4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
We can see how from a divine point of view this must be the case. We cannot give anything to God in the absolute sense, since all things are His. The munificence of the intention must be the measure of all offerings to Him.
Judged by this rule, the widow gave more than the rich, because she gave more in proportion. By the same rule, it is in the power of the poorest to be large doers for God though their gifts may be paltry by human comparisons.
"It is reckoned according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."
(1 Cor 8: 12)
Nazareth Revisited Ch 50
5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
They had recently been renovated by Herod, and according to Josephus, they were enriched by the expensive ornaments of worshippers from all lands. Built of marble and spiked with gold, it looked, say they who saw it, like a glittering pile of snow.
The Jews took a pride in it; so did the disciples who at this time shared the feelings of the nation. The response of Christ was not at all in harmony with the national feeling.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 50
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
WE must fervently pray God to free us from our illusions and delusions. He sometimes does it roughly, but it is wholesome and beneficial. How we tend to make special rules and exceptions for ourselves, and give new, excusing definitions to sin and folly! But God's holy laws are impartial for all, and wisdom will not seek to bend them for personal gratification or self-justification.
We must seek the divine blessing of the ability of searching impartiality and honesty in our necessary, constant self-examination. It is grimly interesting and amusing to see how deceptive our minds can be, and how contrary to our true and larger well-being.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
...that is, the occurrence of these great tribulations, instead of being a damper and a discouragement to them in the work which they would have in hand as witnesses for him, would be a confirmation to them that they were in the right way; because they would be a fulfilment of the word which he was now speaking to them; and would strengthem them to endure.
They would be specially helped in the rigours that would assail them. Jesus himself would help them, though invisible to them.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 50
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
[The] saints, [firstfruits of the apostolic preaching] as the Star-Angel of the Ecclesia in Rome (Apoc. 1:20) were infallible teachers and rulers, whose infallibility was not of themselves, but of Holy Spirit ministered to them by Peter and the Eleven. This guided them into all the truth, and brought all things to their remembrance; so that thus they acquired a mouth and wisdom from Christ, which all their adversaries were not able to gainsay or successfully to resist
19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
We must be very careful about attempting to prophesy, and about over-emphasising passing events. There are many zigs and zags in the development of the Purpose. Just a few years ago, prominent brethren in another group were confidently saying in their official magazine that bro. Thomas was wrong, and Russia could not possibly be King of the North, because of her 'Pact of Eternal Friendship' with Egypt. Very soon after, that pact went the way of all human pacts.
Exactly 100 years ago, the Brotherhood had every reason to believe the end was upon them. The temporal power of the Pope had recently ended-the 1260-year period of power to persecute-just when expected. Russia was furiously driving against the tottering Turkish Empire with the full weight of its armed might. Europe was favouring Russia, because of religious sympathy and envy of Britain's power. Britain opposed the Russian advance, and had drawn a line at Constantinople beyond which it dared Russia to go. Turkey held the Holy Land, where Russian and Catholic interest was strong. The Jews were stirring toward political life, and had begun to return.
But it was not the end. All the Signs they saw were correct, but had to get far bigger and more prominent: Israel, Russia, war, violence, immorality, human knowledge and travel and pride, world turmoil and discontent, etc. Britain and Europe had to be weakened, and shrink tremendously on the world scene: the German and Austrian empires broken up-all fading before the dreadful superpower of Russia. *
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
The notion that the duration of the abomination was to be dated from A.D. 70, is derived from the English version of Daniel twelfth chapter and eleventh verse. It is there written,
"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate be set up, there shall be 1290 days''.
In the Hebrew the italic words are not in the text. Leaving out these words, or rather, giving a more literal version without supplying any words at all, the passage appears intelligible enough.
"And at the time of vengeance the daily shall be taken away, in order to set up an abomination that maketh desolate a thousand two hundred and ninety days."
This rendering agrees with the facts in the case. The daily was taken away at the time of vengeance (Luke 21:22), and 461 years after, an abomination was set up which continued 1290 years, ending A.D. 1821. Desolation, it is true, still continues, but this is no objection to their termination then.
We are not to suppose that the 1290 years being ended, internal improvement was to begin the year after. All it justifies is the expectation that when they expired "that that is determined" should begin to be "poured out upon the desolator;" an expectation that has been literally verified in the opening of the sixth vial upon the Ottoman empire in the epoch of 1820-3.
Elpis Israel 3.4.
`21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
(on the east side of the Jordan: which ecclesiastical history tells us they did -- escaping to Pella).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 50
Disciples of the faithful class would observe the tokens and keep themselves in harmony with the work to be done; others would say they saw nothing divine in the public affairs of the time, but the mere natural workings of things as they had always been.
The watching class would point to the drift of things as antagonistic to the Jews: the others would have it in their power to point to cases in which the Jews got the upper hand-particularly as the great crisis itself approached, when Cestius, the Roman general, was overpowered and driven out of the country, and the whole nation rose in a war of independence.
It is instructive to look back and see how amid all the vicissitudes of public affairs, the day of vengeance slowly crept over Israel by natural means, and at last broke into destructive fury and obliterated almost the very existence of Israel from the earth.
The Ways of Providence - Ch 24.
The Roman Emperors
Galba, A. D. 68 to 69, was elected to the throne during Nero's life, but endeavouring to check the licentiousness of the army and prætorian guards, who had raised him to so dangerous an eminence, he was murdered by the soldiers, after a reign of seven months.
Otho, A. D. 69, plotted against the life of his predecessor, and was the companion of the early debaucheries of Nero. He was invested with the imperial purple by the legions in Spain. But he was scarcely acknowledged at Rome, before the legions in Germany elected a competitor. Supported only by the prætorians and an undisciplined crowd, he was defeated by Vitellius, his rival, and committed suicide, after reigning three months and five days.
Vitellius, A. D. 69, trod in the steps of his patron Caligula. He consumed in mere eating with his associates, at least 30,000,000 of dollars, in about seven months. He was severe toward his enemies. He was put to death while preparing to meet Vespasian, who had been proclaimed emperor by the Roman legions in Palestine, where he was spreading his toils around Jerusalem. He reigned seven months.
Vespasian ascended the throne, A. D. 69, from a region in which "there was great tribulation" at the consummation of which, astonishment seized the world.
"There was great distress in the land of Israel, and wrath upon the people."
He had been sent thither by the emperor, to quell the insurrection which had spread to Syria, Egypt, and the neighboring states. For five or six years past there had been "wars and commotions."
"Nation had risen against nation, and kingdom against kingdom."
There had been "great earthquakes in divers places, famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs from the (political) heaven" of the empire.
"Upon the earth there was distress of nations, with perplexity."
Blood was shed in the streets of Rome in civil tumult; the splendid temple of Jupiter on the Capitol was consumed by fire; Gaul was in rebellion; the frontiers were threatened by the Germans on the Rhine, and by the Parthians on the Euphrates. Under Claudius Felix, who trembled before Paul, Judea began to be filled with robbers and murderers. Gessius Florus, A. D. 64, the worst of the Roman governors, was tyrannical, cruel, and insatiably avaricious. He caused
"men's hearts to fail them for fear, and for looking after those things which were coming upon the land; for the powers of the heavens were shaken."
He murdered 3,000 people in Jerusalem, 20,000 at Cæsarea, 2,000 at Ptolemais, and 2,500 at Ascalon; but when he carried his insolence so far as to attempt with his soldiers, to "stand in the Holy Place, where he ought not," the fury of the people was aroused; and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who did not remember the warning Jesus gave them in his prediction of these sorrows, and depart from the city, rose in arms against him, and took possession of Jerusalem.
Cestius Gallus, the prefect of Syria, who endeavored to recover the capital, was defeated with great loss. The Christ[adelphian] Jews, who still remained, having at length "seen the city encompassed with armies" of Roman legions, and thereby knowing that "the desolation thereof was nigh" of a truth, took advantage of the retreat of Cestius, and withdrew to Pella beyond the Jordan, where they lived in peace, free from the horrors of the war raging around the Holy City.
In 67, Vespasian was sent with 60,000 men to crush the rebellion. After subduing the revolted provinces, he was concentrating the Roman "Eagles" a second time around The Holy, when, as already noticed, he was elected emperor; and departing for Rome, left his son Titus to continue the campaign.
Jerusalem fell A. D. 70. After this peace was restored to the Roman world, and during nine years, Vespasian used his extensive power with moderation. He associated Titus with him in the government after the oriental war. He died in the midst of many valuable reforms, and left the empire to the conqueror of the Jews.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1861
Is it Lawful for Christadelphians to bear Arms?
Our conviction is that Christ[adelphians] should leave the devil to fight his own battles; and that if he sought to compel them to serve in his ranks, they ought to refuse to do so. He may fine them or put them in prison; but in these times, and in a Protestant and "free country," will hardly venture to put them to death.
The devil* cast some of the Smyrneans into prison for disobeying him, which was allowed of God that they might be tried—Rev. 2:10; and the like may be permitted again. But it is better to pay his fines, or to be imprisoned by him, than to serve him in his wars. Let the potsherds of the earth strive together, and Christ[adelphians] stand aloof.
Shall the devil draft me into his United States armies, and brother Lithgow into his British force, and we, brethren in Christ, meet in deadly conflict to slay one another in the devil's interest? Perish the thought! Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Campbellites, Papists, and such like, can slaughter one another for their country's good; but Christ[adelphians]? No, never!
We have no "patriotism" and are "loyal" to no Gentile government under the sun. Patriotism is love and zeal for one's native or adopted country right or wrong; and loyalty is firm and faithful adhesion to a king or sovereignty.
Our love, zeal, and loyalty for the British daughter of the Italian Jezebel found expression some twenty-five years ago in a solemn renunciation of her authority; and in obeying the gospel of the kingdom in 1847, we gave in all the love, zeal, and loyalty we had at command, to Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
As Christ[adelphians], therefore, we are his slaves; for he has bought us and all we possess, with his life-blood. We have no love, zeal, and loyalty for any other country and government than his. We only temporarily sojourn under Gentile governments as necessary evils for the time being; desiring no honours, or emoluments at their disposal; willing to render to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and living peaceably under his supremacy until King Yahweh Tzidkainu appears in power and great glory, when we shall heartily unite with him in grinding them to powder, and sweeping them as chaff before the tempest.
Yahweh kings and priests ought not to be marshalled with the sinners of the world, whose "dearest interests" for the which they fight, are the things which perish. Their dearest interests may be worth their fighting for; but they are too inconsiderable for Christ[adelphians] to regard. If ever there was an occasion when the patriotism and loyalty of Christ[adelphians] might seem to be in demand, it was when the Romans invaded Judea and besieged Jerusalem. Did Jesus in predicting this event, exhort Christ[adelphian]ized Jews to be patriotic and loyal to the State, and defend with their lives and fortunes, on the Gentile principle dulce et decus pro patria mori? ["It is sweet and proper to die for one's country." ] Nay. On the contrary he said,
"Let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains; let him who is upon the housetop, not come down to take anything out of his house; neither let him who is in the field return to take his clothes."
Thus they were exhorted to abandon all in their houses, property and kin, and flee for their own lives, which, being Christ's, were much more precious than the unbelievers they left behind. If an enemy come against Halifax, Edinburgh, London, or New York, no doubt God will have sent him for the well-deserved punishment of the devils they contain. Shall we Christ[adelphians] assist said devils, al as "rowdies," "dead rabbits," "plug uglies," "owls," "hungry and trading politicians," papists, and all the adherents and supporters of all the names and denominations of Protestant blasphemy—shall we assist them with pike and gun to resist the hand of God that smites them so deservedly?
Nay, verily. Let us leave them to their deserts and flee. We might lose our property, but no matter. We save our more precious lives, and are not punished with such a base and ignoble multitude.
When the King comes we will be patriotic for the land covenanted to the fathers. The Holy land is ours, and for that we shall fight; and in the conflict "tread the wicked as ashes under the soles of our feet"—Mal. 4:3. Until then, we shall give Cæsar, or the devil, his due; but not our patriotism and loyalty, which are God's, to defend his perishable goods, chattels, and effects.
But then, says one, they will call us cowards? Who? The blind subjects of Satan's kingdom? What enlightened and independent Christ[adelphian] would care a straw what such poor miserables say? Any dog of a Gentile, whether a street or congressional rowdy, has brutality enough to bark and bite for the gratification of his malignity; but few, very few, of mankind have the moral courage to face authority, and refuse to fight because God for a time forbids it, either for the avenging of ourselves, or the defence of property against the public enemy.
There is neither glory nor profit in dying for Satan; therefore our sentence is, refuse all soldiering in the devil's ranks, and leave the consequences to God.—Editor.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1860
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
Jesus severely chided the Pharisees because they could not discern the Signs of the Times. It could have helped save them from the greatest tragedy that ever befell a people. They should have been aware of their location in Daniel's Messianic 70 Weeks, which culminated in their generation. They should have recognised in Rome the terrible, strange-tongued, eagle-nation from afar (Deuteronomy 28) that was to destroy their city and Temple (Daniel 9: 26), and cast them out of their land.
They should have recognised John as Isaiah's 'Voice crying in the wilderness', and as Malachi's messenger of the Messiah. But they did not-and all that was foretold came suddenly upon them. *
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
...that is, when their times are accomplished, or the times allotted to them during which they are permitted to rule the world in wickedness, shall have an end, Jerusalem, which is now as a captive woman sitting on the ground in poverty and wretchedness, shall arise and stand upon her feet; a position that will be terrible to her oppressors.
This standing up is synchronical with the appearance of her King; so that the sign of that appearance is the sign of her deliverance. Hence, Matthew tells us, in effect, that the sign of her approaching redemption will appear in the heaven, because, he says,
"In the heaven shall appear the sign of the Son of Man."
The sign of the one is, and can only be, the sign of the other. The recognition of this truth will help us to understand the nature of the sign, and to discern it when it exists. It must therefore be a sign in which things concerning Jerusalem must find place.
... the aggregate signs should be in sun, moon, and stars pertaining to the habitable, occupied by nations in perplexity; that is, in the heavens of Daniel's Fourth Beast, the symbol which represents the Powers having dominion over the territory inhabited by the Greek Papal nations.
While the sun, moon, and stars of the Gentile world are shining, and contemporary with a time of perplexity and distress, and when the times of the nations are verging upon their close, signs would be observable in those politico-celestial orbs, importing to the mashkillim, or instructed, that the Son of Man was on his journey from the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens to his beloved Jerusalem.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1855
The time... for collecting together the nobility of the kingdom is almost elapsed. It has been continuous with the desolation of Jerusalem. She was to be "trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). These times are almost accomplished. Only a few more years remain, and then ''the accepted time and day of salvation" will have passed. The door into the kingdom will be shut, and no more can obtain a right to enter in.
Men who may survive the worse than Egyptian plagues coming upon them, may live in the future age in hope of immortality when the age has passed away; but in the glory and honour of Shiloh's "everlasting dominion," they will have neither part nor lot in the matter.
Elpis Israel 2.5
Jerusalem trodden down by the Gentiles
Jerusalem was taken by Titus A. D. 70, when 1,100,000 Jews perished, and 97,000 were carried away captive.
A. D. 132, it was taken by Barchochab, who rebelled against the Romans, and claiming to be the Messiah, had 300,000 followers, and committed great slaughter.
In the year 135 it was re-taken by the Emperor Adrian, who destroyed 50 castles, 800 cities, and slew 530,000 Jews.
Constantine built many churches in Jerusalem, and favored it highly.
Julian favored the Jews, and commenced to rebuild the Temple, setting 10,000 men at work to clear Mount Moriah, intending to make it a rival of Mount Calvary; but his projects failed by special interposition of God, the workmen being driven from the foundation by balls of fire issuing therefrom and soon after, he died.
Chosroes, king of Persia, in the year 614, aided by 24,000 Jews, sacked the city, killing 90,000 Christians.
Heraclius recovered it by treaty, after defeating the king of Persia, year 628, and it remained under Roman and Christian control till the rise of the Arabian impostures.
In 637 it was taken by the Kalif Omar, who by treaty allowed the Christians a right to the holy sepulchre, and built the splendid Mosque of Omar on Mount Moriah, on the site of Solomon's Temple.
Achmet, a Turk, took it in 868.
The Kalif of Bagdad took it in 906.
Hakem of Egypt took it and burnt the church of the holy sepulchre, 1009.
Soon after, Mohammed Isched, a Seljukian Turk, conquered it.
Ortok took it in the same century.
Malek Shah next, 1076.
The successors of Ortok recovered it soon after.
The Fatimites of Egypt soon after recovered it, and burnt the Church of the holy sepulchre, which was soon rebuilt.
The Crusaders took it in 1099, slew 70,000 Mohammedans, and elected Baldwin king.
In 1187, Saladin, the Turkish sultan of Egypt, took it.
In 1192, Richard of England defeated Saladin in several great battles, with immense slaughter, and by treaty recovered the freedom of Jerusalem for the Christians.
Melek Moadin of Damascus demolished the city's walls in 1219.
In 1229, Frederick II, Emperor of Germany, with an army of 40,000, entered Jerusalem in triumph, and by treaty secured it to the Christians.
Toleration was secured for the Mohammedans in the mosque of Omar, and for the Christians in the church of El-Aksa. But this treaty was soon violated by the Turks; for David of Kerac destroyed the city and slew the most of the people; and when the Earl of Cornwall arrived, the Christians were in great oppression; but by his energy they were reinstated, by treaty, in the enjoyment of their rights, 1243.
The Sultans of the Carismians took it in 1244.
It was recovered in 1247.
It was surrendered to Bibars of Egypt, a Mameluke conquerer of Antioch, at which time he slew 40,000 and carried away captive 100,000. He besieged Acre with an army of 200,000, sacked it, and ended the kingdom of the Crusaders in Palestine.
Jerusalem was taken in 1382 by the Tartars, and yielded to Tamerlane about 1400. It soon fell under the Mamelukes of Egypt, and the Othmans took it in 1517, under Selim I. The present walls were built by his successor, Solymon the Magnificent, in 1542. The church of the holy sepulchre was burnt in 1808, and the present one built in 1810.
In 1832, Mehemet Ali took possession of it without war, but in 1834 it revolted, in the general insurrection of Palestine, but was soon brought into subjection. In 1842 he was deprived of all his Syrian possessions, and since that it has been under the Sultan of Turkey,—Russia, France and England having rights in it.
Almost all nations of Europe, Asia, and Africa, have trodden Jerusalem under foot.
How true the great prophecy of Christ!
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Nov 1859
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; [tumult, panic, and terrible apprehension of coming evil]
...there is a key by which any symbols in Scripture may be safely and clearly explained; and that is by interpreting the figure by the plain declaration, and not by straining the plain declaration to make it agree with the figure.
We have for an example of this rule, signs spoken of in this verse as to take place in the sun, moon, and stars: this may mean either literally those material luminaries themselves, or some other things of which they are only symbols; but when we read further, we find that there is also distress of nations upon the earth, with perplexity, we can have no doubt that the latter is literal, and the former figurative.
We know from the words of Balaam, Daniel, and of the Lord Jesus himself, that the stars are symbols representative of great and distinguished personages, ecclesiastical and civil, and the sun and moon, therefore, being homogeneous symbols with the stars, must represent constitutional elements of their system, ecclesiastical and secular.
It is amongst these, then, that we must look for the signs which are here foretold, and not in the physical heavens, which is expressly forbidden in the Word. In the same manner we learn that the sea, and the waves roaring, represent tumultuous assemblages of the people.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, April 1855
First, there is "distress of nations"-"evil going forth from nation to nation"-and "men's hearts failing them for fear," etc.-which may be designated as the natural stage; and second, a divine manifestation in the person of the Son of Man (who is "the name of the Lord") accompanied by sweeping judgments of fire and sword which will destroy large masses of mankind: which may be considered as the supernatural.
The former precedes the latter. Hence, as the first indication of the approach of the end, we must look for times of trouble and commotion on the earth.
Christendom Astray L15
28 And when <If therefore ye may see> these things [the signs in the Gentile heavens, &c. But they were not permitted to see them] begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
The knowledge of "the times and the seasons" was unknown to all other intelligences, than the Father. These he kept concealed within himself. Therefore said Jesus,
"Of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the Father only."
For anything, therefore, that was then known, the "these things" might all come to pass in rapid succession, and the Son of Man be enthroned in Jerusalem in the life-time of the apostles. So they thought; for before the day of Pentecost arrived, they asked the risen Jesus if he would not at that time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he told them that the times were still a secret.
They might, or they might not, witness the accomplishment of all things. All he was able to tell them was, that some of them should be put to death; that their generation should not pass away till all spoken against it should be fulfilled; and that he would be absent for "a long time."
If therefore "ye may see (ιδητε, idēte, subj.) these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh."
See what things? The things last mentioned-the signs in the Gentile heavens, &c.
But they were not permitted to see them. It pleased the Father that the return of his son should not be till remoter times; so that not seeing the signs, (for they had not then been revealed,) they died without the earnest that the redemption in the kingdom was at hand.
But since the dissolution of the Mosaic heavens, and the melting away of the earth over which they ruled, the times, and seasons, and signs, have been revealed by the Father to the Son, that he might communicate them to his servants.
This communication was made, according to Eusebius, who figured in the court of Constantine, about the a.d. 96, at the close of the reign of Domitian, emperor of Rome. It was sent to the apostle John while he was an exile in Patmos, on account of the word of God and his testimony for Jesus Christ, about 61 years after the crucifixion.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June, 1855
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
The kingdom was nigh in the sense in which James said, the Lord's coming was nigh; but not in that of his "coming in his kingdom," mentioned by the thief on the cross; or of "his appearing and kingdom," referred to by Paul.
King and kingdom are often used interchangeably in the scriptures. For instance, Luke says, that
"when Jesus was come nigh to Jerusalem riding on the ass's colt, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice, saying,
"Blessed be the king that cometh in Yahweh's name;"
while Mark in narrating the same event, says that they cried saying,
"Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of Yahweh."
I conclude then, that "the kingdom of God was nigh at hand," when "the king," though invisible, was supervising the operations of the seige of his rebellious capitol.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1853
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Without the Signs, the whole pattern of our lives would be far less interesting, far more hazy and indefinite. Truly we could live full, godly lives without them: they are not essential to salvation. But they greatly strengthen faith and interest, and give us encouraging bearings and landmarks whereby to plot our position in the outworking of the Divine Purpose. It is much more pleasant and comforting to be travelling in clear sunlight, observing the changing terrain that indicates the approach of our destination, than it is travelling in indistinguishable dark or fog.
The 'sure word of prophecy' would lose much of its force for us if we had no way to tie ourselves in, by current events and circumstances, to our specific position in the Plan. The Signs are of God's love and mercy, for the strengthening of His children. The wise will be thankful for them, and will be stirred to godly action by them.
Bro Growcott - The Household of Faith in the Latter Days
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
Jesus did not limit his work or his coming to the destruction that was to overtake Jerusalem. He went far beyond that event. He spoke of "the times of the Gentiles"as a long period during which Jerusalem would be downtrodden, at the end of which redemption was to draw nigh. When the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled, a sign of the impending appearing of Christ should be "on earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth," &c.
When, therefore, Jesus said, "This generation shall not pass till all these things shall be fulfilled," we must not think that he meant things which he expressly excluded from the lifetime of "that generation" by placing them at the expiry of the times of the Gentiles, and which could not occur in that generation by his own description of their scope. The history of the case is the interpretation of the case. That generation did not pass without witnessing the "these things" about which the disciples asked. Forty years afterwards, the temple was destroyed, and Jerusalem laid in ashes.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 47
36 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.
It is a remarkable paradox that the true, unworldly, separated people of God are far more interested in the significant events in the world than the world itself is. The vast majority of the world's 4 billion people-we could say 99% - know and care little or nothing of what goes on outside their own tiny circle of low animal activity and enjoyment. Even in our own supposedly educated and sophisticated countries, we find the weekly news magazines are almost entirely petty froth and rubbish: a few meaningful paragraphs in average issues of over 100 pages.
Our position is unique. It is their world, but we are more interested in what is happening and where it is going. We have a programme. We know generally what is going to happen, though we do not know specifically from event to event, which makes it far more interesting.
Bro Growcott - The Household of Faith in the Latter Days
Pray Always and Faint Not
It is the duty, the safety, and the glory of every believer to pray for the coming of the Lord's Anointed in judgment upon the adversary of his Ecclesia—to pray always, and not to faint; and those who have so little discernment as not to dare to pray for the downfall of the oppressor, the casting out of Satan, the destruction of Babylon, have neither lot nor part in this matter.
Those who will not pray for Christ to come, who feel shocked at the thought of the rending bolt which bears him, and the arrowy shower of lightning which goes before him; those who have not their peace made with him, and are hanging in doubt whether they be his or not; those who love father, mother, brother, sister, or life, more than him; those who love traffic, wealth, goods, estate, more than him; those who are not ready to take wing, like doves to their windows; those who are not, like old Jacob, waiting for their salvation; those who have a divided heart, like Lot's wife—what shall be said of such?
That they shall not enter into his kingdom!
Do these words strike home to the quick; to the deepest recesses of the soul? Do they pierce the heart? It is fit they should, that men might be loosed from the fetters that bind them to the craft by which their destroyers are enriched; and that being freed, they may put on the linen vestment and burn incense in the sanctuary, and, without fainting pray always for the appearing and kingdom of the Lord.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1860