flow from Him to the diseased man, so in the time of the first plague, those who are clothed with spiritual life will resist disease. Even the physical man will be protected by the strength of the soul union with the Father. Their bread and water will be sure, and habits of simple diet have become so fixed during their time of probation that though there may be a drought, God can feed them as He did Israel in the wilderness. In the midst of this terrible suffering, the little companies will sing and rejoice. "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places." "Thou shalt not be afraid ... for the pestilence that walketh in darkness. ...
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. ... Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."
As the Lord put a division between Israel and the Egyptians after the first three plagues had fallen upon the land of the Pharaohs, so in the time of trouble He says, "Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." "The Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for above all the glory shall be a covering."
The vial of the second angel was poured upon the sea, and the creatures of the sea died, for what was once life became poison. There is but a step between life and death. A change of a few degrees in temperature, would kill all life, both animal and vegetable; deprive an animal of the life-giving oxygen, and in a few moments, life is extinct.
The deliverance of Israel from the land of Egypt, and their guidance through the wilderness, is a type of God's care for His sealed ones during the year when the plagues are falling.
This will be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, and the strength of God's people will consist in their pressing close to Him. Deep anguish will often oppress them, but as the light of the promises breaks in, they sing praises for their deliverance.
During the falling of these plagues, men of science, who have advocated the power of the human intellect and the wisdom of man, will doubtless offer scientific reasons for the disease on land and sea. The magicians of Egypt first imitated the wonders which came by the hand of Moses; and when they could no longer do that, they gave a reason for each miracle, assigning some natural cause; and as soon as the plague was removed, Pharaoh would say in his heart, "I thought for a time it was a divine providence upon the land, but doubtless, as the magicians say, it was due to such and such a cause," and Pharaoh hardened his heart. As men did then, so will they do in the end of time; for men's hearts are the same in all generations. The repentance of Pharaoh was like that of Cain, -- it was sorrow for suffering, not sorrow for sin. This will be the same in the days of the last plagues.
The third angel withdraws the life-giving spirit from the rivers and the fountains of water, and they become blood. Since the days of creation God has, by the flowing streams and the wells of water, typified salvation, which is full and free.
As a teacher on earth, Christ used the waters of Jacob’s well, to illustrate the life of the Spirit, which wells up into everlasting life. The smitten rock in the wilderness, from which flowed the water for the thirsty millions in Israel's camp, was God's voice saying, "Come unto Me and drink." In the sanctuary service, on that last great day of the feast, the silver trumpets called the people together in the early morning; and the priests, bearing flagons of water from the brook Kedron, ascended the steps of the temple singing, "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." "Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." These words will again be sung by those who are preserved in the time of the third plague. Those who have exchanged life for death, will see the rivers turned to blood, -- a type of the blood of Christ, which they have spurned; and the lives of saints which they have lightly regarded.
Heaven is bending near the earth, even through its time of trouble; and angels, having watched the workings of evil, uphold the purpose of God, and pronounce His judgments true and righteous. The sun, which has shone alike upon the just and the unjust, which, in its very beams, is a reflection of the smile of God, becomes, when His Spirit is withdrawn, a heat which scorches men as with fire. God, whose countenance is life to those who are in harmony with Him, is a consuming fire to His enemies.
The lightning has been chained, and when kept within its circuit, is the obedient servant of man, even administering to his physical being; but uncontrolled, it is an instrument of instant death. Thus the sun becomes an agent of destruction, and under the fourth plague its rays scorch men. In the wilderness a cloud overshadowed the camp by day. God was as a "shadow of a great rock in a weary land." "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." But those without a shelter, who suffer from the intense heat, which withers every living thing, and prostrates man and beast, blaspheme God and repent not.
As long as probation lingered, God dealt with men in various ways to cause them to repent, He sent warnings by the prophets, He spoke through His providences, He gave blessings and then removed them, He gave health, and when that did not bring repentance, He sought by a bed of sickness to gain recognition. When probation has closed, it will be seen that no power in heaven or in earth, could have turned the worldly-wise to the source of all true wisdom. "Ephraim is joined to his idols: let him alone."
Signs of the coming of the Son of man were given in the earth, the sea, and the sky. Those were unheeded, and in the plagues, terrors come from those same places.
The fifth vial was poured upon the seat of the beast. The developments in the last days, reveal the persecuting spirit of the beast and his image. All the world wondered after the beast, and looked to his man-made power in preference to the God of light and love. Thick darkness covered all the land of Egypt for three days, so that men could not leave their homes. This was a type of the darkness of the fifth plague. Men scoffed when they heard that the darkening of the sun in 1780 was a token of the approaching day of God. Some of these men will be living, when the sun refuses to shine upon the whole earth. They blaspheme because of the heat of its rays; and then gnaw their tongues in anguish during the bitter night which settles upon the earth. p. 281, .
"The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly. ... That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. ...
And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord. ... Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land." Terrible is the wrath of God; He has but to hide His face, and all men are put to confusion. Satan, once light bearer in the heavenly court, claimed that light dwelt in him. This will be a time for him to manifest his power; but the world finds that its prince, with all his followers, is enshrouded in the same dense gloom. The light shines only upon the houses of Israel. Each little company is still overshadowed by that cloud which is a protection from the heat and a light in the night. It is the same cloudy pillar which guided ancient Israel.
The wonderful records of deliverance, scattered through the holy Word, are types of the final deliverance of God's people when the earth itself is destroyed, together with the workers of iniquity.
Each overthrow of nations is a symbol of the final destruction of all things at the second coming of Christ. These three witnesses, -- individual experience, national life, and the written Word, have spoken constantly; but though an angel from heaven should speak in thunder tones, men would not change.
Even during the falling of the plagues, men go on in the way of the world. Governments do their business, men seek gold and fame, nations prepare for war, and the controlling powers of earth, -- the beast and his image -- still plan the extermination of the hated, persecuted sect upon whom they lay the blame of the famine and the pestilence. As Elijah, the prophet, was called the troubler in Israel, so the commandment-keeping people are pointed out as the cause of tribulation.
The beast and his image seek to control all nations. Satan works in a way never before known. The principles which made Rome the most oppressive government, are revived and strengthened. The miracle-working power of Spiritualism adds strength to the oppression. Paganism (the dragon), the papacy (the beast), and fallen Protestantism (the false prophet); join hands. Urged on by the unclean spirits, deadly decrees are issued by this threefold union, and Satan himself appears in person. The angels loose the winds of strife; and marshaled by the great commander of the legions of darkness, the nations gather for the great battle of Armageddon. Hitherto the hand of God has controlled in battle. His voice has said, "Thus far, and no father;" and although His hand was not recognized, it has guided even heathen armies.
This is a truth plainly shown in the wars of Israel, recorded in the Old Testament.
But when the sixth plague is poured out, there is no restraining hand. The Turkish power designated as the River Euphrates, which has separated between the East and the West, gives way; and like the rushing together of mighty storm clouds, the armies of the earth, striving for the territory, meet in the valley of Jehoshaphat, -- the ancient meeting place for Egypt and Assyria, known in the Hebrew as Megiddo, and in Greek as Armageddon. The word itself means "the place of the troops," and the history of battles fought there, typifies the last great contest between nations under the sixth plague. In the days of Deborah, the prophetess, the armies of Israel fought against Jabin, the king of the Canaanites whose captain was Sisera. God wrought for Israel, and the victory called forth the song of Deborah and Barak. "The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera." In the valley of Megiddo, Josiah, king of Israel, was slain by Pharaoh Nechoh, who was passing by that valley to the stronghold of the Abyssinians on the Euphrates. The death of the Jewish king caused great lamentation, called "the mourning of Hadadrimmon"; and looking forward to the time of the end, the prophet Zechariah says, "In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddo.
While the nations are gathering for this great contest, the seventh angel pours out his vial in the air. The elements, which had heretofore mingled in giving life to man, clash together; and above the tumult, the mighty peals of thunder, and the flashes of lightning, the voice of Jehovah Himself is heard saying, "It is done." "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. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven. ... For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompences 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." "The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers. ... The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.
Who can stand before His indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him." "For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. for the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel."
"Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire." "A great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth," shakes the earth to its very foundation. "And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found."
When the wicked have no shelter, then are heard songs of deliverance from the little companies. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."
In the midst of the trouble, a peace which passeth all understanding rests upon the people of God; for they have heard the voice of God, proclaiming the hour of the Saviour's coming.
"Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel. And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones." And yet with it all, when "there fell upon men great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent," men still "blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail."
The wicked, with hearts like adamant, see not the signs of His coming, but blaspheme, and to them He comes as a thief.
During these closing scenes, heaven is active with preparations for the second coming. Christ gathers His host about Him. After the Father's voice is heard saying, "It is done," His throne moves. Upon the earth preparations are still going forward to destroy the saints. The decree has been passed, and the time is fast approaching, when with one uprising, the followers of God are to be put to death in one day. As the voice of God echoes through the earth, the earth trembles; the graves open, and those who have fallen asleep under the sealing message, come forth glorified, ready to receive the touch of immortality when Christ appears. Some of the wicked also come forth; for they who pierced Him shall see Him when He comes as King of kings.
It is at midnight that God chooses to deliver His people. Suddenly the storm ceases, the darkness disappears, and the sun bursts forth in all its glory. With blanched faces the wicked behold the small cloud in the east, -- a cloud about the size of a man's hand, which gradually increases. Songs of triumph arise from the waiting ones. "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in Him." "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing."
The advancing cloud is greeted with the words, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."
Babylon, the nation of the earth which has long made nations drunk with the wine of her fornication, comes in remembrance before God in her threefold nature, as paganism, papacy, and apostate Protestantism, and is made to drink of the wine of the wrath of God.
"Our God is a consuming fire" to all who are out of harmony with Him, but those who are spiritually one with him, are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, "And so shall we ever be with the Lord."
This time of trouble is but a short distance ahead of us. A soul longing to-day to be near the Saviour, will insure a hiding place beneath the wing of the Almighty during that time.
Page 273; Matt. 27:50, 51; Dan. 9:27; Rev. 22:11, 12; Amos 8:11, 12; Matt. 23:38.
Page 274; Eze. 33:31, 323; Acts 17:28; Job 12:10; Psa. 53:1; 2Tim. 3:8; Matt. 5:45; Job 25:3; Jas. 1:17; Isa. 4:5, 6.
Page 275; Isa. 63:4; Isa. 34:8; Gen. 1:11, 12; Rev. 16:1, 2; Joel 1:15-20; Hos. 4:3; Hab. 3:17; Jer. 9:10, 11; Hag.1:10.
Page 276; Psa. 91:7; Rev. 16:2; Rev. 7:4; Rev. 14:9, 10; John 7:37; Psa. 91:9, 10; Isa. 33:16; Neh. 9:15; Hab. 3:18; Hab. 3:19; Psa. 91:6, 7-10; Job 5:19.
Page 277; Ex. 8:22, 23; Rev. 16:3; Ex. 7:20, 21; Isa. 34:8.
Page 278; Isa. 47:11-14; Rev. 16:4-7.
Page 279; Ex. 17:6; Isa. 48:21; Psa. 105:41; Psa. 78:15, 16; Isa. 12:2-5; Isa. 33:16; 2Kings 3:17, 22; Rev. 16:6; Heb. 10:29; Mal. 3:5; Psa. 97:8; Matt. 5:45; Job 25:3; Mal. 4:2; Gen. 6:3; Isa. 33:14.
Page 280; Psa. 18:14; Zech. 9:14; Rev. 16:8, 9; Jer. 9:21; Isa. 47:11; Job 1:16; Num. 14:14; Psa. 91:1; Joel 2:3; 1Tim. 2:4; Job 33:14.
Page 281; Acts 12:23; 2Sam. 24:17; 1Cor. 1:30; Luke 21:25; Rev. 16:10, 11; Ex. 10:22, 23; 2Pet. 3:3, 4; Joel 2:2; Zeph. 3:8.
Page 282; 2Chron. 34:21; Isa. 2:20; Prov. 11:4; Neh. 9:19; 1Cor. 10:11; Luke 17:26; Jer. 51:63.
Page 283; Jer. 51:64; Luke 16:31; Rev. 13:15, 16; 1Kings 18:17, 18; Rev. 16:12-14; Rev. 19:19.
Page 284; Rev. 16:15, 16; Dan. 11:45; Judges 4:13-15; Judges 5:19; 2Kings 23:29; 2Chron. 35:23-25.
Page 285; Rev. 16:17; Psa. 98:1.
Page 286; Rev. 16:18-21; Nahum 1:1-3; Isa. 33:14.
Page 287; Joel 2:10, 11; Jude 18, 19; Rev. 16:18; Rev. 6:14; Isa. 24:16, 17; Psa. 46:1-3; Heb. 12:26-28.
Page 288; DELIVERED AT MIDNIGHT. Ex. 11:4, 5; Ex. 12:29, 31, 42; Mark 13:32-37; Matt. 25:6; Job 34:20; Psa. 119:61, 62; Nah. 1:7; Zeph. 3:17; Isa. 25:9; Psa. 20:6; Jer. 50:25, 26; Jer. 50:20; Psa. 91:14.