To execute judgment upon all
and to convince all that are
ungodly among them of all their
How comforting to the heart of believers of all ages have been those sweet words from the lips of Jesus "I will come again" -- Not conversion, not death, but as the angels told those early disciples, who were gazing up into heaven as a cloud received Him out of their sight, "This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."
Many and solemn warnings fell from the lips of Jesus concerning His returning. He emphatically states that no man knows the day nor the hour and that as a snare it shall come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. This snare is said to mean a hunter's snare that springs together making escape for the poor victim impossible.
To show the suddenness of it, He uses the lightning and the twinkling of an eye and then proceeds to give a list of signs by which we might know His coming was near, with repeated injunctions to watch lest it should find us unprepared.
He then gives us a little prayer which it would be well if every one
would make their own: "Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may
be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass,
and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21.36.
In answer to the disciples' question: "When shall these things be and what shall be the sign of Thy coming?" Jesus proceeds to give the course of this present age to the time of His coming and foremost among the sorrows which are to precede it He mentions, "Wars and rumors of wars." It is a well-known fact that during the twenty-five years preceding the world war of 1914 there had been numerous wars with but a short lull between, but these only involved the nations concerned, when suddenly there was a proclamation of war which practically involved the nations of the world and it is estimated a loss of 20,000,000 lives. Many /4/ told us "this is a war to end war," but in view of present day conditions, it would seem that the most optimistic must have relinquished that hope. Is there no key to solve the mystery of such unparalleled suffering? There surely is -- the Jew.
Counting by lunar months of 360 days, the chronology of the Jews, we find that the year 1914 ended the six thousand years since the creation and when comparison is made, it will be found that nearly all the important events of the war took place on Jewish feast days. August 1st, the day the Kaiser declared war on the Czar of Russia was the 9th of Ab in the Jewish lunar calendar, and the Jews were gathered together commemorating the destruction of their temple by Nebuchadnezzar and the second temple by Titus.
On the first day of the Feast of Lights or Dedication, December 9th, 1917, General Allenby with bowed head walked through the gates into Jerusalem, the city of the great King, without firing a gun. The Turks had two traditions, upon which they laid great stress, one was that when water was brought from the Nile the city would be taken. This was fulfilled at this time. The other was that when a prophet of God appeared before the gates, the city would fall into his hands. Their name for God is Allah and for prophet is Bey. Believing General Allenby to be that prophet they made no resistance.
Nazareth was taken on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the day that Jesus stood and promised the Holy Spirit as rivers. Eleven days after the armistice was signed with the Turks the world was electrified by the news that the great war was at an end, Armistice having been signed at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.
Then came what is known as the Balfour Declaration giving Palestine to the Jews with England as mandate and Sir Herbert Samuel as governor-general.
Who could fail to see that even the wrath of man has in this case helped
to fulfil God's great eternal purpose concerning His chosen people Israel?
The "fig-tree" has indeed began to bud, yea blossom. Summer is near. The time is not far off, when He that shall come will come and will not tarry. "And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as dew from the Lord, as showers upon the grass that tarry not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. Mic. 5.7. Even now the blue and white flag, with its two interlocking triangles, representing, according to a Jewish authority, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit protecting the spirit, soul and body of man, is floating the ocean the first time for more than two thousand years. The steamer President Arthur leaves New York for Haifa every sixty days, carrying hundreds of Jews.
Towns with modern improvements are springing up like magic and portions of the land, but recently malarial swamps, are now yielding fruits that bring the highest prices in European markets. Plans for their new temple are seen in architects' books, while the sons of Levi are being instructed in the temple sacrifices.
How sad to think that Israel is going back in unbelief and to pass through a fiery ordeal greater than any of the past, which will destroy two out of every three! Zech. 13.9.
The almost fabulous wealth of mineral resources said to be in the Dead
Sea, valued at one trillion, one hundred and ninety billion may draw all
nations to Palestine and lead to Armagedon.
Still another result of the great war was the pulling up of three great dynasties, the Romanoffs of Russia, the Hohenzollerns of Germany and the Hapsburgs of Austria besides a number of smaller principalities. Royal jewels were put up to the highest bidder, while numbers of royal birth sought to earn a livelihood in the humble occupations.
What is this but the iron giving place to the clay in the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image and removing some of Rome's opposers.
Furthermore territorial boundaries were changed by /6/ the war preparing the way for the revival of the Old Roman Empire, an event students of prophecy have been expecting as an important sign of the end of this age. This is no longer a matter of prophecy but of actual fact, each day bringing new developments, so that it cannot be long before we shall see a ten kingdom confederacy, occupying the territory of the Old Roman Empire with a man at the head whom the Word calls "The Beast."
"These (the ten kings) have one mind and shall give their power and
strength unto the beast." -- Rev. 17.13.
Another sign of the approaching end of the age was to be "earthquakes in divers places."
While this most awful of all God's judgments has in all ages been visited upon the earth, those who have made a study of the subject tell us that they are rapidly increasing. The earthquake at Tokio is so fresh in our memories that it needs no comment and fearful as was the toll of life estimated 150,000, that in the province of Kansu, China, surpassed it in horror, there being at a low estimate between two and three hundred thousand lives lost. Mountains actually disappeared, valleys were filled, the course of rivers was changed and only strenuous efforts prevented the whole region from being a great inland sea.
A clipping from a daily paper has this head-line, "QUAKE SOON TO LOSE ITS TERROR -- WILL BE FEARED NO MORE THAN A THUNDER STORM!"
It would be well if the writer would read Rev. 11.13: "And the same hour there was a great earthquake and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand, and the remnant were affrighted and gave glory to God!"
Also Rev. 16.18-21. "And there was a great earthquake such as was not seen since men were upon the earth so mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts and the cities of the nations fell. And every island fled away and the mountains were not found."
/7/ God has said He is going to shake terribly the earth and declares
it shall reel to and fro like a drunken man. Of what avail will be the
wisdom of all the seismological associations or of their "Quake proof"
buildings when God arises!
One of the signs of the last days was to be pestilence. From the time the sentence of death fell on man because of his disobedience, pain and sickness have been his sad lot. Many and varied have been the diseases with which he has been afflicted.
God's word shows us plainly who is the author of them all. Job's boils came through Satan, the woman bowed together by an infirmity, Jesus said was "bound by Satan" and it is written of Him that he "went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil."
Not infrequently cities, or even countries, have been swept by pestilences,
but it remained for the 20th century to witness one which should penetrate
every part of the world from the Esquimaux village of Labrador to the torrid
zone, taking a fearful toll of life. No race, age or station in life was
exempt from the scourge, and the loss of life is estimated as far greater
than that of the great world war.
Famines are also mentioned as among the signs of the last days. We are so accustomed to reports of great suffering that unless it is near we are not much moved, but the fact is there never was a time in the history of the world when there were so many fearful famines as now.
An extract from a dear missionary's letter gives a graphic picture of China's pitiful condition. It is headed "Shantung's Starving Millions." He writes as follows: "It is estimated that there are 9,000,000 famine sufferers in the little province of Shantung, North China. Millions of poor boys and girls are suffering and many have applied for help asking to be delivered from the awful condition they are in, but we have had to turn them away to starve /8/ because of lack of funds and room to care for them. It is pitiful to turn poor children away from your doors knowing that they will soon starve and pass out without God. To add to their sufferings there is a fearful lack of water.
This is but one of many parts of the earth where countless millions are wandering hopelessly from place to place, living on the bark of trees and sometimes even worse to satisfy the awful pangs of hunger, and when too weak to go further die by the roadside without a ray of hope for the future. A gentleman and his little son were wandering by Southern waters when the father heard a cry from his child: "Quick papa, come quick." Turning around, he beheld with horror his darling boy being carried off by a shark, only a trail of blood behind to tell of the awful tragedy. "Awful!" do you say? Yes, but what about the hundred thousand souls that are dying every day without Christ in the heathen lands?
Are we standing by the dear missionaries with our prayers and means,
who have gone down into the heathen darkness that they might bring light
and life to those who are "sitting in darkness and the shadow of death?"
It means much to be free from the blood of all men.
Daniel, to whom was given a special revelation of the course of the Gentile age to its end, tells us that in the time of the end, "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Dan. 12.4.
Practically all the modern inventions have come during the last fifty years, and have increased so rapidly that we have almost lost the power of being surprised at any new discovery.
Who would have thought we would be able to sit in our homes and listen to the voices of the world's greatest singers, reproduced through the phonograph even though the singer may have passed on? Or that we might carry on conversation with parties three thousand miles away, or read the morning news in mid-ocean? Still these things /9/ and others as marvellous are so common we receive them without any surprise.
One would be very blind to facts, not to admit that the prophecy, "Many shall run to and fro" is certainly being fulfilled.
The prophet Nahum, writing 713 B.C., and speaking of the days of "His preparation," meaning Christ's coming, declares: "The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against another in the broad ways, they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings." It is estimated that in the state of Connecticut one person in five owns one of these chariots.
Isaiah in the midst of his prophecy cries out: "Who are these that fly as a cloud and as the doves to their windows?" Is. 60.8. He might have added and whose crew are called "bird-men."
Was it chance that at the time Gen. Allenby approached Jerusalem December
9, 1917, the airplanes of the allies were hovering over the city, or was
it a fulfilling of Is. 31.5? "As birds flying, so will the Lord of Hosts
defend Jerusalem, defending also He will deliver it, and passing over,
He will preserve it."
Jesus speaking of His coming, declared, "Great signs shall there be from heaven." Luke 21.11. A few years before His birth, there appeared in the constellation Coma of the sign Virgo, a star of the first magnitude. It was situated in the head of the infant held in the arms of the virgin, and was so bright it was visible by day. The magi saw it and naming it "His star" took their course by it, till it stood over the spot where the babe lay. It continued some years after the crucifixion and then disappeared. Six months after Jerusalem was taken by Gen. Allenby and the allied armies, a new white star of first magnitude, came in sight and according to the Astronomer Royal, Sir Frank Dyson, "The new star will assuredly form one of the chief astronomical events of our time."
There have been many reliable testimonies of /10/ remarkable signs seen in the heavens within the last few years.
At different times, written on the heavens have been the words: "Jesus
is coming soon," while a cross with one hanging upon it has been seen by
numbers in different parts of the world.
The old saying that "History repeats itself" seems to hold good, for Jesus speaking of the days just before His coming says: "But as the days of Noe were so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. . . . and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." If there is one thing made plain in the Word of God, it is the total depravity of the natural man.
Each age has ended with judgment, and we are told that the present one will be no exception.
Over against the popular preaching of today "that the world is getting better," stands the inspired Word of God with such statements as the following: "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." As it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man." Man in his blindness may seek to comfort himself by such sophistries as "Man never had a fall." "If man ever had a fall it was a fall upward rather than downward." "Man is incapable of sin." "Whatever indicates the fall of man is the Adam dream." "Evil does not exist," and many more doctrines of devils, but all in vain.
In speaking of this age, Jesus compares it to that time when God saw that "the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually," and the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth."
Rom. 1.21-24 gives us the seven stages of Gentile Apostasy. "Because that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. /11/ Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things."
We are in the sixth stage and rapidly approaching the seventh. The most terrible condition an individual or nation can reach is that where "There is no fear of God before their eyes." This is true of the masses today. God's word is robbed of its sanctity and declared to be "so full of mistakes" it is unreliable; its miracles are easily explained away by natural causes, in fact, while it might have had its place in former years, it has lost its usefulness in this enlightened 20th century when we have only two subjects worthy of our consideration, namely mind and matter.
Of course from this viewpoint, the precepts of the despised book are not binding and so man left without restraint becomes a law unto himself.
No longer is the Lord's day hallowed, but shutting God out, it has become a day for feasting and pleasure.
In spite of the plain statement of Jesus: "But I say unto you that whosoever
shall put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication causeth her
to commit adultery, and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth
adultery," the divorce courts are kept busy and in many cases the parties
enter into adulterous remarriage. This is all the more hideous because
the contradicting parties are often among the professed followers of Jesus
and sometimes spiritual leaders.
Lawlessness is the spirit of the age. Beginning in the home, it has found its way into every department of life both in church and state.
Parental authority is rare, children rule their parents, instead of parents the children, thus bringing a curse instead of a blessing upon the homes.
One of the most distressing conditions of the times is that so few children know anything about obedience. This with the fact that so many are brought up without /12/ the hallowed influence of the family altar and respect for God's Word and house is filling our juvenile courts with offenders charged with the most awful crimes.
Father, mother, for whom are you training your child, Christ or Antichrist? If your child does not yield instant and complete obedience to you when you speak, you are to blame and God will hold you accountable for your shameful failure in the trust He has committed to you and instead of the blessing that fell on Abraham and his seed because he commanded his house, there will fall the curse that came on Eli and his house.
Parents, awake to your responsibility before it is too late, and your children will rise up and honor you in after years.
One of the features of the days of Noah was that violence covered the earth. We do not need to get statistics of criminal courts to prove that the same condition exists today. Life is cheap and sacrificed for the most trivial causes. People living in large cities do not think of carrying any large sum of money with them in daylight for fear of hold-ups.
They tell us the cost of crime in the U.S.A. for 1924 was ten billion.
In our large cities there is an average of one murder per day.
Still another alarming sign of the times is the condition of women. Though sin entered into the world through woman, it was also through woman the Saviour was born, while at the cross men were mocking and gambling, women were weeping.
It was a woman that carried the first Easter message and today the women who are carrying the gospel to heathen lands far outnumber the men.
The moral tone of a nation has always been greatly influenced by its women. We hear much today about the "emancipation of women" but we wonder if it would not be more fitting to call it the "degradation of women." It is written in the record of creation "Male and female /13/ created He them," and such He intended them to be each in their own sphere fulfilling the purpose for which they were created.
Among the instructions given to Moses on the fiery Mount was this: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God." Deut. 22.5. In view of these solemn words from a holy God, what of present day fashions made with a view to make her look as much like a man as possible. But when these fashions become immodest as at the present, they become a reproach to any people and a menace to morals. Someone has said, "We have had many plagues of various kinds but the last and worst has been a plague of legs." A few years ago none but lewd women would think of appearing in public in the state of undress which is the prevailing style today. O, for a band of women and girls who in word and in practice will stand against the debasing styles of today and seek to cultivate the almost forgotten virtue of modesty.
Deplorable as these things are it is even more disgraceful when women so lower themselves as to take up the degrading habits of men!
It is lamentable that our youth are wrecking themselves morally and physically by becoming slaves to cigarettes, but what can we say when the habit has become so prevalent that, with one exception, all our large female colleges have made provision for smoking? I refer to those of the U.S.A.
That it is not confined to that country is a well-known fact. Two little
girls about eleven years of age were returning home from one of the leading
educational institutions of St. John's, when one said to the other, "Oh,
I am longing for a smoke." To the surprised question "Why, do you smoke?"
she replied "Oh, yes. I smoke and mamma smokes too!"
The apostle Paul in writing of the "times and seasons" /14/ says: "For when they shall say Peace and Safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them."
If there is one thing more than another this old world is longing for it is peace. Just previous to 1914 the magnificent sum of ten million dollars was given for a peace palace to be erected at The Hague.
All the leading nations contributed costly gifts towards furnishing it. Germany gave the magnificent brazen gates, Turkey and Belgium the costly rugs and tapestries, Italy the beautiful marbles, China handsome porcelain, while England and the United States were not behind in their princely gifts. All was at last completed and the armies of the nations were drawn up to witness the signing of the peace contract which was to make war impossible. Amid the flourish of trumpets and bands of music the contract of peace was signed, but hardly was the ink dry before the world was thrown into consternation by a declaration of war that practically involved the whole world.
Since the signing of the Armistice, increasing efforts have been made to prevent another war, and each of the ten years that have elapsed have seen some new development towards universal peace. The formation of the League of Nations, the treaty of Locarno and Geneva and finally the Kellogg pact have put the nations on such a basis that once more we hear the cry "Peace and safety." In order to make it doubly sure a congress of religions has been held at which were representatives from all the religions of the world, with a view of causing them to remember the universal brotherhood of man and that they should not kill each other. All this sounds fine, but there are those who see deeper and cannot help asking, Why are there more armed men in Europe today than in 1914? Why are the nations building their gigantic boats and airplanes? Why are they getting their great bombs and poisonous gases in readiness? The United States has just launched a boat 900 feet long and capable of carrying over a hundred air planes that can be raised from her spacious decks at any point desired.
/15/ There is but one answer to all these questions and that is the
Word of God. He has said, "Then sudden destruction cometh upon them," and
all the man-made peace pacts cannot annul what God has spoken. Destruction
swift and sure is coming. O reader, are you prepared to meet your God?
Judgment is coming upon a Christ-rejecting world and only those who are
hidden away in Christ will escape.
One of the types of the Holy Spirit is water, and so throughout the Word we find frequent mention of dew, rain, springs, fountains, wells and rivers, all referring to the gracious work of the Spirit.
There are a number of references to the "Latter rain" which until recent years have not been fully understood by God's children, though some have been expecting it, as an old man who lived in Vermont used to say frequently "We have not had the latter rain yet."
James tells us: "Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it until he (it) receive the early and latter rain." Jas. 5.7.
Here he associates the latter rain with the coming of the Lord, and tells us it is to ripen up the precious fruit. In Palestine after the seed was planted in October they looked for a rain which gave the seed a good start. This was called the "early rain." Again in April there was another to ripen the grain for the harvest, known as the "latter rain."
Just before the Feast of Pentecost the elders of Israel went through the grain fields and tied a red and white ribbon on the fully ripe wheat heads, then came the reapers who gleaned these `first fruits,' as they were called and they were made into two loaves which were waved before the Lord on the day of Pentecost, a type of the Church triumphant. The rest of the grain was not gathered till the harvest time. What was done there in type is now taking /16/ place in reality. In 1905 the Christian world was electrified by reports of a mighty outpouring of the Spirit in Wales. Ministers from all over the world went to investigate and returned inspired by what they had witnessed and began to urge their congregations to pray for a similar revival. Little cards were printed and circulated everywhere with these words: "Will you pray this prayer until the answer comes -- Lord, send a revival, and begin in me."
Praying bands were formed and prayer arose as a cloud of incense to heaven for a Pentecostal outpouring the same as they had in the "upper room" described in Acts 2.
In April, 1906, the answer came -- The spirit fell upon a little company gathered for prayer in Los Angeles, and they began to magnify the Lord and speak with tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. When this was noised abroad it produced the same condition as did the advent of Jesus, "some believed, others doubted." Those who recognized it as the answer to their prayers immediately began to ask of the Lord "rain" according Zeck. 10.1. Others taking exception to the manifestations that accompanied the experience, decided they did not want it. Twenty-two years have passed and it is still "hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes."
"Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called." Not because God does not desire to baptize them, but because the rain can only fall on "mown grass," and they are not willing to meet the conditions.
The unfavorable criticism and oftentimes open opposition towards those who were seekers for this precious baptism of the Spirit only acted as a stimulus, and thousands pressed their way through and were gloriously rewarded.
There is probably not a nation where there are not some who are rejoicing in the latter rain of Pentecost.
The accompanying sign of the true Pentecostal baptism has invariably been speaking in other tongues. Many have objected to this claiming it was not needed in these /17/ days, even going so far as to declare it was of the devil. Thus has it ever been, the wisdom of God, foolishness unto men.
A gentleman much opposed to the Pentecostal baptism came to an assembly in St. John's, Nfld. During the service a woman who can neither read nor write, rose to give her testimony and ended by speaking in another language. At the close of the service the gentleman inquired who the woman was and where she had learned Portuguese. When told she had never learned it but that it was God speaking through her he was convinced, for he had understood all she had said and himself became a seeker. This is only one of many instances where the language spoken has been understood by someone present. But someone may ask, "Why is this necessary?" It would seem that Joel 2.25 is the answer: "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten." When the Church came forth from the "Upper Room" it was a holy church and endued with power. All the nine gifts of the Spirit were in operation. Wherever its members went signs and wonders followed, because the Lord was working with them. The fiercer the fires of persecution, the more converts were added to them. But there came a time when the church began to lose her purity and power, yea, the light became darkness, till in Martin Luther's time, salvation by works rather than by faith was being taught. God used this fearless man to stand against the papal world, and justification by faith was restored to the church. Later, the Weslays [Wesleys?] brought back the Bible doctrine of sanctification or heart purity; then divine healing for the body was revealed, and in 1840 the precious truth of the pre-millenial coming of Jesus was brought forth. There only remained the full baptism of the Holy Ghost with the gifts of the Spirit, and in the latter rain outpouring the church is receiving her full inheritance.
New life has entered into believers who have pressed their way through to the baptism and they have been enabled to worship God in Spirit and in truth.
/18/ The work of missions at home and abroad has been greatly extended. Those baptized have gone everywhere preaching a full gospel, the Lord working with them.
Two young men penetrated the heart of Africa a little more than ten years ago. Today there are over three hundred Pentecostal native assemblies in Luba Land, each having its own pastor and church building, and upon the first day of the week three hundred congregations gather to worship God and sing Pentecostal hymns. Cold, formal services have been transformed by the manifestations of the Spirit, thousands have been healed of incurable diseases, while greater light has been thrown on the Word of God, especially upon prophecy.
The blessed hope of the soon coming of Jesus has been made very real to those who have received the baptism. Even little children and converted heathen who have had no teaching on the subject, while under the power of the Spirit, give forth messages of Jesus soon coming and of the great distress so soon to come on the earth.
Dear Reader, can you afford to let these solemn warnings given through
the Spirit pass unnoticed?
Paul told us that in the last days doctrines of devils would be prevalent. Foremost among these is that of spiritism, which has spread alarmingly since the great war. It is reported that Spiritists are saying that communications have been received from the other world that some world-shaking event is soon sure to occur, also that a large number of people are to be supernaturally removed from this world, so that after they are taken away the world will have a chance to progress, as it cannot till they are gone. The subject of the coming of Jesus vitally concerns each one of us, and if the demons are testifying of His soon coming, it is surely time to seek for that preparation of heart and life that shall enable us to meet Him with joy. And since the Word of God tells us the present day outpouring of the Spirit is to ripen the precious fruit for His coming, is it not presumptuous to assume that we do not need it?