tumultuous noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for
the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he holdeth judgment over all
flesh: he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the
saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to
nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest ends of
the earth. And the slain of
the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the
other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered nor
buried: they shall be dung upon the ground.” Jer. 25:29-38
and peculiar will be the conflict of this Day of Vengeance that no one
symbol could describe it. In
the Scriptures, accordingly, many forceful symbols are used, such as
battle, earthquake, fire, storm, tempest and flood.
is the “Battle
of that Great Day of God Almighty,” when he shall gather the
nations and assemble the kingdoms to pour upon them his indignation, even
all his fierce anger; for the Lord of hosts himself mustereth the hosts of
the battle. Rev. 16:14; Zeph. 3:8; Isa. 13:4
is “a Great
Earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so
mighty an earthquake and so great,” which shall “shake, not the earth
only, but also heaven.” Rev. 16:18; Heb. 12:26
Fire of Jehovah’s Jealousy, which shall devour all the earth.”
Both the present heavens (the ecclesiastical powers of Christendom)
and the earth (the social organization under both church and state
influence) are reserved unto fire against this day of judgment.
heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements [of present
ecclesiasticism] shall melt with fervent heat; the earth [society] also
and the works that are therein shall be burned up...The heavens, being on
fire, shall be dissolved.”
the proud and all that do wickedly shall be stubble, and this fire shall
burn them up. It shall leave
them neither root nor branch. Zeph. 3:8; 2 Pet. 3:10,12; Mal. 4:1
way is in the Whirlwind and in the Storm.”
“Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the
fierceness of his anger?” Nahum 1:3,6,7
it cometh mighty and strong from the Lord, as a Tempest
of Hail and a Destroying
Storm, as a Flood
of Mighty Waters overflowing, and shall cast down to the earth
with power the crown of pride.”
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 [symbols of the
entire present order of things] is burned at his presence; yea, the world
and all that dwell therein...With an overrunning flood will he make an
utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.”
Isa. 28:2; Nahum 1:4,5,8
these are not to be literal floods and fires, destructive of our planet
Earth, and its population, is evident from the statement (symbolic) that
the present order of things, when destroyed, will be followed by a new
order—“a new heavens [ecclesiasticism, God’s glorified Church] and a
new earth [human society reorganized under God’s Kingdom on a basis of
love instead of selfishness].”
to that new order of things after the fire of God’s retributive
vengeance shall have burned up present evils, God, through the Prophet,
will I turn to the people a pure language [the truth], that they may all
call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.”
Remarkable Types of the Impending Catastrophe
let no one conclude because these various descriptions are not literal,
but symbolic, that they may therefore represent merely a battle of words,
a quaking of fear, or a trivial storm of human passion.
For though controversy, and words of passion and arguments will be
and are among the weapons used in this battle, especially in the beginning
of it, yet it will not end with these.
prophetic detail indicates that before it ends it will be a most
sanguinary conflict, a fierce and terrible storm.
We have already observed* the
typical character of the great tribulation which came upon fleshly Israel
in the end of the Jewish age; and now, having come to the parallel
period—the harvest of the Gospel age, we see all the indications of a
similar, though much greater trouble, upon “Christendom,” its
the judgments visited upon Judea and Jerusalem were terrible in the
extreme, they were only on a small scale as compared with the great
tribulation, now fast approaching, upon Christendom, and involving the
Roman army and regular warfare caused but a small portion of the trouble
in the end of the Jewish age, noted as the most terrible on the pages of
history, and approached only by the French Revolution.
It sprang mainly from national disintegration, the overthrow of law
apparently took complete control and arrayed every man against his
neighbor—just as is predicted of the coming trouble upon Christendom (in
the midst of which the great spiritual temple, God’s elect Church, will
be completed and glorified). “Before
those days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast [see margin];
neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in, because of
the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbor.” Zech.
times have not so changed as to make such a calamity either impossible or
improbable in our day is too manifest to require proof.
But if any should be inclined to doubt it, let them call to mind
the great Revolution that only a little over a century ago brought France
to the verge of social ruin and threatened the peace of the world.
have the erroneous idea that the world has outgrown the barbarities of
earlier days, and they rest in fancied security and assume that such
calamities as have occurred in the past could not befall the world again;
but the fact is that our twentieth century refinement is a very thin
veneer, easily peeled off: sound judgment and an acquaintance with the
facts of even recent history and with the present feverish pulse of
humanity are sufficient to guarantee the possibility of a duplication of
the past, even without the sure word of prophecy, which foretells a time
of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.
the symbolic language of Revelation, the French Revolution was indeed a
“great earthquake”—a social shock so great that all
“Christendom” trembled until it was over; and that terrible and sudden
outburst of a single nation’s wrath, only a century ago, may give some
idea of the fury of the coming storm, when the wrath of all the angry
nations will burst the bands of law and order and cause a reign of
should be remembered, too, that that calamity occurred in what was then
the very heart of Christendom, in the midst of what was regarded as one of
the most thoroughly Christian nations in the world, the nation which for a
thousand years had been the chief support of Papacy.
nation intoxicated with Babylon’s wine of false doctrines in church and
state, and long bound by priestcraft and superstition, there vomited forth
its pollution and spent the force of its maddened rage.
In fact, the French Revolution seems referred to by our Lord in his
Revelation to John on Patmos as a prelude to, and an illustration of, the
great crisis now approaching.
should be observed also that the same causes which operated to bring about
that great calamity, are now operating to produce a similar, but far more
extensive revolution, a revolution which will be world-wide.
The causes of that terrible convulsion have been briefly summed up
by the historian as follows:
immediate and most effective cause of the French Revolution must be
referred to the distresses of the people and the embarrassments of the
government occasioned by the enormous expenses of the war in which France
supported the independence of the American colonies.
profligacy of the court, the dissensions of the clergy, the gradual
progress of general intelligence, the dissemination of revolutionary
principles occasioned by the American contest, and the long established
oppressions to which the masses
of the people were subjected, all contributed to the same
effect...Exhausted by oppression, irritated by the continual presence of
insulting tyranny, excited to resentment of their wrongs, and instructed
in the knowledge
of their rights, the people of France awakened to one universal spirit of
complaint and resentment.
cry of Liberty! resounded from the capital to the frontiers, and was
reverberated from the Alps to the Pyrenees, the shores of the
Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Like
all sudden and violent alterations in corrupt states, the explosion was
accompanied by evils and atrocities, before which the crimes and the
miseries of the ancient despotism faded into insignificance.”
among the causes of the revolution in France was the hostility felt toward
the privileged classes—the king, the nobles and the clergy—on account
of the disabilities and burdens which law and custom imposed on the
classes beneath them.
Land—Nearly two-thirds of the land in France was in the hands of
the nobles and of the clergy. A
great part of it was illy cultivated by its indolent owners.
The nobles preferred the gayeties of Paris to a residence on their
estates. There were many small land-owners, but they had individually too
little land to furnish them with subsistence.
The treatment of the peasant was often such that when he looked
upon the towers of his lord’s castle, the dearest wish of his heart was
to burn it down with all its registers of debts [mortgages]. The clergy
held an immense amount of land, seigniorial control over thousands of
peasants, and a vast income from tithes and other sources.
In some provinces there was a better state of things than in
others; but in general, the rich had the enjoyments, the poor carried the
and trades, although encouraged, were fettered by oppressive monopolies
and a strict organization of guilds.
government—The administration of government was both arbitrary
of respect for royalty—Respect for the throne was lost.
History (by Prof. Fisher, of Yale College), p. 497.
Essays at Reform—The efforts at political and social reform in
France and in other countries, emanating from sovereigns after the great
wars, produced a restless feeling without effecting their purpose of
Speculation—The current of thought was in a revolutionary
beliefs in religion were boldly questioned.
Political speculation was rife.
Montesquieu had drawn attention to the liberty secured by the
English constitution. Voltaire
had dwelt on human rights. Rosseau had expatiated on the sovereign right
of the majority.
of America—Add to these agencies the influence of the American
Revolution, and of the American Declaration of Independence, with its
proclamation of human rights, and of the foundation of government in
contract and the consent of the people.”
all those leading causes which culminated in the terrors of the French
Revolution we see a strong resemblance to similar conditions today which
are rapidly and surely leading to the foretold similar results on a
world-wide scale. Mark the growing animosity between the privileged
classes (royalty and aristocracy) and the working classes, the discussions
of the rights and wrongs of the people, and the decline of respect for
both civil and ecclesiastical authority.
also the revolutionary current of popular thought and expression—the
increasing dissatisfaction of the masses of the people with the ruling
powers and the institutions of government.
And if the American Declaration of Independence with its
proclamation of human rights and of the foundation of government in
contract and the consent of the people, inspired the masses of the French
with a desire for liberty and independence, it is not surprising that the
successful experiment of this government of the people and by the people,
for a century past, and the measure of liberty and prosperity here
enjoyed, are having their effect upon the peoples of the old world.
The ever-continuous tide of emigration from other countries to this
country is another evidence of the impression which this experiment has
made upon the peoples of other nations.
yet, the liberty and prosperity here enjoyed are far from satisfactory to
the people here. They crave a
still better condition and are seeking measures to attain it.
Nowhere throughout Christendom does this determination assert
itself more positively and boldly than here.
Every man is on the qui
vive to assert his real or fancied rights.
The trend of thought here, as elsewhere, is in the current of
revolution, and is daily becoming more so.
French Revolution was a struggle of a measure of light against gross
darkness; of the awakening spirit of liberty against long established
oppression; and of a measure of truth against old errors and
superstitions, long encouraged and fostered by civil and ecclesiastical
powers for their own aggrandizement and the people’s oppression.
And yet, it exhibited the danger of liberty unguided by
righteousness and the spirit of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)
A little learning is indeed a dangerous thing.
of Charles Dickens’ stories, the scene of which is laid in the troublous
times of the French Revolution, begins thus, and aptly fits the present
time, as he suggests:
was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of
wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was
the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of light, it was the season of
darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had
everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going direct
to heaven, we were all going direct the other way; in short, the period
was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities
insisted on its being received for good or for evil, in the superlative
degree of comparison only.”
we see the same causes operating throughout the world today, to produce
similar results on a more extended scale, we cannot console ourselves with
ideas of fancied security, and proclaim Peace! Peace! when there is no
peace; especially in view of the warnings of prophecy.
the light of the foretold character of coming events of this battle, we
may regard the French Revolution as only the rumbling of distant thunder,
giving warning of an approaching storm; as a slight tremor preceding the
general earthquake shock; as the premonitory click of the great clock of
the ages, which gives notice to those already awake that the wheels are in
motion, and that shortly it will strike the midnight hour which will end
the present order of affairs and usher in a new order—the Year of
Jubilee, with its attendant commotion and changes of possession.
arouse the whole world and set in operation the mighty forces which will
eventually utterly overthrow the old order of things.
the conditions are fully ripe for the great Revolution a most trivial
circumstance may serve as a match to set on fire the present social
structure throughout the whole world; just, for instance, as in the case
of the French Revolution, the first overt act, it is said, was the beating
on a tin pan by a woman whose children were hungry.
Soon an army of mothers was marching to the royal palace to ask for
bread. Being refused, they
were joined by the men, and soon the wrath of the nation was kindled and
the flames of revolution swept the whole land.
yet, so oblivious was royalty to the conditions of the people, and so
surrounded with plenty and luxury, that, even when these outbreaks came,
the queen could not comprehend the situation.
Hearing from her palace the commotion of the mob, she inquired what
it meant, and being told that the people were clamoring for bread, she
replied, “It is foolish for them to make such an ado about bread:
if bread is scarce, let them get cake,
it is cheap now.”
striking is the similarity of the present to those times, that the alarm
is being sounded by many thoughtful discerners of the signs of the times,
while others cannot realize the situation.
The cries which preceded the French Revolution were as nothing in
comparison to the appeals now going up from the masses all over the world
to those in power and influence.
Prof. G. D. Herron, of Iowa College, some years ago:
are the signs of universal change. The
race is in attitude of expectancy, straitened until its new baptism is
accomplished. Every nerve of
society is feeling the first agonies of a great trial that is to try all
that dwell upon the earth, and that is to issue in a divine deliverance
[though he fails to see what
the deliverance will be, and how
it will be brought about]. We
are in the beginning of a revolution that will strain all existing
religious and political institutions, and test the wisdom and heroism of
earth’s purest and bravest souls...The social revolution, making the
closing years of our century and the dawning years of the next the
most crucial and formative since the crucifixion of the Son of Man,
is the call and opportunity of Christendom to become Christian.”
alas! the call is not heeded; indeed is not really heard
by any but a helpless minority in power, so great is the din of
selfishness and so strong are the bonds of custom.
Only the agonies of the coming great social
earthquake—revolution—will effect the change; and in its dread course
nothing will be more manifest than the signs of the just retribution which
will reveal to all men the fact that the just Judge of all the earth is
laying “judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet.” Isa.
retributive character of the great tribulation upon fleshly Israel in the
harvest of the Jewish age was very marked; so also was that of the French
Revolution; and so it will be manifest in the present distress when the
climax is reached. The
remarks of Mr. Thomas H. Gill, in his work, The
referring to the retributive character of the French Revolution, suggest
also the retributive character of the coming trouble upon Christendom as a
whole. He says:
more deeply the French Revolution is considered, the more manifest is its
pre-eminence above all the strange and terrible things that have come to
pass on this earth... Never has the world witnessed so exact and sublime a
piece of retribution...
nation which abolished and proscribed Christianity, which dethroned
religion in favor of reason, and enthroned the new goddess at Notre Dame
in the person of a harlot, must needs have been afflicted by a very
unreasonable and very corrupt form of Christianity.
The people that waged a war of such utter extermination with
everything established, as to abolish the common forms of address and
salutation, and the common mode of reckoning time, that abhorred ‘you’
as a sin, and shrank from ‘monsieur’ as an abomination, that turned
the weeks into decades, and would know the old months no more, must surely
have had good reason to hate those old ways from which it pushed its
departure into such minute and absurd extravagance.
demolished halls of the aristocracy, the rifled sepulchres of royalty, the
decapitated king and queen, the little dauphin so sadly done to death, the
beggared princes, the slaughtered priests and nobles, the sovereign
guillotine, the republican marriages, the Meudon tannery, the couples tied
together and thrown into the Loire, and the gloves made of men’s and
women’s skins: these things are most horrible; but they are withal
eloquent of retribution:
they bespeak the solemn presence of Nemesis, the awful hand of an avenging
bring to mind the horrible sins of that old France; the wretched peasants
ground beneath the weight of imposts from which the rich and noble were
free; visited ever and anon by cruel famines by reason of crushing taxes,
unjust wars, and monstrous misgovernment, and then hung up or shot down by
twenties or fifties for just complaining of starvation: and all this for
call to remembrance the Protestants murdered by millions in the streets of
Paris, tormented for years by military dragoons in Poitou and Bearn, and
hunted like wild beasts in the Cevennes; slaughtered and done to death by
thousands and tens of thousands in many painful ways and through many
no work of the French Revolution is this, its retributive character, more
strikingly or solemnly apparent than in its dealings with the Roman Church
and Papal power. It
especially became France, which after so fierce a struggle had rejected
the Reformation, and perpetuated such enormous crimes in the process of
rejection, to turn its fury against that very Roman Church on whose behalf
it had been so wrathful,...to abolish Roman Catholic worship, to massacre
multitudes of priests in the streets of her great towns, to hunt them down
through her length and breadth, and to cast them by thousands upon a
foreign shore, just as she had slaughtered, hunted down and driven into
exile hundreds of thousands of Protestants;...to carry the war into the
Papal territories, and to heap all sorts of woes and shames upon the
defenseless Popedom...The excesses of revolutionary France were not more
the punishment than the direct result of the excesses of feudal, regal,
and Papal France...
one of its aspects the Revolution may be described as a reaction against
the excesses, spiritual and religious, of the Roman Catholic persecution
of Protestantism. No sooner
had the torrent burst forth than it dashed right against the Roman Church
property of the Church was made over to the state; the French clergy sank
from a proprietary to a salaried body; monks and nuns were restored to the
world, the property of their orders being confiscated; Protestants were
raised to full religious freedom and political equality...The Roman
Catholic religion was soon afterwards formally abolished.
unsheathed the sword of France against the helpless Pius VI...The Pontiff
sank into a dependent... Berthier marched upon Rome, set up a Roman
Republic, and laid hands upon the Pope.
The sovereign pontiff was borne away to the camp of infidels...from
prison to prison, and was finally carried captive into France.
Here... he breathed his last, at Valence, where his priests had
been slain, where his power was broken, and his name and office were a
mockery and a byword, and in the keeping of the rude soldiers of the
commonwealth, which had for ten years held to his lips a cup of such
manifest and exceeding bitterness ....
was a sublime and perfect piece of retribution,
which so amazed the world at the end of the eighteenth century; this
proscription of the Romish Church by that very French nation that
slaughtered myriads of Protestants at her bidding; this mournful end of
the sovereign pontiff, in that very Dauphine so consecrated by the
struggles of the Protestants, and near those Alpine valleys where the
Waldenses had been so ruthlessly hunted down by French soldiers; this
transformation of the ‘States of the Church’ into the ‘Roman
Republic’; and this overthrow of territorial Popedom by that very French
nation, which, just one thousand years ago, had, under Pepin and
Charlemagne, conferred these territories.
imagined that the Papacy was at the point of death, and asked, would Pius
VI be the last pontiff, and if the close of the eighteenth century would
be signalized by the fall of the Papal dynasty.
But the French Revolution was the beginning, and not the end of the
judgment; France had but begun
to execute the doom, a doom sure and inevitable, but long and lingering,
to be diversified by many strange incidents, and now and then by a
semblance of escape, a doom to be protracted through much pain and much
must expect that the approaching trouble will be no less bitter and severe
than these two illustrations, but rather more terrible as well as more
general; because (1) present day conditions render each member of the
social structure more dependent than ever before, not only for new and
increased comforts and luxuries, but also for the very necessities of
stoppage of the railroad traffic alone would mean starvation within a week
in our large cities; and general anarchy would mean the paralysis of every
industry dependent on commerce and confidence.
(2) The Lord specially declares that the coming trouble will be “such
as was not since there was a nation”—nor ever shall be hereafter. Dan.
12:1; Joel 2:2; Matt. 24:21
while there is no hope held out that this trouble can be averted, there
are instructions given in the Scriptures to such individuals as would hide
from the coming storm.
The faithful of the Church are promised deliverance before the full force
of the storm breaks.
All who love justice and pursue peace should diligently set their house in
order, as directed by the Word of the Lord, which says—“Before the
decree is brought forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before yet
there be come over you the day of the anger of the Lord, seek ye the Lord,
all ye meek of the earth who have fulfilled his ordinances: seek righteousness,
it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” Zeph. 2:2,3
all such may be awakened to the situation the Prophet Joel calls upon
those who see these things to sound an alarm, saying, “Blow ye the
trumpet, sound an alarm in my holy mountain [Christendom—professedly the
holy mountain or kingdom of the Lord], let all the inhabitants of the land
tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.” (Joel
the wicked,” says the Psalmist, God “shall rain snares, fire and
brimstone [symbols of trouble and destruction] and a horrible tempest:
this shall be the portion of their cup; for the righteous Lord loveth
righteousness.” Psa. 11:3-7
battle of this great day of God Almighty will be the greatest revolution
the world has ever seen because it will be one in which every principle of
unrighteousness will be involved; for as truly in this judgment of the
nations, as in the judgment of individuals, “there is nothing covered
that shall not be revealed, and hid that shall not be known.” (Matt.
how, even now, the searchlight of general intelligence is discovering the
secret springs of political intrigue, financial policies, religious
claims, etc., and how all are brought to the bar of judgment, and by men,
as well as by God, declared right or wrong as judged by the teachings of
the Word of God—by the golden rule, the law of love, the examples of
Christ, etc., all of which are coming into such remarkable prominence in
the discussions of these times.
battle of the great day, like every other revolutionary war, has its
stages of gradual development. Back
of every indication of strife are the inspiring causes, the real or
fancied national and individual wrongs; next comes a keen appreciation of
those wrongs by those who suffer from them; then generally follow various
attempts at reform, which, proving abortive, lead to great controversies,
wars of words, divisions, strife of opinions, and finally to revenge and
strife of arms.
is the order of the Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty.
Its general character is that of a struggle of light against
darkness, of liberty against oppression, of truth against error.
Its extent will be worldwide—peasant against prince, pew against
pulpit, labor against capital: the oppressed in arms against injustice and
tyranny of every kind; and the oppressors in arms for the defense of what
they have long considered to be their rights, even when seen to be
encroachments upon the rights of others.
Lord's Great Army
previous chapters we have noted the work of preparation for the conflict
of this evil day—the organizing, equipping and drilling of immense
armies, the building of great navies, the invention of new and wonderful
engines of war, the making of new and powerful explosives, and the
draining of the national resources in every land for purposes of military
equipment; and we have noted the mutterings of the angry nations as they
all stand armed to the teeth, scowling upon one another.
we view these millions of armed and disciplined warriors we inquire, Which
of all these mighty hosts is that army to which the prophets point as the
Lord’s great army? Can the prophetic references be to any of these?
if so, in what sense could they be considered the Lord’s army, since
none of them are actuated by his spirit?
Or can this reference be to the people of God, the soldiers of the
cross, whose weapons are described by the Apostle Paul as not carnal, but
mighty, through the pulling down of strongholds? (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
it be that “the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph.
6:17), in the hands of the people of God, who are filled with his spirit,
shall accomplish the great work of overthrowing all the kingdoms of this
world and giving them to Christ for an everlasting possession?
that it might be so! but that such will not be the case we have already
seen, both from the prophetic foreview and from the signs of the times.
On the contrary, the protests and the warnings of the righteous are
steadily ignored by the world, and the nations walk on in darkness, and in
consequence all the foundations of the earth (of the present social
structure) are out of course (Psa. 82:5), so endangering the whole social
superstructure which is now being terribly shaken.
would have healed Babylon,” says the prophet, “but she is not healed;
forsake her [‘Come out of her my people’—Rev. 18:4]; for her
judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.” Jer.
is evidently not the saints who are to constitute the Lord’s great army,
referred to by the prophets, for the overthrow of the kingdoms of this
world: nor are the weapons of their warfare sufficient to this end.
Their weapons are indeed mighty, as the Apostle says, among those
who are influenced by them.
the true people of God, who diligently apply their hearts unto
instruction, his Word is sharper than any two-edged sword, truly
“casting down imaginations [human reasonings] and every high thing that
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into capitivity
every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4,5); but not so do
the weapons of this warfare operate upon the world.
The army of the saints is, moreover, not a “great army,” but a
“little flock,” as our Lord himself designated it.
Compare Luke 12:32; Joel 2:11.
the prophetic description of this army:
great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like; neither
shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth: the
land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate
wilderness, yea, and nothing shall escape them.
appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so
shall they run. Like the
noise of chariots, on the tops of mountains [kingdoms] shall they leap;
like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong
people set in battle array.
their face the people shall be much pained; all faces shall gather
blackness. They shall run
like mighty men;
they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one
on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks.
And they do not press one another; every one on his beaten track do
they go forward: and they pass through between warlike weapons, and change
not their purpose. Into the
city they hasten forward; they shall run upon the wall; they shall climb
into the houses; through the windows they make their entrance like a
earth [the present social order] shall quake before them: the heavens [the
ecclesiastical powers] shall tremble: the sun and the moon [the
illuminating influences of the gospel and of the Mosaic law] shall be dark
[general infidelity having become widely prevalent], and the stars [the
apostolic lights (Rev. 12:1) shall be obscured] shall withdraw their
shining [the dark night will have come wherein no man can labor—John
9:4; Isa. 21:9,11,12].
the Lord shall utter his voice before his army; for his camp is very
great; for he is strong that executeth his word; for the day of the Lord
is great and very terrible, and who can abide it?” Joel 2:2-11
army of the Lord must face the terrible conditions of the evil day, when
the dread elements now preparing for the conflict, the fire, shall have
reached the climax of readiness. This army it is that under the Lord’s
overruling providence will overthrow the throne of kingdoms and destroy
the strength of the kingdoms of the nations. (Hag. 2:22)
where is there such an army? Will
it be the German army? the French, the English, the Russian or the United
great an army as is here described by the Prophet, and one which is to
accomplish such marvelous things, and that, as indicated, within the few
years that yet remain of this notable harvest period, is probably in
existence at the present time, and under some course of preparation for
the coming work of carnage. The
description of the Prophet is not of an undisciplined mob, which might be
easily dealt with by those educated in the arts of war; but it is of a
mighty host under a high degree of discipline.
then, we inquire, is there such an army, under present instruction and
training? an army before which the earth [society] shall quake and the
heavens [ecclesiasticism] shall tremble (Joel 2:10); which shall boldly
array itself against the conservative forces of Christendom, both civil
and ecclesiastical, and hope even to cope with its present strength?
is the army that in the near future will dare deny Christendom’s
time-honored doctrines, its statecraft and priestcraft? that will sullenly
ignore all its anathemas, spurn its orders, and hurl back its thunderbolts
of authority and organized power? that will face the roar of its Vesuvian
artillery, defy its missiles of shot and shell, plow through its fleets of
naval armaments, and, snatching the diadems from crowned heads, topple the
kingdoms into the midst of the sea? that will set the heavens on fire, and
melt the earth with fervent heat, thus making one vast universal wreck of
the old order of things as predicted by the prophets?
such an army is coming into existence and preparing for the desperate
conflict we are none the less forcibly assured by the signs of the times
than by “the sure word of prophecy.”
And it is the recognition of this fact (without any reference to or
knowledge of the word of prophecy that is now filling the heart of
Christendom with fearful foreboding, and impelling statesmen everywhere to
take extraordinary measures for protection and defense.
in these very measures for self-defense devised by “the powers that
be,” there is probably a snare which they do not realize.
The armies upon which they depend for defense, be it remembered,
are the armies of the common people: these millions of disciplined
warriors have wives and sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and
cousins and friends in the ranks of the common people, with whose
interests their own are linked by nature’s strong ties; and their
service of thrones and kingdoms is only secured by imperative orders, and
made endurable by a remuneration which they are fast coming to consider as
no satisfactory compensation for the hardships and privations which they
and their families must undergo, not to mention perils to life and limb
and health and fortune.
by year these armed hosts are less and less infatuated with the
“glory” of war, more keenly alive to its sufferings and privations,
and less and less devoted to the sovereign powers that command their
services, while the armies of toilers, of the common people at home, are
becoming more and more irritated and dissatisfied with their lot, and more
and more apprehensive of the future.
of these things are indications of at least a possibility that in the
crisis approaching the mighty armed and disciplined hosts of Christendom
may turn their power against the authorities that called them into being,
instead of to uphold and preserve them.
That such a possibility has not been entirely unthought of by the
rulers is witnessed by the fact that in Russia, when the famine prevailed,
and led to riots among the common people, the facts concerning it were
diligently kept from their friends and brothers in the Russian army, and
the soldiers detailed for the suppression of the riots were from remote
what conditions and circumstances will be used of the Lord as his
“voice” of command to marshal this mighty army we may not now be able
to clearly surmise; but we live in a day which makes history rapidly; and
on general principles it would not be unreasonable to expect movements in
this direction at any time.
in our previous studies (Vols. II and III) we have seen that God has a set
time for every feature of his plan, and that we are even now in this
“Day of Vengeance,” which is a period of forty years; that it began in
October, 1874, and will end very shortly. The ominous years already past
of this “day” have certainly laid a broad and deep foundation in
church, in state, in finances and in social conditions and sentiments for
the great events predicted in the Scriptures.
are already overshadowing the world, and are as sure to come as that they
are foretold. A very few
years would seem to be abundant space for their full accomplishment.
Already “men’s hearts are failing them for fear and for looking
after [forward to] those things coming upon the world.”
prophecies brought to our attention and publicly proclaimed since the
beginning of this “Day of Vengeance” are rapidly culminating; and, as
shown in the preceding chapters, all men are able to see something of the
dark outlines of the trouble coming closer and closer until now,
apparently, society is like a tinderbox all ready for the match—like a
powder magazine, ready for explosion any moment—like an organized army,
ready for the assault at the word of command.
But Shakespeare truly wrote:
is a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough hew them how we will.”
in general is unconscious of the Lord’s interest in this battle: and
almost all the contestants gird on the armor for personal and selfish
interests in which they rightly realize the Lord could not share; and
hence, while all on every side are ready to invoke the Lord’s blessings,
few count on it—all seem to rely upon themselves—their organization,
will be more surprised than the “powers of the heavens,” the great
ones of present ecclesiastical control, who, going about to establish a
plan of their own for the Lord, have neglected his plan as revealed in his
Word. To these the Lord’s work of the next few years will indeed be a
work.” Hear the Lord’s
Word on this subject:
Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley
of Gibeon; that he may do his work, his strange
work; and bring to pass his act, his
strange act... For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a
consumption [an expiration, a consummation] even determined upon the whole
earth.” Isa. 28:21,22
social system, “the earth,” “the elements,” “the course of
nature,” cannot be set on fire until the Lord permits the match to be
struck: the great decisive battle cannot begin until the great
“Michael,” “the Captain of our salvation,” stands forth and gives
the word of command (Dan. 12:1), even though there will previously be
frequent skirmishes all along the lines.
the great Captain informs his royal legion, the Church, that the
catastrophe, though imminent, cannot occur until “the King’s Own,”
the “Little flock,” “the Elect,” have all been “sealed” and
let us remember the Apostle’s inspired description of this
trouble—that it will be as travail upon a woman with child, in spasms or
throes of trouble, with shortening intervals between.
It has been just so thus far; and each future spasm will be more
severe, until the final ordeal in which the new order will be born in the
death-agonies of present institutions.
as the Lord has generally let the world take its own course in the past
six thousand years—except in the case of Israel—his interference now
will seem all the more peculiar and “strange” to those who do not
understand the dispensational changes due at the introduction of the
in this “battle” he will cause the wrath of men (and their ambition
and selfishness) to praise and serve him, and the remainder he will
restrain. With much
long-suffering he has permitted the long reign of sin, selfishness and
death because it could be overruled for the trial of his elect Church, and
in teaching all men “the exceeding sinfulness of sin.”
seeing that the world in general despises his law of love and truth and
righteousness, he purposes a general discipline before giving the next
lesson, which will be a practical illustration of the benefits of
righteousness, under the Millennial Kingdom of his dear Son.
the Lord forbids his people to fight with carnal weapons, and while he
declares himself to be a God of peace, a God of order and of love, he also
declares himself to be a God of justice, and shows that sin shall not
forever triumph in the world, but that it shall be punished.
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom. 12:19;
when he rises up to judgment against the nations, taking vengeance upon
all the wicked, he declares himself “a man of war” and “mighty in
battle,” and having a “great army” at his command.
And who can give assurance that the multitudes who now compose the
marshalled hosts of Christendom will not then constitute the great army
that will throw its mighty force against the bulwarks of the present
social order. Exod. 15:3; Psa. 24:8; 45:3; Rev. 19:11; Isa. 11:4; Joel
Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man
of war: he shall cry, yea roar: he shall prevail against his enemies.”
The cry and roar of his great army, and their success in
accomplishing his purpose of revolution, he thus attributes to himself;
because they are accomplishing, though ignorantly, his work of
destruction. He says: “I have long time holden my peace; I have been
still and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman: I will
destroy and devour at once.” Isa. 42:13,14
in the Scriptures there are also intimations that there may be others
beyond the revolting hosts of Christendom who will also form a part of the
Lord’s great army. And the
Lord, through the Prophet Ezekiel, referring to this same time, and to the
approaching calamities of Christendom, says:
I will give it into the hands of
the strangers for a prey, and to the
wicked of the earth for a spoil: and they shall pollute it...Make
a chain [bind, unite them together; let them make a common cause], for the
land is full of bloody crimes, and the city [Babylon, Christendom] is full
of violence. Wherefore I will bring the
worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will
also make the pomp of the great to cease, and their honored places [their
sacred places, their religious institutions, etc.] shall be defiled.”
may be understood to signify that the uprising of the masses of
Christendom in anarchy will, during the prevalence of lawlessness, be so
extremely brutal and savage as to outrival the barbarities of all heathen
invasions—as was the case in the French Revolution.
Or it may signify an uprising of the peoples of India, China and
Africa against Christendom—a suggestion already made by the public press
anent the revival of Turkey and the uprising of the millions of Mahometans.
opinion, however, is that “the worst of the heathen” are those in
Christendom who are “without God” and without Christian sentiments or
hopes; who hitherto have been restrained and held in check by ignorance,
superstition and fear, but who in the dawn of the twentieth century are
rapidly losing these restraining influences.
Lord, by his overruling providence, will take a general charge of this
great army of discontents—patriots, reformers, socialists, moralists,
anarchists, ignorants and hopeless—and use their hopes, fears, follies
and selfishness, according to his divine wisdom, to work out his own grand
purposes in the overthrow of present institutions, and for the preparation
of man for the Kingdom of Righteousness. For this reason only it is termed
great army.” None of his saints—none who are led by the spirit of God
as sons of God are to have anything to do with that part of the
Conditions of This Battle Unprecedented
to the predictions of the prophets the conditions of this battle will be
without historic precedent. As
already suggested, this final struggle is graphically portrayed in symbols
in the forty-sixth Psalm. (Compare
also Psa. 97:2-6; Isa. 24:19-21; 2 Pet. 3:10.)
The hills (the less high, less autocratic governments) are already
melting like wax; they still retain their form, but as the earth (society)
gets hot they yield to its requirements, little by little coming down to
the level of popular demand. Great
Britain is a good illustration of this class.
mountains (representing autocratic governments) will be “shaken” by
revolutions, and ultimately “carried into the midst of the sea”—lost
utterly in anarchy. Already
“the sea and the waves roar” against the bulwarks of the present
social system: ere long the earth (the present social structure) will reel
and totter as a drunken man, vainly endeavoring to right itself, maintain
a footing and re-establish itself: by and by it will be utterly
“removed,” to give place to the “new earth” (the new social order)
wherein righteousness, justice, will prevail.
will be impossible to re-establish the present order,
because it has evidently outlived its usefulness, and is inequitable under
because of the general diffusion of secular knowledge;
because the discovery that priestcraft has long blinded and fettered the
masses with error and fear will lead to a general disrespect for all
religious claims and teachings as of a piece with the discovered
because religious people in general, not discerning that God’s time has
come for a change of dispensation, will ignore reason, logic, justice and
Scripture in defending the present order of things.
will be of little consequence then that the ecclesiastical heavens (the
religious powers, Papal and Protestant) will have rolled together as a
scroll. (Isa. 34:4; Rev. 6:14) The
combined religious power of Christendom will be utterly futile against the
rising tide of anarchy when the dread crisis is reached.
that great army “all the host of heaven [the church nominal] shall be
dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll [the two
great bodies which constitute the ecclesiastical heavens; viz., Papacy and
Protestantism, as the two distinct ends of the scroll are even now rapidly
approaching each other, rolling together, as we have shown]; and all their
host shall fall down [fall off, drop out; not all at once, but gradually,
yet rapidly] as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig
from the fig tree” (Isa. 34:4); and finally these “heavens, being on
fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements [of which they are composed]
shall melt with fervent heat.” 2 Pet. 3:12
they be folden together as thorns [for Protestantism and the Papacy can
never perfectly assimilate; each will be a thorn in the other’s side],
and while they are drunken as drunkards [intoxicated with the spirit of
the world], they shall be devoured [they shall be overwhelmed in the great
tribulation, and, as religious systems, be utterly destroyed] as stubble
fully dry”; for the Lord “will make an utter end: affliction shall not
rise up the second time.” Blessed promise!
behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven: and all the proud, yea,
and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall
burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither
root nor branch [for further development].” Nahum 1:9,10; Mal. 4:1
Time of Jacob's Trouble"
the trouble and distress of this day of the Lord will be first and
specially upon Christendom, and eventually upon all nations, the final
blast, we are informed by the Prophet Ezekiel (38:8-12), will be upon the
people of Israel regathered in Palestine.
prophet seems to indicate a much larger gathering of Israel to Palestine
within this harvest period than has yet taken place.
He represents them as gathered there out of the nations in great
numbers, and, with considerable wealth, inhabiting the formerly desolate
places; and all of them dwelling safely at the time when the rest of the
world is in its wildest commotion. Ezek. 38:11,12
men are witnesses to the fact that such a gathering of Israel to Palestine
is begun, but it is quite manifest that their exodus from other lands will
have to receive some great and sudden impulse in order to accomplish this
prophecy within the appointed time. Just
what that impulse will be remains yet to be seen; but, that it will surely
come is further indicated by the words of the Prophet
the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord
liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
but the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land
of the north [Russia?], and from all the lands whither he had driven them:
and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their
I will send for many fishers, and they shall fish them; and after will I
send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and
from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
For mine eyes are upon all their ways; they are not hid from my
face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes...I will cause them to
know my hand and might; and they shall know that my name is Jehovah.”
the Lord is abundantly able to accomplish this we have no doubt.
In every nation the question, “What shall be done with the
Jew?” is a perplexing one, which, in some crisis of the near future
brought about suddenly by the Lord’s overruling providence, will
doubtless lead, as indicated by the prophet, to some concerted action on
the part of the nations for promptly conveying them to the land of
as they went out of Egypt in haste, with their cattle and goods, and aided
by the Egyptians who said, “Rise up and get you forth from among my
people,...also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be
gone”; and as the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the
Egyptians, so that they gave them whatsoever they required, of silver and
gold and raiment (Exod. 12:31-36), so in the next exodus, foretold by the
prophets, they will not be sent away empty, but apparently some pressure
will suddenly be brought to bear upon the nations which will result thus
favorably to Israel, so fulfilling the above prophecy of Ezekiel.
enterprising race, once re-established in the land of promise, and thus
separated, for a time at least, from the distress of nations so prevalent
everywhere else, will quickly adapt itself to the new situation, and the
hitherto desolate places will again be inhabited.
yet one more wave of anguish must pass over that chastened people; for,
according to the prophet, the final conflict of the battle of the great
day will be in the land of Palestine.
The comparative quiet and prosperity of regathered Israel near the
end of this day of trouble, as well as their apparent defenseless
condition, will by and by stimulate the jealousies of and invite their
plunder by other peoples.
when law and order are swept away Israel will finally be besieged by hosts
of merciless plunderers, designated by the prophet as the hosts of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38), and great will be the distress of defenseless Israel.
“Alas!” says the prophet Jeremiah, “for that day is great, so that
none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be
saved out of it.” Jer. 30:7
one man the hosts of Gog and Magog are represented as saying, “I will go
up to the land of unwalled villages, I will go to them that are at rest,
that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither
bars nor gates.” “Thou wilt go,” says the prophet, “to take a
spoil and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that
are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the
nations, which have gotten cattle and goods and that dwell in the midst of
the land.” (Ezek. 38:11-13)
prophet foretelling these events as though addressing these hosts, says,
“Thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts [Europe and Asia
are north of Palestine], thou and many people with thee, all of them
riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army: And thou shalt come
up against my people of Israel as a cloud to cover the land; it
shall be in the latter days [apparently the closing scene of the
day of trouble], and I
will bring thee against my land, that the nations may know me,
when I shall be sanctified in thee [set apart, distinguished as thy
conqueror], O Gog, before their eyes.” Ezek. 38:15,16
the midst of the trouble God will reveal himself as Israel’s defender as
in ancient times, when his favor was with them nationally.
Their extremity will be his opportunity; and there their blindness
will be removed.
read, “For I will gather all nations [as represented in the hosts of Gog
and Magog] against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and
the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half the city shall go
forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off
from the city. Then shall the
Lord go forth and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day
of battle.” (Zech. 14:2,3)
(28:21), referring to the same thing, instances the Lord’s deliverance
of Israel from the Philistines at Perazim, and from the Amorites at Gibeon,
saying, “For the Lord shall rise up as
in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as
in the valley of Gibeon.” See
2 Sam. 5:19-25; 1 Chron. 14:10-17; Josh. 10:10-15—how God was not
dependent upon human skill or generalship, but fought his battles in his
own way. So in this great
battle God will bring deliverance in his own time and way.
Ezekiel’s prophecy (38:1-13) the Lord names the chief actors in the
struggle in Palestine; but we may not be too positive in our
Meshech, Tubal, Gomar, Togomar, Javan and Tarshish were names of children
of Noah’s son Japheth—supposed
to be the original settlers of Europe.
and Dedan were descendants of Noah’s son Ham—supposed
to be the original settlers of northern Africa.
Abraham and his posterity (Israel) were descendants of Noah’s son
and are supposed to have settled Armenia