Ellen G. White Writings

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The Advent Herald, and Signs of the Times Reporter [Himes], vol. 7

[Concluded from page 15.]

after the great voices in heaven pour forth their strains of joy that the kingdoms of this world are given to Christ; and the four and twenty elders give thanks to God, that he has taken to him his great power and reigned, and that the time is come that he should reward his saints, and destroy the wicked, the actual scene is introduced as follows: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” The mission of the angels of wrath, with their plagues, is brought to view at the 5th verse of chapter 15: “And after that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power: and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.”

The vision of the last plagues is thus stated: “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” Revelation 16:17.

It is thus made very plain that all this work of wrath against the wicked bears an important relation to this view of the temple.

“The temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven” agrees with the holy of holies in the ancient tabernacle of Moses, and the temple of Solomon. It is undoubtedly the “true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man,” into which our great High Priest has entered, and from which he is to “appear to them that look for him, without sin (a sin offering) unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:2-11, 24-28. The time of opening the holy of holies, and the right to perform its service, were among the strictest regulations of the Mosaic law. Any intrusion was death. Leviticus 16:2. Hebrews 9:7. The opening of the temple of God, so as to disclose the ark of his testament, must denote that the work of “our great High Priest in the presence of God,” is ended.

The work of Christ, “the captain of the host of the Lord,”—like that of Cyrus, (one of the most eminent typical agents of Providence,) in the case of ancient Babylon,—when he comes to the earth, is to execute “the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple.” Jeremiah 51:11. And the same power which has trodden the earthly sanctuary and host under foot, has also “opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” Revelation 13:6.

In the ancient theocracy, all the important movements of the hosts of God were indicated in connection with the ark. Exodus 25:10-22. Numbers 9:15-23; 10:33-36. The standing formula, to be repeated at the setting forward of the ark, which expressed their prayer to God, and their expectation in reference to their and his enemies, was this: “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Psalm 68:1 This temple view of the revelator exhibits something of this character; and if what he sees is not identical with the standing up of Christ, it is certainly preparatory to it; for by the standing up of Christ is meant his actual exaltation to authority and power as a king: and his exaltation is followed by the sudden and certain destruction of all his enemies. In reference to them he standeth up to execute judgment. Isaiah 3:13. Psalm 82. Isaiah 2:11, 17, 19, 21; 33:3, 10. Micah 5:4, (margin) 15. Psalm 76:8, 9. Psalm 82, Psalm 94., Psalm 110.

“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, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Daniel 12:1.

As soon as his exaltation takes place, and the deliverance of his people is effected, the work of vengeance begins. As to order and time, therefore, the next view of our Lord is undoubtedly given, Revelation 14:14. He comes forth from the holy of holies; he is seated on the white cloud, which is doubtless the white throne also, with his golden crown; and, at the direction of another angel out at the temple,” informing him that “the time is come,” he thrusts in his sickle and the earth is reaped. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear—unto salvation.”

The work of vengeance begins by “his angels;” it is closed op by the personal interposition of Christ. This takes place at “the great battle,” which syncronizes with the treading of “the wine-press of the wrath of God,” under the sixth and seventh vials. But the whole series of plagues follows the opening of the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven.

The period of silence seems to be necessarily connected with the standing up of Christ, as the latter also is with the vision of the ark and temple. A command of silence to “all flesh before the Lord,” is issued, (Zechariah 2:13,) in connection with his coming “to dwell in the midst of the daughter of Zion.” And the reason given is, “for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.” See Habakkuk 2:20. Isaiah 41:1. Such a silence was commanded by Joshua in the conquest of Jericho, the first city of the Canaanites which fell before the presence of the ark, in the overthrow of the enemies of God, of his purposes and people. Joshua 6:1-16. This overthrow was distinguished by the presence of “the captain of the host of the Lord,” as well as that of the ark of God. Joshua 5:13-15.

The possession of old Canaan, the inheritance of the old covenant, was the pledge of the possession of the “better country,” the “eternal inheritance” of the new and everlasting covenant. Genesis 15. May not the conquest of the former be typical, in some respects, of what is to take place when the Captain of our salvation shall interpose to bring the church of the first born unto Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem? If it may, and we may be guided in this particular by Zechariah, above, the silence would coincide with the final overthrow of great Babylon. But would this accord with the order of events as brought to view by the seals, under the 7th of which the silence takes place? Let us see.

The sixth seal unfolds the signs which were immediately to precede the end of the world, with the end itself, beginning with “a great earthquake.” The order of events in the scene contemplated, as to their character, and the parties introduced, is like that observed by Christ. Matthew 24:29-31. Luke 21:25-28. That is, it begins with the signs in the physical world, Revelation 6:12-14; passing next to the fate of the wicked, 15—17. The finishing of the mystery of God is then brought to view, which includes the sealing of the heirs, 7:1-8, and the gathering together in one all things in Christ. “Therefore are they before the throne,” 9—17.

The presentation of the church, as here, “faultless before the presence of his glory,” is an important item in the grand series now under consideration. Jude 24. Colossians 1:22. Ephesians 5:25-27. They are to “stand before the Son of man,” to “be glorified together.” Is it not here that the organization of the kingdom of Christ takes place? Matthew 20:21-23.

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” No beast (living creature) says, come and see! No earthquake or thunder! No loud voice or multitude of voices! No song, or harp, or trumpet! What means this silence! Is it that “God is raised up out of his holy habitation?” and has “great Babylon come into remembrance, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath?” The temple in heaven has been opened—the ark has been seen—the Saviour has received his golden crown, and has been seated upon his throne, the white cloud—the earth has been reaped—the wheat, the righteous, gathered; the church presented before the throne; the trouble of the wicked has begun; but has the King of kings entered upon the vindication of the sanctuary, to execute “the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple?” It would seem that the destruction of great Babylon must form a part of that work; but at what point of the process is it to fall?

Though much is said in reference to her by the revelator, perhaps there is not a single point that is so difficult to settle as the chronological position of the final doom of Babylon. That it is to be by “the Lord God,” we are distinctly told; that it is to be sudden and violent, is indicated by the action of the “mighty angel” with the millstone, the casting down of which assures us that Babylon is “no more!” This would seem to fall under the seventh vial, Revelation 16:17-19, were it not for the phrase in verse 17, “It is done,” which seems to imply that the wrath of God, which the seven plagues filled up, was completed by the seventh vial, and that the remaining verses are a recapitulation, or statement, of the principal things which had taken place in the process of the vials, but which had not been noticed in the account of either. It seems also to be connected with the marriage of the Lamb, chap. 19.; but that, again, is almost equally obscure, as to the time in the process when it takes place.

When an event of this kind is left so obscure in the text, we may be guided by the typical events of the old system. In the conquest of old Canaan, Jericho was the first city that fell, and her fall was the pledge of all the rest; the violent sundering of great Babylon is accompanied, or followed, by the fall of “the cities of the nations.” Seven days were occupied in the overthrow of Jericho; “about half an hour,” is the period of the silence, which we have supposed to be contemporaneous with the destruction of great Babylon; and, understood prophetically, would amount to “about” seven and a half days. But does her destruction follow or precede the great battle?

The destruction of “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, the great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth,” the centre and fountain head of all abominations and blasphemies, in whom “was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth; is to constitute one of the most commanding exhibitions of the wrath of God: sufficient to startle every beholder with terror and apprehension. May it not immediately precede the actual coming of Christ to Mount Zion, and of course, the great battle?—and thus her destruction would be to the angry nations, what the fall of Jericho was to the nations of Canaan. Joshua 6:27; 9:1, 2. The silence would also be connected with her destruction, as in the case of Jericho, and her fate precede the great battle, as the fall of Jericho did the conquest of Canaan.

This affords a natural arrangement of events, and a scriptural, though not direct, explanation of this portion of prophecy. In such a case, however, we cannot be positive.

The history of the church, in the days of Moses and Joshua, also furnishes an answer to the objection that may arise, whether the wicked would marshal themselves to fight against God, after they had witnessed so many wonders and plagues, as this view of the subject supposes. The answer is this. If the hosts of Egypt would pursue the armies of Israel, after the judgments they had experienced, and if the Canaanites would dare to fight against them, after what they had seen at Jericho, what may we not expect from those who are left to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming? Joshua 11:20.

In settling this question of the order of events, some light is afforded to us from the analogous cases referred to in the word of God. As it was in the days of Sodom, and the flood, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man. In these cases the deliverance of the righteous was secured before the wicked were destroyed.

We will notice the bearing of the words of Christ upon the question, and we have done. He says, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass.” How are we to escape? “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds.” When is it to be done? “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.”

Now if the watchful and prayerful are to “escape all these things,” in this manner, and at the time Christ descends from heaven to the air, it must be that all these things are to come afte the appearing of Christ, and our gathering together unto him.

By every one of these general views, by the most obvious bearing of every one of the prominent events, and more minute particulars, considered—by all the analogous cases—and by the only construction we can put upon the plain words of Christ, it is clear, then, that WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOOK FOR BUT THE APPEARING OF OUR LORD TO THE SALVATION OF THEM THAT LOOK FOR HIM!

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Profit of Persecution.—God schooleth and nurtureth his people, that so, through many tribulations, they may enter into their rest. Frankincense, when it is put into the fire, smells the sweeter; the earth, when it is torn up with the plough, becomes more fruitful; the seed in the ground, after frost and snow, and winter storms, springs the ranker; the nigher the vine is pruned to the stock, the [continues at bottom of next page]

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