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    CHAPTER XVIII. THE EXALTATION OF LAWLESSNESS

    OF the Papacy, the Beast, as one of the three items which mark his exaltation against God, it is written that he should “think to change the times and the law” of the Most High. This the Papacy did, as far as it lies in any power to do it, when it set aside the Sabbath of the Lord, and, under a papal curse, condemned its observance, and exalted Sunday in its stead.GNT 193.1

    We have given quite fully the evidence that demonstrates the fulfillment of that prophecy which said that he would “think to change the times and the law” of the Most High. It is this attempted change of the Sabbath which, more than anything else, reveals that feature of the Papacy by which the Word of God distinguishes it as “the man of sin,“—“transgression of the law,”—and “the mystery of lawlessness.” Greek and R. V.GNT 193.2

    This, because it is a principle in governmental procedure, recognized as such in law, and so regarded in history, that for a subordinate government to re-enact, especially with changes, a law made by the supreme authority for the government of the subordinate State, is “tantamount to a declaration of independence” on the part of the subordinate government. An illustration from history may help to discern the principle:—GNT 193.3

    In 1698, as now, Ireland was a possession of Britain. The English colonists in Ireland were the ruling power there, and had a parliament—Lords and Commons—of their own: a sort of home rule. “The Irish Lords and Commons had presumed, not only to reenact an English Act passed expressly for the purpose of binding them, but to re-enact it with alterations. The alterations were indeed small; but the alteration even of a letter was tantamount to a declaration of independence.” Yet “the colony in Ireland was emphatically a dependency; a dependency, not merely by the common law of the realm, but by the nature of things. It was absurd to claim independence for a community which could not cease to be dependent without ceasing to exist.”—Macaulay’s “History of England,” Chap. XXIII, par. 62. It was in view of this very principle that Matthew 5:17-19, and Daniel 7:25 were spoken and written.GNT 194.1

    Therefore any power, whatever it might be, however it might be organized, and wherever it might be on the earth, that would presume to take the law of God, and incorporate it in legislation, with changes, would, in that, declare itself independent of God. The Papacy did this when, by its working, the Sabbath was incorporated in legislation, and yet all that pertained to it was transferred to another day, thus incorporating the law of God in the legislation, with changes. That was the assertion of independence of the power and government of God. And that could be nothing less than the very pinnacle of the arrogance of lawlessness.GNT 194.2

    Now, as has already been pointed out, the government of the United States has exactly repeated that action of the Papacy. When the United States government incorporated the fourth commandment of the law of God in its legislation, and then in its legislation deliberately changed the Sabbath of that commandment to Sunday—in that thing the government of the United States in the very likeness of the Papacy asserted its independence of the power and government of God. It would be impossible for any power more certainly to change the Sabbath, so far as any power can change it, than the United States government has done in the exact likeness of the Papacy before it.GNT 195.1

    There are just two powers that have ever been in the world, that have thought to do such a thing: Catholicism and the Roman Empire; and Protestantism and the United States. The first was the Beast, the last is the Image of the Beast.GNT 195.2

    For this action of the United States was performed at the bidding of an apostate Church, just as the change was originally made in the Roman Empire. From 1888 until 1892, the whole National Reform combination tried its best to get Congress and the whole government of the United States to do what the leaders of that combination knew to be an unconstitutional thing; that is, for the government of the United States to decide the Sabbath question by law, and fix it to Sunday as the American sabbath.GNT 195.3

    While the National Reform combination was making this endeavor, as Congress did not respond readily enough to suit them, they added threats to their “petitions” and their other efforts. These threats of the combined religious elements of the country were to the effect that they pledged themselves and one another that they would never again vote for, nor support for any office or position of trust, any member of Congress, either senator or representative, who should refuse to do their bidding to pass the church-instituted provision closing the Columbian Exposition on Sunday—the “Christian sabbath,” the “Lord’s day,” etc. And everybody knows, or at least has had an opportunity to know, that Congress surrendered to these threats, and publicly advertised that it did not “dare” to do otherwise.GNT 196.1

    And when an effort, based upon the Constitution, was made to have Congress undo its unconstitutional action, and place itself and the government once more in harmony with the Constitution, and with the sound fundamental principles of the nation, this same religious combination renewed its former threats, and added to these such others as best suited its purpose. The result was that the Congressional committee that had the matter in charge, and that thus acted for the whole Congress, definitely excluded the Constitution from its consideration, and deferred exclusively to the demands of that religious combination. And this, as declared by representatives in Congress, because not to do so only resulted “in stirring up animosity toward the fair, and in creating antagonism on the part of the church people.”GNT 196.2

    As declared by a United States Circuit Court even in 1891, the situation is as follows:—GNT 197.1

    “By a sort of factitious advantage, the observers of Sunday have secured the aid of the civil law, and adhere to that advantage with great tenacity, in spite of the clamor for religious freedom, and the progress that has been made in the absolute separation of Church and State.... And the efforts to extirpate the advantage above mentioned, by judicial decision in favor of a civil right to disregard the change, seem to me quite useless....”GNT 197.2

    And by the same judge the thought is extended thus:—GNT 197.3

    “Christians would become alarmed, and they might substitute for the stars and other symbols of civil freedom upon the banners of their armed hosts, the symbol of the cross of Christ, and fight for their religion at the expense of their civil government. They have done this in times that are passed, and they could do it again. And he is not a wise statesman who overlooks a possibility like this, and endangers the public peace....GNT 197.4

    “The civilian, as contradistinguished from the churchman, though united in the same person, may find in the principle of preserving the public order a satisfactory warrant for yielding to religious prejudice and fanaticism the support of those laws, when the demand for such a support may become a force that would disturb the public order. It may be a constantly diminishing force, but if it be yet strong enough to create disturbance, statesmanship takes account of it as a factor in the problem.”GNT 197.5

    Thus, by the confirmed lawlessness of the National Reform combination—the apostate Protestantism of the United States—the government of the United States was driven into the course of declaring independence of the power and government of God—the course of lawlessness marked out originally by “the mystery of lawlessness” itself. And by that example, from that day to this, lawlessness has risen and spread like a mighty tide in this nation, and now is being further followed by the nation itself, as such, in its repudiation of the Declaration of Independence, and its abandonment of the Constitution of the nation in its present practice of “governing without the Constitution.”GNT 198.1

    And these things we expected and mentioned at the time. Aug. 9, 1894, we wrote and published the following words: “Multitudes of people in the United States are wondering and perplexed in beholding how widespread and how persistent is the spirit of violence and lawlessness throughout the land. To those, however, who have been carefully considering public movements in the last two or three years, there is nothing to wonder at nor to be perplexed about in all this, or even more than this, that has appeared. Indeed, to those who have been carefully studying the public movements of the last two or three years, this widespread spirit of violence and lawlessness has been expected; and now, instead of expecting it to end at the limits that it has reached, widespread though it be, it is expected to become universal.”GNT 198.2

    We then recounted the facts, as to the change of the Sabbath by this nation, and further said that in all this “the Church leaders have demonstrated that they have no respect for any law but such as their own arbitrary will approves. For without the slightest hesitation, yea, rather, with open persistence, they have knowingly disregarded and overridden the supreme law—the Constitution—of the United States. They have set the example, and established the principle, of absolute lawlessness.GNT 199.1

    “These facts demonstrate that instead of their being truly the law-abiding portion of the people, these men are among the chiefest law-breakers in the land—the most lawless of all the nation. Nor is this at all to be wondered at. For, in order to accomplish this their bad purpose, they ‘gladly joined hands’ and hearts with the papacy—that power which the Lord designates as the ‘lawless one’ and as the very ‘mystery of lawlessness’ itself. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 7, R. V. In view of such an example as this, should it be thought surprising that lawlessness should be manifested by others throughout the whole country as never before, and that violence should cover the land from ocean to ocean?GNT 199.2

    “It was because of this lawless example of ‘the best people of the land,’ this principle of violence and lawlessness, forced upon the government by the combined churches of the country,—it was because of this that we have expected nothing else than that violence and lawlessness would spread through the land, and that we still expect it to become universal.GNT 200.1

    “This is not to say that the particular phases of lawlessness that have of late been manifested in so many parts of the country, have been carried on by the human actors in conscious and intentional pursuance of the example of lawlessness set by the churches; but it is to say that there is a spirit of things that must ever be taken into account. There is the Spirit of order, and there is the spirit of disorder. And when the Spirit of order has been so outraged, and the spirit of disorder chosen and persistently followed instead, as it has been in this case—and that, too, by the very ones who profess to be the representatives of the Spirit of order in the earth,—then things are given over to the spirit of disorder and lawlessness, and nothing remains but that this spirit shall prevail and increase until it becomes universal.”GNT 200.2

    It is the truth that, in the change of the Sabbath, this tearing down of God’s memorial and exalting in its place the papal counterfeit by the government of the United States, in 1892-93, under the threats of the apostate Protestantism led by the National Reform combination, the government of the United States was delivered over to the spirit of disorder and lawlessness, as really as was the Roman Empire in the fourth century. And that lawlessness, individual and national, will here increase, as certainly as it did in the Roman Empire of the fourth century, until it shall swallow up in ruin this nation, as it swallowed up in ruin the Roman Empire.GNT 200.3

    And because of this, to save men from this lawlessness and this ruin, just now it is that the loud-voiced warning of the Third Angel sounds to this nation and to all the world, “If any man worship the Beast and his Image and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.”GNT 201.1

    The Seven Trumpets which bring to view the great nations of to-day as they are to-day, have their basis in the apostasy noted in the first and third of the Seven Churches, and the first three of the Seven Seals. And through the Seven Trumpets, the Third Angel’s Message, which is God’s special message to the great nations, and even to all the nations, of to-day, finds its basis in the apostasy noted in the first and third of the Seven Churches and the first three of the Seven Seals. This, because that apostasy made the Beast; and the Third Angel’s Message rises in the time of the making of the Image of the Beast, and utters its warning against the worship of the Beast and his Image. And, in the nature of things, the Image of the Beast finds his original in the Beast.GNT 201.2

    The result, to the Roman Empire, of the making of the Beast in the Roman Empire, and by the Roman Empire, was the utter ruin of that empire. This ruin was accomplished by the mighty armies of the peoples of the north marching forth under the first four of the Seven Trumpets. And the result, to the world, of the making of the Image of the Beast, and the worship of the Beast and his Image, in the world and by the world, will be the utter ruin of the world, by the mighty armies of another people marching forth under the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, accompanied by the mighty notes of “the last trump.”GNT 202.1

    And concerning this, it is written: “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 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. 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. 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. 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 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?” Joel 2:1-11.GNT 202.2

    “And I saw heaven open, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.GNT 203.1

    “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.GNT 204.1

    “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that had worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:11-21.GNT 204.2

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