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THE DAY OF THE LORD
“The great day of His wrath is come, who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6:17
“The day of the Lord” is a scriptural name for a period of time, during which the Gospel and Millennial ages lap; the one ending, the other commencing. Concerning it we read—”Shall not the Day of the Lord be darkness and not light, even very dark, and no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:20.) “Ho (improperly translated woe; see Young’s translation) you that desire the Day of the Lord: The Day of the Lord is darkness and not light.” (vs. 18.)
It is “The great day of His wrath.” This dark day is at once the closing scene of the night of weeping, and the dawn of the morning of joy. We desire your attention not merely to the Scripture evidence that there will be such a day, or time, but especially to the events that will transpire during that day, and their chronological order.
This time of trouble comes first upon the nominal church. We read, “The harvest is the end of the world” (age). It includes the sifting of the true wheat from among the tares in the nominal church, and the burning of the tares. This work has been rapidly progressing in our midst during the past seven years. The sickle of truth has been gathering and separating from the world, the truly consecrated children of God who faithfully follow the leading of truth, and such shall be accounted worthy to escape the tribulation coming (Luke 21:36), while lukewarm and merely nominal Christians shall share it with the world.
This separation of truth from error, and of truth-seekers from time honored systems of error, brought about by the unfolding of truth now due to the household of faith, causes great trouble and final overthrow to those systems. The light reveals and condemns the darkness, and the real “children of light” rejoice in it, while those not in the light “weep and lament,” as foretold in Rev. 18. The tottering and overthrow of the nominal church is the beginning of the trouble on the world, since the interests of the church and world are so closely linked. The Church, both Papal and Protestant has exerted a mighty influence upon the masses of the people, and has greatly aided governments in controlling them. Therefore the great, the mighty, and the rich, will weep and lament her fall.
The trouble of the nations during “the Day of the Lord,” is a natural consequence of the transfer of authority and rulership from the Devil, who is the prince of this world—age (John 14:30), to “Him whose right it is”—Christ—who, in the beginning of the Millennial Age, “takes to himself His great power and reigns;”—”And the nations were angry and thy wrath is come,” read along connectedly. Rev. 11:17.
Unquestionably the kingdoms of this world are loyal to their prince. They are mainly controlled by evil, selfish, corrupt men, the agents and representatives of the “Prince of Darkness,” who do his will. When the new Prince takes control, the dominion is to be given into new hands, and the Lord proclaims: “I will overthrow the throne of the kingdoms and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the Gentiles.” Hag. 2:22.
Thus by “breaking in pieces”—throwing down—”the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ,” “and he shall reign forever.” Rev. 11:15. Under the new rule there will be new rulers, and we read, “The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, (dominion) and possess the kingdom forever,” Daniel 7:18. “All peoples, nations and languages shall serve Him.” At present they do not, and they must be brought to submission by chastisement; and this is accomplished in “The day of the Lord.” The overthrow of nations and society will necessarily involve individual trouble. But, when the judgments of the Lord are in the Earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Isa. 26:9.
This trouble is graphically described by the Prophet: “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. 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.” Zeph. 1:15,18. “Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent.” Zeph. 3:8,9.
So extreme is the trouble here described, that the world is symbolically said to be burned up by the Lord’s anger—yet it has a good effect, for after all the indignation against, and destruction of governments, the people remain [The destruction is that of government life,] and having experienced the misrule of the “Prince of this World” they are prepared to have the Lord take His great power and reign, and to “serve the Lord with one consent.”
We expect that this distress and trouble, will all come about in a very natural way. Very many Scriptures seem to teach that the kingdoms of the earth will be overthrown by a rising of the people, goaded to desperation by the oppression of unjust governments. Such a rising and overturning, Socialists, Communists, and Nihilists of to-day are organizing for, and will gladly bring about when they can.
Now, while Scripture recognizes wrong and oppression as existing in the nations, and foretells this as the way in which they will be overthrown, and says: “Go to now ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you; ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold the hire of the laborers, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth.” Jas. 5:1.—yet it does not recognize this Communism as right, but the contrary, rather instructing believers to “obey the powers that be” as long as they last, saying to us—be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming (presence) of the Lord.”
Rev. 6:15, figuratively describes that time of falling of kingdoms when every mountain (kingdom) and island shall be moved. The kings and chief ones as well as bondmen will recognize in this trouble that “The great day of his wrath is come,” and will seek to be covered and protected by the great mountains (kingdoms) of earth, and to be hid in the great rocks of this world (secret societies). But they shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s anger, for all the kingdoms of the world shall be thrown down, and instead of these mountains (kingdoms) “the kingdom of the Lord becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth.” Daniel 2:35,45.
Malachi 4:1, describes the coming day of trouble and sees the anger of the Lord there displayed—”the fire of God’s jealousy.” “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.” Here the wicked are symbolized by stubble, God’s wrath by fire, and the righteous by “calves of the stall.” vs. 2.
Peter (3:10,12) describes this “Day of the Lord,” and under symbol of heavens, refers to the governments. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, [overthrow of governments with great confusion] and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. The earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” [The elements of the (heavens) governments as well as of (earth) society in general, will be dissolved in the great trouble (fire) of that day. The word here translated elements is the same that Paul uses in speaking of “the beggarly elements” of this world. [Gal. 4:9.]
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Scripture teaches that in the Millennial age fleshly Israel will be the chief nation, “the joy of the whole earth.” And we find that whilst other nations fall during the day of the Lord, they gradually come into prominence until in the latter part of that “day of wrath;” when “the battle of the great day” is fought, we find Jerusalem safely inhabited, her people having much cattle and goods. (Ezek. 38:12.) They will doubtless go to Palestine, not through respect to promises of God, nor with the expectation of restoration to national power, but with true Jewish perception they will realize before others the dangers to which property, etc., will be exposed during this overthrow of order; and they will choose to be far away from the strongholds of communism. Yet even there they will not be entirely secure, for God and his bands say, “Come, let us go up to take a spoil and prey,” and they come against Jerusalem a great company to pillage and rob the wealthy Jews there gathered from all quarters of the globe. (Ezek. 38:8,12.)
Zech. (14:1,4) describes the battle then fought. “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken and the houses rifled, and half of the city shall go forth into captivity.” Here God interposes and defends them, and here they come to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, for “the Lord my God shall come, and all thy saints with thee.”
In Zech. 12:3, God declares that he will deliver them, “though all the people of the earth be gathered against them.” Verse 10 describes the recognition of him whom they have pierced, and their sorrow when, in that day, God “pours upon them the spirit of grace and supplication.”
Here are a number of events: The “time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation,”—the return of the Jews to Palestine and the reorganization of the Jewish nation, though not independent—the gathering of great wealth to Jerusalem, which tempts the hordes of Gog, Togomar, and many peoples, to go up “to take a spoil”—”the battle of the great day of God Almighty,” fought at Jerusalem—the partial success of the invaders, and in the hour of darkness to the Jew, the power of Messiah manifested, in some way effecting their deliverance and their recognition of the long waited for Messiah, with the cry, “Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him and he will save us.” Then they will recognize him as the one whom they had once rejected, and as they look upon him “whom they have pierced” when God will “pour upon them the spirit of grace and supplication,” and they shall mourn for their sin, and be accepted again into fellowship with God. The Day of the Lord is “the day of Jacob’s trouble, but he (Israel) shall be saved out of it.” These events we expect in about the order mentioned. We believe that the word of God furnishes us with indubitable proof that we are now living in this “Day of the Lord,” that it began in 1874, and is a day of forty years’ duration, as was “the day of temptation in the wilderness,” when Israel proved God, and saw his works “forty years.” (Heb. 3:9.)
And it is astonishing how very rapidly these things, once looked at as absurd and impossible, are becoming realities. When we, with a few others, declared these things a few years ago, and called attention to the fact that Scripture taught that this trouble would be occasioned by a rising of the people and the overthrow of governments—Communism—the idea was ridiculed. Communism was at that time little known or felt; but to-day every nation is in dread, and Nihilism, Communism, and Socialism are household words, and we see “men’s hearts failing for fear and for looking after those things coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven (governments) shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26.)
Of recent years the Jew has been coming into prominence, furnishing the world as capitalists and statesmen, such names as Rothschild, Disraeli, Gambetta, and Montefiero, while yet more recently, complications of other nations are placing the control of Palestine in the hands of Hebrews, and opening it to them as a people for their home, whither the poorer classes are now flocking in great numbers from Russia, where one-third of the race are said to reside. And what can be more probable than that the wealthy ones, as already suggested, should flee there to escape the anarchy and insecurity of earth’s falling empires?
Thus there is abundant evidence for all who will “take heed to the sure word of prophecy,” and who are found watching for its fulfillment, that the Day of the Lord is indeed upon us—”Who shall be able to stand?” “Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments.”
— October And November, 1882 —