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    September 10, 1885

    “The Medo-Persian Empire. (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times 11, 35, pp. 548, 549.


    “WITHDRAWING the greater part of his army from the vicinity of the city, and leaving behind him only certain corps of observation, Cyrus marched away up the course of the Euphrates for a certain distance, and there proceeded to make a vigorous use of the spade. His soldiers could now appreciate use of the spade. His soldiers could now appropriate the value of the experience which they had gained by dispersing the Gyndes, and perceive that the summer and autumn of the preceding year had not been wasted. They dug a channel or channels from the Euphrates, by means of which a great portion of its water would be drawn off, and hoped in this way to render the natural course of the river fordable. [“A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up.” “And I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.” Jeremiah 50:38; 51:36.]SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.1

    “When all was prepared, Cyrus determined to wait for the arrival of a certain festival during which the whole population were wont to engage in drinking and reveling [“Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink.” Isaiah 21:5], and then silently in the dead of night to turn the water of the river and make his attack. [“Arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.” Isaiah 21:5.] All fell out as hoped and wished. The festival was held with even greater pomp and splendor than usual; for Belshazzar, with the natural insolence of youth, to mark his contempt of the besieging army, abandoned himself wholly to the delights of the season, and himself entertained a thousand lords in his palace.SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.2

    [“Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father [grandfather, margin] Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines, might drink therein.... They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” Daniel 5:1-4. “For it is the land of graven images ... and they are made upon their idols.” Jeremiah 50:38. But, “The night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.” Isaiah 21:4. “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” Daniel 5:5. “My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me; therefore are my loins filled with pain; pangs have taken hold upon me.... I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.” Isaiah 21:4, 3. “Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” Daniel 5:6.SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.3

    “Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee ... none shall save thee.” Isaiah 47:13, 15. “The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers ... but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied. Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house; and the queen spake and said, ... There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; .. now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation. Then was Daniel brought in before the king.... Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Thou ... hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know; and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified; then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Daniel 5:7-28.]SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.4

    “Elsewhere the rest of the population was occupied in feasting and dancing. Drunken riot and mad excitement held possession of the town; the siege was forgotten; ordinary precautions were neglected. Following the example of their king, the Babylonians gave themselves up for the night to orgies in which religious frenzy and drunken excess formed a strange and revolting medley.” [“And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men; and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of Hosts.” “In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 51:57, 39.]—Seven Great Monarchies, Fourth Mon., chap. 8, par. 47-51.SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.5

    “We are told in Daniel that Babylon was captured on the night of a great feast to the idol gods, at which the wives and concubines joined in a wild revelry. But the women were not in the habit of feasting with men—how is this? An account, by Cyrus himself, of his capture of Babylon, was dug up only three or four years ago. In it he declares that Babylon was captured ‘without fighting,’ on the fourteenth day of the month Tammuz. Now the month Tammuz was named in honor of the god Tammuz, the Babylonian Adonis, who married their Venus or Ishtar; and the fourteenth of Tammuz was the regular time to celebrate their union, with lascivious orgies. On this day of all others, the women took part in the horrible rites, and it was in this feast of king, princes, wives, and concubines that Babylon was taken and Belshazzar slain. The Bible is here fully and wonderfully corroborated.”—Wm. Hayes Ward, D. D., in Sunday-School Times, Vol. 25, No. 42, pp. 659, 660.SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.6

    “Meanwhile, outside the city, in silence and darkness, the Persians watched at the two points where the Euphrates entered and left the walls. [“Set up the watchmen, prepare the liers in wait.” Jeremiah 51:12, margin.] Anxiously they noted the gradual sinking of the water in the river-bed; still more anxiously they watched to see if those within the walls would observe to see if those within the walls would observe the suspicious circumstance and sound an alarm through the town. Should such an alarm be given, all their labors would be lost. If when they entered the river-bed, they found the river-walls manned and the river-gates fast-locked, they would be indeed ‘caught in a trap.’ Enfiladed on both sides by the enemy whom they could neither see nor reach, they would be overwhelmed and destroyed by his missiles before they could succeed in making their escape. But, as they watched, no sounds of alarm reached them—only a confused noise of revel and riot, which showed that the unhappy townsmen were quite unconscious of the approach of danger. [“Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth; and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off; and desolation shall come upon thee suddently, which thou shat not know.” Isaiah 47:11.]SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.7

    “At last shadowy forms began to emerge from the obscurity of the deep river-bed, and on the landing-places opposite the river-gates clusters of men grew into solid columns. [“The Lord of hosts hath sworn by himself, crying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillars; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.” Jeremiah 51:14.] The undefended gateways were seized; a war-shout was raised; the alarm was spread, and swift runners started off to ‘show the king of Babylon that his city was taken at one end.’ [“One post shall run to meet another, to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end, and that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.” Jeremiah 51:31, 32.]SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.8

    “In the darkness and confusion of the night a terrible massacre ensued. [“Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine [coat of mail]; and spare not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host. Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in the streets.” “Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 51:3, 4; 50:30.] The drunken revelers could make no resistance. [“The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they have remained in their holds; their might hath failed; they became as women; they have burned her dwelling places; her bars are broken.” Jeremiah 51:30.]SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.9

    “The king, paralyzed with fear at the awful hand-writing upon the wall, which too late had warned him of his peril, could do nothing even to check the progress of the assailants who carried all before them everywhere. Bursting into the palace, a band of Persians made their way to the presence of the monarch, and slew him on the scene of his impious revelry. [“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” Daniel 5:30.] Other bands carried fire and sword through the town. [“A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men. A sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed. A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women.” “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labor in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.” Jeremiah 50:35-37; 51:58.] When the morning came, Cyrus found himself undisputed master of the city, when if it had not despised his efforts might with the greatest ease have baffled them.” [“Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.” Isaiah 45:1.]SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.10

    “Thus perished the Babylonian Empire.” [“And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates; and thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her; and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.” Jeremiah 51:63, 64.]—Seven Great Monarchies, Fourth Mon., chap. 8, par. 52-55.SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.11

    “The fall of Babylon was also the fall of an ancient, widely spread, and deeply venerated religious system. Not, of course, that the religion suddenly disappeared or ceased to have votaries, but that, from a dominant system, supported by all the resources of the State, and enforced by the civil power over a wide extent of territory, it became simply one of the many of the tolerated beliefs, exposed to frequent rebuffs and insults, and at all times overshadowed by a new and rival system—the comparatively pure creed of Zoroastrianism. The conquest of Babylon by Persia was, practically, if not the death-blow, at least a severe wound, to the sensuous idol-worship which had for more than twenty centuries been the almost universal religion in the countries between the Mediterranean and the Zagros Mountain Range. The religion never recovered itself—was never reinstated. It survived a longer or a shorter time, in places. To a slight extent it corrupted Zoroastrianism; but on the whole, from the date of the fall of Babylon it declined. Bel bowed down; Nebo stooped [Isaiah 46:1]; Merodach was broken in pieces [Jeremiah 50:2]. Judgment was done upon the Babylonian graven images; and the system, of which they formed a necessary part, having once fallen from its proud pre-eminence, gradually decayed and vanished.” [“Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods hath he broken unto the ground. O my threshing, and the corn of my floor; that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.” Isaiah 21:9, 10.]—Id., Fifth Mon., chap. 7, par. 27.SITI September 10, 1885, page 548.12

    “So long as Babylon, ‘the glory of kingdoms,’ ‘the praise of the earth,’ retained her independence, with her vast buildings, her prestige of antiquity, her wealth, her learning, her ancient and grand religious system, she could scarcely fail to be in the eyes of her neighbors the first power in the world, if not in mere strength, yet in honor, dignity, and reputation. Haughty and contemptuous herself to the very last, she naturally imposed on men’s minds, alike by her past history and her present pretensions; nor was it possible for the Persian monarch to feel that he stood before his subjects as indisputably the foremost man upon the earth until he had humbled in the dust the pride and arrogance of Babylon. But, with the fall of the great city, the whole fabric of Semetic greatness was shattered. Babylon became ‘an astonishment and a hissing’—all her prestige vanished—and Persia stepped manifestly into the place, which Assyria had occupied for so many centuries, of absolute and unrivaled mistress of Western Asia.”—Id., par. 26.SITI September 10, 1885, page 549.1

    The geographical extent of the Fifth Monarchy [the Medo-Persian Empire] was far great than that of any one of the four [Chaldea, Assyria, Babylon, and Media alone] which had preceded it.... The dominions of the Persian kings covered a space fifty-six degrees [about 3,878 miles] long, and in places more than twenty [about 1,400 miles] wide. The boundaries of their empire were the desert of Thibet, the Sutlej and the Indus [rivers], on the east; the Indian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian and Nubian Deserts, on the south; on the west, the Greater Syrtis, the Mediterranean [and] the Egean [seas], and the Strymon River [the Kara-Soo, of European Turkey]; on the north the [river] Danube, the Black Sea, the Caucasus [mountains], the Caspian [sea], and the Jaxartes [the present Syr Daria River]. Within these limits lay a territory, the extent of which from east to west was little less than 3,000 (?) [4,000] miles, while its width varied between 500 and 1,500 miles. Its entire area was probably not less than two millions of square miles, or more than half that of modern Europe. It was thus at least eight times as large as the Babylonian Empire at its greatest extent.—Id., chap. 1, par. 1.SITI September 10, 1885, page 549.2

    The Persian Empire continued to the defeat of Darius Codomannus by Alexandria the Great, near Arbela, B.C. 331, October.SITI September 10, 1885, page 549.3

    A. T. J.

    “Notes on the International Lesson. 2 Kings 5:1-16. Naaman the Syrian” The Signs of the Times 11, 35, p. 551.

    SEPT. 20. 2 Kings 5:1-16

    SYRIA lay to the north of Palestine. It was bounded on the east by the Euphrates and the Desert of Palmyrene; on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, Phœnicia, and Cilicia; and on the north by Cappadocia. It was about the size of Scotland. Haran, the place where Abraham stopped on his way to Canaan, was in Syria. Haran was the city of Nahor; Nahor was Bethuel’s father; “Bethuel the Syrian” was Rebecca’s and Laban’s father, Isaac married Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian, the sister to Laban the Syrian; and when Jacob, Rebecca’s son, fled from the fury of Esau, his mother told him “Flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran.” “And Jacob fled into the country of Syria.” Genesis 11:31; 2:20-23; 27:43; 2-5; Hosea 12:12.SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.1

    AFTER Israel had come into the land of Canaan, among the idols that they served, were the gods of Syria. Judges 10:6. David defeated the Syrians of Damascus, slaying 22,000 of them, and put garrisons in Syria of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David. 2 Samuel 8:5, 6. When Absalom had killed his brother Amnon, he fled to Geshur in Syria and stayed there three years. 2 Samuel 13:38; 15:8. Solomon brought horses and chariots out of Egypt for the kings of Syria. 1 Kings 10:29. Asa, of Judah, sent a present of silver and gold by which he induced a king of Syria to break his league with Baasha of Israel, and to help Asa. 1 Kings 15:16-22. Elijah was directed to anoint Hazael king over Syria. 1 Kings 19:15. Benhadad, king of Syria, came up with thirty-two kings and besieged Samaria. But two hundred and thirty-two princes of the provinces led a sortie out of Samaria, and the Syrians fled, and Benhadad escaped on a horse. The next year he came again, and the children of Israel went against the Syrians, and pitched before them “like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.” The battle was joined and of the Syrians 100,000 footmen fell in the battle. Benhadad first fled to Aphek, and then surrendered to the king of isarel. 1 Kings 20. Three years afterward there was war again with Syria in which Ahab, of Israel, was killed. 1 Kings 22. The next mention of Syria is, two years afterward, in our lesson. Naaman was captain of the host of the king of Syria, “a great man with his master, and honorable... also a mighty man in valor; but he was a leper.” 2 Kings 5:1.SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.2

    “AND the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.3

    “SO NAAMAN came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.4

    NAAMAN had his own ideas of how things should be done, and if he could not have it that way, he would not have it done at all. He was not the last person of that kind. Many people present their petition to the Lord, and they have their minds all made up about how it will be answered, and then if they do not receive it that way, they do not recognize that the Lord has answered their prayer at all. And there is often actual harm done by would-be revivalists in giving instruction, especially in regard to conversion. Many are brought to see their great need of salvation, of conversion, and honestly and earnestly inquire the way; and then the revivalist will perhaps undertake to tell them how they may know when they are converted, when they are accepted of God. They are told that they will feel a certain way, that they must obtain a certain kind of feeling, etc., etc., and the poor souls are left to look long and wait for that particular feeling, so they are set to follow a will-o’-the-wisp instead of the word of God.SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.5

    THIS is all wrong. No man can tell another how that other will feel when he is converted. More: no converted person can make an unconverted person to understand how he himself felt when he was converted. The conversion of a soul is by the power of God through his Holy Spirit, and it “passeth all understanding.” The converted soul understands it, in a measure, but he cannot make another to understand it in any measure, and for any one to undertake it tell the seeker for salvation just how he will feel, or just what to expect, is only to mislead, and perhaps plunge into despair a soul for whom Christ died.SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.6

    WHAT then shall we tell the seeker to do? Tell him what Christ tells to all. Tell him “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.... If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” Luke 11:9-13. Tell the people that, and it will be all right, because it is the word of Him who saves sinners. We may tell also that we know that it is true, because we asked of him the Holy Spirit and he gave it; we sought the Lord, and we did find him; we knocked and he did open unto us; and we know it. Tell this, and when they seek him they will find him; and then they will know it, and not till then can they know it. Oh, never set a human example before a soul seeking salvation. Point him to Christ. There he is. He waits to be gracious. Seek, and ye shall find him, and then, oh the peace, the joy in the Holy Ghost, none can know but him who receives it. “When thou sadist, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Thank Heaven for the religion of Christ—a religion that converts the soul.SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.7

    NAAMAN “turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather than, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean.” How reasonable! And Naaman was won by it. Would that all men were as ready to act upon the suggestion as was Naaman the Syrian. If men were bidden do some great thing by which the terrible leprosy of sin might be taken away, when a Fountain is open to all for sin and uncleanness, free to all, and He says, “Wash, and be clean.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.8

    “THEN went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” But until he had dipped himself the seventh time, he was not clean. If he had gone away after the sixth time, he would still have been a leper as before. This is the very lesson that is taught by the Saviour in that place where he tells us to seek and we shall find. Luke 11:5-9. It is earnestness, importunity. Not that he would teach that the Lord is hard to be entreated, but that we should be importunate, even as Jacob of old, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” How much more when there is no place else to go. There was no water but that of Jordan to cleanse Naaman. There is no fountain but that of Calvary to cleanse the sinner. We “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23; and we all must be cleansed by the precious blood of Christ.SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.9

    “What can wash away my stain?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
    What can make me whole again?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
    A. T. J.
    SITI September 10, 1885, page 551.10

    “Did Elijah Die?” The Signs of the Times 11, 35, pp. 553, 554.

    WE have long been perfectly assured, and it has been often shown in these columns, that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul turns into utter confusion and nonsense the whole scheme of divine revelation as contained in the Bible. If, however, there had been in our minds the least doubt that such is the truth, such lingering doubt would have been entirely and effectually removed by what has lately come under our notice.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.1

    Our readers will recollect that the International Sunday-school Lesson for September 6, 1885, was on the translation of Elijah. During the past week, the religious papers containing notes on this lesson have reached us from different parts of the country, and it is in these “notes,” and “observations,” and “practical suggestions,” etc., etc., that we find most aptly and fully illustrated, the havoc that is made with Scripture, reason, and common sense, by the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. We propose to lay before our readers some of the effusions that have actually been set forth as worthy of being taught in the Sunday-schools of our country.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.2

    The Bible record is:—SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.3

    “And it came to pass, as they [Elijah and Elisha] still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.4

    There is a narrative so simple that a child can understand it, and an event transcendently sublime. And yet upon such a subject the writer of the “notes” in the Pacific gets off the following:—SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.5

    “A sudden departure from this world is often considered a misfortune, and a stroke of lightning a token of divine displeasure. But, it we are ready, as Elijah was, we may accept it as a token of divine love that the manner of our removal is quick and painless.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.6

    Does this writer mean to convey the idea that Elijah was struck with lightning? If not, does he mean to say that, if a man were struck with lightning, it would be the same to him as was translation to Elijah? Again, is a “sudden departure from this world” by death, whether it be by a stroke of lightning or otherwise, equivalent to the departure of Elijah from this world? If so, why should it be considered “a misfortune”? Was it “a misfortune” to Elijah that he should make the “sudden departure” that he did? Well, if he was struck with lightning, doubtless it was; but if as the word of God says, Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven, then it was certainly everything but a misfortune.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.7

    But the writer of the Pacific is not by any means alone. Here is one in the Christian Union writing “Home Talks about the Word,” on this same subject:—SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.8

    “Paul says Elijah was a man of like passions with ourselves. Every child of God goes to Heaven just as much alive as Elijah did. The body is not you; you live in it, and you keep on living without it.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.9

    We would suggest that if this writer would study the word of God more and the doctrine of the immortality of the soul less, she would not have quoted Paul as saying that Elijah was a man of like passions with ourselves. This simply in passing. But now to our subject.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.10

    If it be true that, “Every child of God goes to Heaven just as much alive as Elijah did,” how is it that nobody does it, nor ever has done it since Elijah did it? If, “Every child of God goes to Heaven just as much alive as Elijah did,” then how is it that every child of God, as well as everybody else, dies? Is it the same thing to die that it is to be translated? Here we set together two passages of Scripture:—SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.11

    1. “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven.” 2 Kings 2:11.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.12

    2. “And Elisha died, and they buried him.” 2 Kings 13:20.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.13

    Now we ask: Do these two passages mean the same thing? Did Elisha go to Heaven just as much alive, as Elijah did? If language is of any use at all; if the power of reason, or of comprehension, be of any worthy whatever; then it is impossible to hold both these scriptures as meaning the same thing—one just as much as the other. It is equally impossible to believe that these words of the Lord, and those quoted from the Christian Union, can both be the truth. And as the word of God is the truth, we know by that, that this from the Union is not the truth.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.14

    There is another statement in the same paper to which we would call attention, this by Dr. Lyman Abbott, in which it is implied, if not definitely stated, that this narrative is not a part of the Bible. He says:—SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.15

    “If any one doubts or denies the truth of the story, it is not worth while to argue with him. The translation of Elijah was a sign to Elisha. The sight was vouchsafed to him. He learned its lesson. That is enough.... It is not right to treat as a rejecter of Christian truth one whose philosophic tendencies make him skeptical respecting such an event as this. The translation of Elijah is a flower embroidered on the edge of the garment; it is no part of the woof.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.16

    We can but wonder how Dr. Abbott knows that the “translation of Elijah is no part of the woof” of the garment of Christian truth. Is it not a part of the word of God? Was it not written for our learning? Is it not profitable? By what right does Dr. Abbott take upon himself to decide how much of the word of God is a part of the “woof,” and how much is not? And it “it is not right to treat as a rejecter of Christian truth one whose philosophic tendencies make him skeptical respecting such an event as this,” then is it right “to treat as a rejecter of Christian truth one whose philosophic tendencies make him skeptical respecting such an event as” the resurrection of Christ. If “philosophic tendencies” will justify skepticism respecting this event or this part of the word of God, why will they not justify it respecting any or all other events or any other part, or even all of that word?SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.17

    Next we have the New York Observer. One of the practical suggestions drawn from Elijah’s translation is this:—SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.18

    “The dead do not slumber in the grave. God’s own go straight to the heavenly place. Elijah went up thither, not to sleep, but to live and serve and rejoice. So do dying saints now pass at once to glory ‘in paradise.’”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.19

    Let us give a scriptural analysis of this.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.20

    1. “The dead do not slumber in the grave.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.21

    “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” Daniel 12:2. “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” “Jesus ... cometh to the grave,” and “cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” John 11:11, 14, 38, 43.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.22

    2. “God’s own go straight to the heavenly place.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.23

    “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart.” “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.... For David is not ascended into the Heavens.” Acts 13:22; 2:29, 34.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.24

    3. “Elijah went up thither, not to sleep, but to live and serve and rejoice. So do dying saints now pass at once to glory ‘in paradise.’”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.25

    The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” “For in death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” Psalm 115:17; 6:5. “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me; and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” “I go unto my Father.” John 13:33; 14:12.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.26

    Reader, which will you believe? the word of God, or the word of man? Will you believe a doctrine to be the truth that directly contradicts the word of God?SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.27

    The Sunday-School Times says:—SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.28

    “The miraculous translation of Elijah only sets before us in a visible appearance what takes place when every true child of God departs.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.29

    And the New York Independent:SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.30

    “Elijah’s translation only slightly differs from that of every Christian. The important part is not that the body is taken up to Heaven, but that the soul is. And that is what we can all hope for.”SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.31

    These quotations might be multiplied but we have not the space, nor, indeed, do we think it necessary. But from these no one can fail to see that there is an utter confusion of ideas, in regard to death and translation. From these extracts from the Sunday-school teaching, it is impossible to tell whether Elijah died, or whether all men are translated. Yes, more, from these it is impossible to tell whether Elijah himself died or whether he was translated. We have often wondered what that man could have been thinking about, who wrote in the margin of 2 Chronicles 21:12, of a certain writing of Elijah’s that it, “was writ before is death”! But since seeing the above extracts from these leading, evangelical (?) papers, we cannot see but that he was just as clear in his estimate as are these eminent theologians of our own day.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.32

    And such confusion of ideas, and of plain Scriptures, in short, such unmitigated nonsense, is taught in the Sunday-schools throughout our land, as being the veritable truth of God. And all this that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul may have free course to run and be glorified. That doctrine cannot be held in harmony with the Scripture; and, that it cannot, needs no better proof than is found in the extracts which we have given. It is a doctrine entirely foreign to the word, the work, and the purpose of God.SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.33

    We will present just one more extract—another from Dr. Abbott—and if anything could show a worse confusion of ideas, than the foregoing extracts display, this must be the thing that does it. It is as follows:—SITI September 10, 1885, page 553.34

    “What light, if any, does this incident throw on the question respecting the resurrection of the body?”SITI September 10, 1885, page 554.1

    Well, we should like to know. We wish the Doctor had answered his own question. We should exceedingly like to know what light could be thrown upon the resurrection of a dead man, by the fact that a living man went to Heaven! True, the Docter [sic.] says, “if any.” Well, is there any?SITI September 10, 1885, page 554.2

    We believe the Bible. We believe that Elijah went up into Heaven; this too, with no hint of death. We believe also, according to the Bible, that when a man dies and goes to the grave (Ecclesiastes 9:10; 2 Kings 22:20; 2 Chronicles 34:26), it is just as far removed from any similarity to that which happened to Elijah, as anything can possibly be. One is life, and the other is death; Elijah went into Heaven, the person who dies goes into the grave. But if death and translation mean the same thing, if the experience of the man who dies is the same as that of the man who never dies, then language becomes useless, reason is made impotent, and the Bible a mass of meaningless phrases.SITI September 10, 1885, page 554.3

    A. T. J.

    Note.—These extracts can be found in the issue of August 27, 1885, of each of the respective papers, except the S.S. Times—in that the date is August 22.SITI September 10, 1885, page 554.4

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