14 But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.
...a blessing is pronounced on those who are heedful of the signs of the times. "Blessed," says Jesus, "is he that watcheth." Now no one can watch without light. If the heavens be dark, the watchman must be provided with a light, or he cannot watch. By gazing at the natural luminaries as some professors are accustomed to do, no light can be derived, nor signs observed premonitory of the coming of the Lord. This is "the way of the heathen," and "a custom which is vain" (Jer. 10:2,3).
The natural heavens are impenetrably dark in relation to his appearing. The believer, or spiritual watchman, must take "the sure word of prophecy," which is the only "light" capable of enlightening him in the surrounding gloom. This world is "a dark place" and its cosmopolites who understand not the prophetic word mere embodiments of fog. If we understand "the word of the kingdom" we shall "shine as lights in the world," and be enabled to rejoice in the approach of "the day of Christ."
By the "shining light of prophecy" we shall be able to interpret the signs which God has revealed as appearing in the political heavens and earth. Events among the nations of the Roman habitable, and not atmospheric phenomena, are the signs of the coming of the Lord as a thief; whose nature, whether signs or not, can only be determined by "the testimony of God."
From the whole, then, there can be no doubt in the mind of a true believer. He discerns the sign given under the sixth vial as manifestly, and believes as assuredly that the Lord is at hand, as they who observed the sun setting in Syrian splendour knew that the coming day would be glorious. Be not deceived, then, by the syren-voices of the peace-prophets. Ere long the last and most terrible of wars will break out. The beast and the false prophet will be plagued, and the Lord will come as a thief in the night.
Elpis Israel 3.3.