Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

HIS VIEWS OF PROPHECY.

What can be more natural than for man, as he looks forth upon a world where evil is everywhere present, and the marks of disorder and decay everywhere visible, to inquire whether or not this state of things shall always continue? And what inquiry can be of more interest and importance to the race than that which has respect to the age of the world in which we live? It would therefore be reasonable to conclude that God would give to man a revelation informing him in respect to subjects of such absorbing interest. And the declaration of the scripture is in strict accordance with enlightened reason, when it says, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants, the prophets." Amos iii, 7.

The object of prophecy is to forewarn the world of things to come, in time for the requisite preparation, and to inspire the people of God with fresh courage as they see the time for the full fruition of their hopes drawing nigh. No judgment has ever come upon the world unheralded; and none have ever fallen therein unwarned. And if, from the uniform dealings of God with our world in the past, we may judge of the future, then may we conclude that of the events yet to transpire, and above all, the great event in which earth's drama shall close-the ushering in of the great day of the Lord, and the coming of the Son of man-something will be known, and the world be faithfully warned thereof, ere they shall take place.

In calling attention to these things, William Miller and his associates were accused of prying into the secrets of the Almighty. From this charge, however, they needed no better vindication than the language of

Moses, in Deut. xxix, 29: "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever." Prophecy belongs to that portion of the Bible which may properly be denominated a revelation. It is designed to reveal to us things of which we could not in any other way gain information.

Again, they were met with the plea that the prophecies could not be understood. But says the Saviour, referring directly to the prophecy of Daniel, "Whoso readeth let him understand.” Matt. xxiv, 15. That many of the prophecies, such as those portions of Daniel which reach to the close of earthly governments, have not been understood, is very true. But to assert that they cannot at any time be understood, is a virtual denial that they are a portion of God's revelation to man.

The prophecy of Daniel, reaching far into the future, could not be understood by the prophet himself. Neither could it be understood by any until the time of the end, when much of it should be fulfilled. Hence the answer of the angel to the anxious inquiry of the prophet. "And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, 0 my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall, be purified and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." Chap. xii, 8-10. Again says the angel to the prophet: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Verse 4.

From the very nature of the prophecy of Daniel, it

Life Incidents.

4

was closed up and sealed till the time of the end, when, most of its prophetic history being past, it was to be unsealed, understood, and many were to run to and fro with the knowledge of the great subject upon which it treats. The result of the increase and spread of knowledge in relation to the approaching Judgment, which is the great theme of the prophecy, is also given. The wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand. But the wise shall understand. With these remarks the attention of the reader is called to

DANIEL, CHAPTER II.

The scene opens with the kingdom of Babylon, or Chaldea, at the summit of its greatness and glory, B. C. 603. Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean monarch, as it is natural for man to do, had been anxiously looking into the future, and pondering what should come to pass thereafter. Verse 29. Instead of rebuking or discouraging this spirit of inquiry in man, God takes occasion to grant to the king, and through him to the world, the information which he sought. Under the symbol of a great image he presents before him the most impressive history of the world, from that time on, that can anywhere be found. This image's head was of fine gold, symbolizing the kingdom of Babylon, then existing. In his interpretation, the prophet addressed himself to the king in the following words: "Thou art this head of gold." Verse 38. The breast and arms of silver represented Media and Persia, which shortly supplanted Babylon in the empire of the world. The belly and sides of brass prefigured Grecia, which, conquering its predecessors, enjoyed its period of universal dominion. And finally Rome, the legs of the image, bore its iron

sway over all the earth. In development of the ten toes, said the prophet: "The kingdom shall be divided" [verse 41] and so was Rome divided into ten kingdoms between the years A. D. 356 and 483. What next? The monarch beheld till a stone cut out of the mountain without hands smote the image upon its feet, ground its metallic parts to powder, became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. The inspired interpretation of this impressive scene is given thus: "In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." Verse 44.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The prophetic history of Babylon, Media and Persia, and Grecia, has long since been completed, and that of Rome also has been fulfilled, excepting the dashing in pieces to give place to the immortal kingdom of God. And mark: The stone smote the image upon the feet. And it was in the days of the kings, or kingdoms, represented by the ten toes of the image, that the God of Heaven was to set up an eternal kingdom purely his. This kingdom is not yet established. It is evident that it was not set up at the time of Christ's first advent, from the fact that Rome was not then divided into the ten kingdoms, represented by the ten toes of the image.

Paul looked forward to this kingdom in his solemn charge to Timothy in view of the Judgment at the appearing and kingdom of Christ. 2 Tim. iv, 1. For this kingdom all Christians were to pray, "Thy kingdom come.” Matt. vi, 10. James speaks of this kingdom as a matter of promise to the poor of this world, rich in faith. Chap. ii, 5.

Adventists never believed, however, that all that is said in the New Testament relative to the kingdom of

[ocr errors]

Heaven relates to the future kingdom of glory. Especially in some of the parables of our Lord does the term refer to the work of grace with the people of God in this mortal state. But if we may be allowed to express the relation between believers and their Lord in this mortal state by the term kingdom of grace, and the future relation of immortal beings with the King of kings by the kingdom of glory, the position that the kingdom was set up at the first advent is not relieved of any of its difficulties. For certainly the kingdom of grace was established immediately after the fall. Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, were as truly the subjects of the kingdom of grace as the apostles of Jesus. With this view of the subject every text relative to the kingdom can be harmonized.

It is true that both John and Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of Heaven at hand. The immortal kingdom of glory was then at hand in the sense that it was the next universal kingdom to come. In the time of the Babylonian kingdom, the kingdom of Persia was at hand. The kingdom of Greece was at hand in the period occupied by Media and Persia. And in the days of that kingdom, Rome was at hand, for it was the next kingdom to succeed. In this sense was the kingdom of Heaven at hand in the days of the ministry of John and of Christ.

DANIEL, CHAPTER VII.

In this chapter we have the same great outline of this world's history as symbolized by the image of chapter ii, again brought to view, but in a different form. The prophet here saw four great beasts, explained in verse 17 to be four great kingdoms, corresponding re

« VorigeDoorgaan »