THE TIME OF “THE TIME OF TROUBLE,” AND THE REWARD OF ONE’S FAITH IN GOD
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Teach Only Positive Truths
I shall read from Christ’s Object Lessons, page 43, the first paragraph–
“But the teacher of the sacred truth can impart only that which he himself knows by experience. ‘The sower sowed his seed.’ Christ taught the truth because He was the truth… So with His servants: Those who would teach the word are to make it their own by a personal experience…. In presenting the word of God to others, they are not to make it a suppose — so or a may — be. They should declare with the apostle Peter. ‘We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty.’ Every minister of Christ and every teacher should be able to say with the beloved John, ‘The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.'”
How are God’s servants to teach the Truth? — They are to teach the positive Truth, not by suppose — so’s or may be’s, but by certainties. If they speak not the positive Truth, then what good can result? The apostles did not preach Christ’s resurrection and ascension as a theory, but as positive Truth. If our teaching consists of suppose’s and maybe’s then we will only be wasting our time, our energies, and the time of those who listen to us. It will profit no one, and harm all. We should now pray for ability to teach only positive truths, only that which we know by experience and authority.
THE TIME OF “THE TIME OF TROUBLE,” AND THE REWARD OF ONE’S FAITH IN GOD
Text of Address by V. T. Houteff,
Minister of D. Seventh-day Adventists
Sabbath, September 20, 1947
Mt. Carmel Chapel
Our subject for this afternoon is found in Daniel, chapters 11 and 12. Chapter 12 contains the “time of trouble,” but the time of the “time of trouble” is found in the eleventh chapter of Daniel. The twelfth chapter is, of course, a continuation of the eleventh chapter. We shall begin our study with —
Dan. 12:4— 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.
Daniel was told to shut and seal the book even to the time of the end. The book, therefore, was not for the understanding of the people before the time of the end. So, then, when the book is unsealed and understood we may know that the time of the end is come.
Besides this sign, though, there is the sign of men running to and fro, and an increase of knowledge. The whole world knows that throughout the years of history, prior to our time, the horse was the means of man’s speediest transportation and communication, and this method continued throughout the centuries. The angel nevertheless informed Daniel that in the time Γ4 of the end there would be a decided change, that men would then run to and fro. And touching the time of the end according to Nahum’s prophecy, Inspiration declares: “The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.” Nah. 2:4.
Now that knowledge has been increased since the last century, or longer, and now that steam, oil, and electric engines have revolutionized the world, and have made it possible for men to run to and fro with unprecedented speed, the subject stands as clear as crystal that we are now living in the time of the end. There can be no doubt about this. This is positive truth, truth that you cannot gainsay and yet believe the Bible and history.
To find the beginning of the time of the end, we must read
Dan. 11:40— And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
Not in, but at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at the king of the north. This prophetic war, therefore, marks the beginning of the time of the end. To find the time of the conflict between the two kings we need to read —
Verses 41-43—He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: Γ5 but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
Mark carefully that at the downfall of the king of the south, the king of the north expands and overthrows many countries; that he enters the glorious land (Palestine), but Edom, Moab, and the children of Ammon escape out of his hand. And remember that this work of conquest was to begin at the time of the end. Hence, in the time of the end the king of the south declines, while the king of the north expands. And since the conflict starts at the time of the end, the defeat of the one and the victory of the other are completed in and during the time of the end.
Next, to learn when the years of the time of the end began, and who the king of the south and who the king of the north are, all you need to know is when such a clash began, and who in the time of the end ceded Egypt and Palestine to an enemy power, what power has as a result shrunk during the time of the end, and what power has expanded. There is but one answer, and that is: While the Ottoman Empire has been shrinking since 1669 A.D., the British Empire has been expanding, and it today rules Egypt and Palestine. Hence, today Turkey is the king of the south, and Great Britain, the king of the north; and according to this prophetic conflict, the time of the end started at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Here is a map that demonstrates the rise and decline of the Ottoman (Turkish) empire. Look at it, study it. And on the opposite page is the expansion of the English empire during the same period of time.
This, you see, is positive truth, not guesswork, not theory, not a far–fetched idea.
Next note that Edom and Moab escape out of his hand. Yes, the king of the north shall lose them.
As the Second World War has, however, brought the first reverses to Great Britain, and as we here see her in prophecy, her part in World War II must also be found in Daniel 11. Let us then study the remaining verses of the chapter.
Verse 44—But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to take away many.
In the time of the end, after having overflown the previously mentioned countries, the king of the north is again seen in conflict, but not with the king of the south. He is drawn into this last conflict by what is reported to him from the east and from the north. Now that World War II developed from the directions specified by Inspiration,—Germany on the north, and Japan on the east, besides Russia in the extreme north, —facts so fresh in our minds are bound to remove all doubt but that World War II is the one spoken of here in prophecy. And let us not forget that World War II has not actually ended, that it is yet to be finished. I say, in the face of these facts now known worldwide, it is difficult for one to deny what is here brought to light.
Dan. 11:45— And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none Γ9 shall help him.
Now that Great Britain’s economic structure is in grave danger of collapsing, and as her empire is fast crumbling, we fear that the fulfillment of verse 45 is perhaps closer than one might realize. If only those who head the empire, and also the heads of our own nation knew and understood prophecy, we believe Great Britain could come out victoriously as did Ninevah of old after Jonah’s great episode.
We all know that Great Britain has been helped by the United States of America more than once. But if we rightly understand this verse, the events of which are but a continuation of those found in verse 44, the king will surely come to his end and none shall help him. This may transpire before World War II is entirely over, and yet it may not. We gather this from the fact that the event of verse 44 is in connection with the event of verse 45. Inspiration seems to allow no time between verses 44 and 45. We do not know the turns which the war will take, but we know that the prophecies of the Bible never fail.
As to his planting his tabernacles in the glorious holy mountain, it is not too clear, for planting the tabernacles of his palace before he comes to his end does not necessarily mean moving his throne there. It could be taken to mean having a branch of his palace there. If he is to plant his tabernacles there while Michael stands up, though, then the only locality other than the Holy Land that we know of, is at Mount Sinai, between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
From the study of the eleventh chapter of Daniel, we have learned several positive truths: 1. That the time of the end began in the eighteenth century; 2. That the king of the south is the Ottoman empire; 3. That the king of the north at the present time is Great Britain in particular; 4. That World War II is the war in Daniel eleven.
Now that the prophecy of the eleventh chapter of Daniel continues through the twelfth, we shall turn to verse one.
Dan. 12:1—And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book.
At that time (that is, at the time the king of the north comes to his end and none help him) shall Michael stand; and at the same time there shall be trouble such as never was even to that very time. Only God’s people, who have their names written in the book, will be delivered. None other.
This study has led us step by step down to our own day. Through this study we see that the time of trouble is but a step in the future, that the only event yet to be fulfilled before the trouble begins is the king of the north coming to his end. Then follows the reward of the faithful.
What a solemn time we have come to, Brothers, Sisters. Do you realize that if you do not Γ11 now make an effort to put your name in the book, it may be forever too late? And is it not better to have your name there even if the trouble were a hundred years in the future? Now is the time to act. Now is the day of salvation brought to you. Today Inspiration pleads; if you hear His voice harden not your hearts. Only those who heed the revealed Word of God will find deliverance and peace, —none others will.
Verse 2—And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Here we are told that in the time of trouble these arise, some to live forever and some to die again.
Do you now realize that not only the time of trouble is at the door, but even this special resurrection? Do you actually see that in the time of trouble, while the living saints are being delivered these dead who rise “to everlasting life,” are also delivered from their graves? Do you realize that this time of trouble is in “the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” the day which the promised prophet Elijah announces? Do you actually know that he is to turn the hearts of the fathers and of the children toward each other? lest the Lord smite “the earth with a curse.” Mal. 4:5, 6. Do you see that the prophet appears in a day he can restore all things, everything that was lost through sin, even the Kingdom? Do you know that the resurrection of Daniel 12 is not the same as the resurrections of 1 Thessalonians and of Revelation 20:5?
1Thess. 4:16—For the Lord Himself shall Γ12 descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
Rev. 20:4-6—And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
The apostle Paul obviously speaks of the same resurrection as the Apostle John because in it only the holy ones are raised. Both Paul’s and John’s descriptions make clear that these arise at the commencement of the thousand years. This we see from the facts that they lived with Christ a thousand years, and that they were caught up to meet the Lord in the air, that they were on the way to live with Christ during the thousand years, not Christ with them.
Now to line up all the resurrections, we must take into account also the one of Ezekiel.
Ezek. 37:1, 11-14 — The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones. . . . Then He said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house Γ13 of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O My people I will open your graves, and cause You to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put My Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.
In this resurrection only God’s own people, Israel, arise with no sinner among them. Moreover, these do not meet the Lord in the air; they are taken to the land of Israel, Palestine. This resurrection, therefore, is not the same as the resurrection of 1 Thessalonians, of the Revelation, or of Daniel 12. It must be a separate one.
Let us now come back to—
Dan. 12:1-3—And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
In these three verses several things clearly stand out: (1) Only those whose names are written in the books are delivered; there are therefore no “foolish” ones among them; (2) Those who are resurrected, however, are mixed, both foolish and wise come up; (3) The statement “and they that be wise [implying that some be foolish] shall shine as the brightness of the firmament” indicates that these “wise” ones are from among the raised; (4) That if the wise are from among the resurrected and turn many to righteousness, then they must be resurrected in probationary time, in time of salvation.
“Your work, my work, will not cease with this life. For a little while we may rest in the grave, but, when the call comes, we shall, in the kingdom of God, take up our work once more.”—Testimonies, Vol. 7, p.17.
Verses 4,10—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. 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.
Now what is meant by being wise?—Let us turn to—
Matt. 25:1-4—Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Here we see that the wise are those who take extra oil, extra Truth that lightens the rest of their way. Finally, it plainly appears that this mixed resurrection is a test; that is, they are all given the opportunity to be wise, to turn many to righteousness, but only a part of them do so. Some of them again fall into sin, and therefore they awake to shame and everlasting contempt (everlasting disobedience), but the wise awake to everlasting life, never again to die. This plainly shows that those who give themselves to wickedness up to the time they die, would not turn to righteousness even though they be given a second chance. The extra oil (Truth for this time) is what decides each one’s destiny. The wise shall embrace the “additional Truth,” while the foolish will not. Sin is indeed a mystery.
REVIVAL AND REFORMATION PRECEDE THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, SEPTEMBER 27, 1947
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
Our subject for this afternoon is found partly in Daniel 2, Matthew 4, Jeremiah 51, Micah 5, and Malachi 4, but mainly in Joel, chapters 2 and 3. We shall first turn to Malachi:
Mal. 4:5, 6 – “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Here we have the promise that God is to send someone before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, and when he comes, whether he accomplishes anything else, he is to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.
Now, it appears somewhat puzzling that the hearts either of the fathers or of the children need to be turned toward the other. But if we consider that the work of Elijah is not of a domestic nature, but spiritual, then we shall see that Elijah’s message is to intensify in the heart of the parents, as well as in the hearts of the children, a burden for the salvation of the Γ17 other. Parents are very anxious to labor with other people’s children but seldom with their own. Likewise children are anxious to preach to others, but not so anxious to preach to their own parents. Elijah’s message of revival and reformation, however, will place the burden of saving souls primarily where it belongs. His message will be seen to be of real importance rather than a theory. And when its followers fully realize that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is at the door, they will be seen pleading first for those who are nearest their hearts.
Let us now turn to Daniel’s prophecy:
Dan. 2:44 – “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
It is understood by most Bible students that this great image of Daniel 2 represents the kingdoms from Daniel’s time down to the end. Here, you see, the stone which is cut out without hands smites the image in the feet, and the stone fills the whole earth. “In the days of these kings,” our time, declares Inspiration, God will set up the kingdom that is represented by the stone, and it will smite the nations and thereby bring their end. What could that day be but great for God’s people, and dreadful for the nations? Indeed, it is to be the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
Verse 45 – “Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and Γ18 that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
Daniel’s account of the day is very brief, but Jeremiah describes the day in detail:
Jer. 51:21-23 – “And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; with thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; and I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.”
Here Inspiration explains that God with His Kingdom is to break the nations, that His people are to be His battle ax. Both Daniel and Jeremiah are definite that the Kingdom is to bring the kingdoms of the world to an end.
Micah 5:7 – “And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.”
The remnant of Jacob (those who are left after the tares are taken out), when once set up as a kingdom, is to be as showers of blessing to those who seek salvation, and as a lion that tears in pieces those who continue in their sin. The day shall be great to the one people, Γ19 and dreadful to the other.
Now we turn to the chapters of Joel’s prophecy that meet their fulfillment in the latter days.
Joel 2:1-3 – “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.”
Here you see that a message is to be proclaimed to the church, to Zion, declaring that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is at hand; that it is to be devastating behind His people, and glorious ahead of them, – that the Lord is thoroughly to comb the field, that He is to gather every grain of “wheat,” and then burn the tares.
Verses 4-6 – “The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.”
We see that the power which attended ancient Israel while they were taking the Promised Land, shall also attend the servants of God at this gathering time.
Verses 7, 8 – “They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.”
Nothing shall be able to hold down the people of God. Everyone shall perfectly attend to his business. They shall gather the fruits of the earth and nothing shall hurt them. The Spirit of Prophecy testifies: “As the saints left the cities and villages, they were pursued by the wicked, who sought to slay them. But the swords that were raised to kill God’s people and fell as powerless as a straw” – Early Writings, pp. 284-285.
Verse 9 – “They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.”
“The servants of God” shall certainly gather all their brethren out of all nations (Isa. 66:20). Indeed so, for the legs of the Gospel are the legs of the people who proclaim it. Of course, only with perfect co-ordination and a bullet-proof army can the gospel work be finished when the two-horned beast declares “that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Rev. 13:15.
Verses 10, 11 – “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: and the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”
Having announced how great and dreadful the day is to be, the Lord is making this plea:
Verses 12-14 – “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?”
God’s plea is that we prepare to meet the day; that now as sincere Christians who realize that for such an hour as this has this message of mercy come to us, we penitently return unto Him.
Verses 15, 16 – “Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.”
In these verses, as in Joel 2:1, the command is given to blow the trumpet in Zion. This Γ22 second trumpet, however, is not to announce the day of God, but to sanctify both a fast and the people, to call a solemn assembly, from which not one is to be excluded from the assembly.
Verse 17 – “Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?”
Here we are plainly told that God’s people are to face persecution and distress, and that unless they keep close to the Lord their very existence may be at stake, God’s name dishonored, and the heathen allowed to rule over them and to challenge their faith in God.
Verses 18, 19 – “Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people. Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto His people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen.”
God finds refuge and freedom for them in their own land where nothing shall be lacking.
Verses 21-23 – “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.”
It is plain enough to see that God is speaking to His people who are to receive both the former and the latter rain in the first month.
Verse 24 – “And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.”
Inspiration, of course, is not speaking of spiritual things only, but of material things as well. The rain (newly-revealed Truth) shall therefore produce a great harvest of souls as well as abundance of provisions.
Verses 25-32 – “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and My people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Γ24 Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.”
Here we see that those who call on the name of the Lord after the latter rain falls, shall find deliverance on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, also in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
The very first word (“for”) of the next chapter shows that the prophecy of chapter two continues through chapter three.
Joel 3:1, 2 – “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land.”
These verses explain why, how, and when God’s people are delivered in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. These things, you see, are to take place when He brings again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem. Then shall He bring all the nations into the valley of Jehoshaphat and there plead for all His captive people whom the nations have scattered throughout the world.
Verse 3 – “And they have cast lots for My people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.”
Verse 3 reveals the vile practices of the world.
Verses 4-7 – “Yea, and what have ye to do with Me, Γ25 O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render Me a recompence? and if ye recompense Me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; because ye have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My goodly pleasant things: the children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border. Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head.”
Tyre and Zidon, and the coast of Palestine, then, those nations which have scattered God’s people, shall have their reward. What shall their recompense be? Here is the answer–
Verses 8-10 – “And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the Lord hath spoken it. Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.”
Inasmuch as the nations will be preparing for war when these prophecies are being fulfilled, it is plain to see that atomic weapons will not bring peace.
Verse 11 – “Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause Thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord.”
Here we are told that God’s mighty ones are Γ26 to meet the armies of the heathen. And where will God judge the people? – The following verses give the answer:
Verses 12-14 – “Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”
Yes, here is described the day of decision. The multitudes will then have to decide either to serve God and live or to continue serving the Devil and perish with him.
Verses 15, 16 – “The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”
What a day the world is now approaching, and how blind to the fact is even the church herself!
Verses 17-21 – “So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall Γ27 come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion.”
Our final cleansing is to be in our own land. The Scriptures, you see, are correlated; one truth explains another. Verses and chapters, therefore, cannot be isolated from their context if they are to be rightly understood. A correct idea cannot be built upon any one verse when isolated from its continuity. And only when we take God at His word can we in truth study the Scriptures. Then we need but the key word to unlock the mysteries of God. And here we have it.
Revival and reformation, a change of ideas and practices, therefore, is our greatest need. Without this we are sure to be found among those who shall say “to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6:16, 17.