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Miller’s Works, vol. 1. Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology

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    II. I SHALL SHOW WHAT IS MEANT BY THE HARVEST, THE SEVERAL FRUITS OF THE EARTH, AND THE MANNER OF GATHERING IN THE FRUITS, TOGETHER WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF THE VINE

    What is the meaning of the harvest? It has two plain meanings. One is the cutting off of life, the other is the end of the world. In our text it undoubtedly means the end of the world; for “the earth was reaped.” What may we understand by the several fruits of the earth? 1. They are those precious seeds which are useful to God or man. The children of the promise are counted for the seed, that is, the children of faith. This is of two kinds,-the first fruits, which means small children, which are cut off by death in early life, being the first fruits to God and the Lamb. The second are those who are dead to sin, and made alive to holiness, through faith in the name of Jesus and the word of God; their end is eternal life, and they, in due time, or in the end of the world, are gathered into the garner of God. The last fruits, or the harvest of the vine, is the final destruction of the wicked from the earth, by death, or such sore and heavy judgments as God may appoint at the end of the world, to remove the wicked far from the earth, separate the goats from the sheep, the tares from the wheat, and destroy the curse from the earth.MWV1 133.4

    The chapter of Revelation now under consideration, gives us a description of the harvest of the world in these three different ways. From the first to fifth verses inclusive, we have a description of the first fruits, i.e. children not arrived to the age of accountability. Revelation 14:1: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” We in this verse have an account of the whole number of infants saved by the number 144,000, it being a perfect or square, showing, in my opinion, that all those who die in infancy are saved; this having reference to the whole class, up to a certain age, best known to God. Verse 2: “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps;” showing us the occupation of this happy class in heaven. Verse 3: “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts and the elders; and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” This verse shows who they are, first, by the song which no man could learn-it is known only to infants: for man must sing redemption from actual transgression and sin; infants only from pollution and death, inherited from their first parent. The class that stood before the four beasts and the elders do not belong to them, and never did belong to the church on earth; for the “four beasts and four and twenty elders” constitute the whole body of the church on earth. See Revelation 5:8, 9. These “were redeemed from the earth,” not through faith in them, nor have they “golden vials full of odors, which are prayers of saints.” Verse 4: “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.” They did not sin after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, for he was tempted of the woman, and did eat. “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” They have followed him in death up to immortal glory, where they sing a song which you nor I, dear reader, can ever learn, for Jesus was their guardian, and took them home. “These were redeemed from among men.” It does not say they were men; but “redeemed from among men,” being the children of men, and “being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” They dropped into death, or were ripe in early life, like the first fruit under the law; they were given to Christ as a part of his reward for his death and sufferings. “Suffer little children to come unto me,” says Christ; “for of such is the kingdom of heaven;” not like such, but “of such.” Verse 5: “And in their mouth was found no guile;” never was any guile found there, “for they are without fault before the throne of God.” Happy, happy infants! you never, never knowingly or willfully disobeyed a holy God, or crucified or put to shame the blessed Child or Son of God. Weep no more, mothers; your infants are without fault before the throne of God. “Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” What land, and what enemy? I answer, from the land of the graves, and the last enemy, death. “And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” Jeremiah 31:16, 17: “Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” See to it, mothers, that you weep no more for your infants, but weep for yourselves; secure to yourselves that blessed hope which will secure an interest in the first resurrection, where the dead, small and great, shall stand before God. This will be the border of those who have hope in their end, and this will be the border of all infants, for they are blessed and holy, without fault before the throne of God. Psalm 78:54: “And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.” This is the border of the glorious sanctuary which God pitched and not man. These are harvested by death and brought into the garner in early life; not being wilful transgressors, they have no need of repentance, and they could not exercise faith. They are the first fruits of the harvest.MWV1 134.1

    The second fruit. Revelation 14:6: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” In this verse we have an account how the second crop is harvested by the gospel, sent to those who dwell on the earth, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, and those who hear and believe may and will be harvested for eternal life. Verse 7: “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” This verse contains the new song, sung by those who are brought in by the gospel. Verse 8: “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” This verse shows the downfall of the papal power, or mystical Babylon, which was fulfilled in 1798, when she lost her power to rule over the kings of the earth. Revelation 17:18: “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” The first angel in the 6th verse represents the sending out of missionaries and Bibles into every part of the world, which began about 1798. The second angel is the messenger of God, denouncing the judgments of God upon mystical Babylon. Verse 9: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,”-the third angel, which follows the others, is the same as the “midnight cry,” giving due notice to the world of the near approach of the judgment day. He has already sounded the alarm, “saying with a loud voice.” This has sounded from every part of God’s moral vineyard; some in Asia, many in Europe, and multitudes in America, are now sounding the alarm to the world given in verses 10, 11: “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” These verses describe the same events as the last vial of God’s wrath, and the scene which will take place at the coming of the Lord Jesus, with all his saints, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. Why start so, my Universal brother? What aileth thee? You used a bad word. What word, my dear sir? Everlasting destruction. Is it not scripture? Yes. But God doth not mean what he says. Ah! ah! my brother, let me tell you one solemn truth: if your conscience had not been alarming you, and if its thunders had not brought conviction to your mind, you would not thus have started; for words are harmless things. Oh, be warned, my dear sir; let conscience speak, and you will no longer cry “peace and safety, when sudden destruction cometh.” Verse 12: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” While the saints have been tantalized, scoffed at, ridiculed and persecuted, they have had patience, they continued to keep the commands of God, and have believed in the testimony of Jesus. “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Verse 13: “And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” In this verse the blessings of those who die in the faith of Jesus are clearly brought to view: “they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.” They will be rewarded according to their works. Verse 14: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” The Son of man is now discovered sitting on the throne of his glory, crowned with a pure crown of righteousness and truth; having all power to gather the remnant of his people, to reap the last harvest of the wheat, and tread the winepress of the wrath of God. Verse 15: “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” God commands, by his angel, the earth to be reaped; that is, the last of the servants of God to be sealed. We are now living in this last sealing time: the singular means and measures that have been used, the great blessings that have attended these means, the meetings of days, answering to the Jewish feast of tabernacles in time of harvest, the rain of grace that has descended upon these protracted efforts, the withholding of the rain from those churches who would not keep the feast of the tabernacles. Zechariah 14:16-19: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”MWV1 136.1

    The extraordinary spread of the Bible, the conversion of the inhabitants of the islands of the sea, the numerous societies which have arisen within a few years for moral and universal reform, all go far to prove to me that we are living in the time when the angel has “thrust in his sickle on the earth,” and many who are now alive will, no doubt, live to see this angel’s work done—“and the earth was reaped.” The door of mercy will then close forever, and the next angel will come forth to use as extraordinary means to reap the vine of the earth as were used to reap the wheat. Verses 17, 18: “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.” Another angel having power over fire; but as he cannot exercise his power to cleanse the world by fire until the third angel has reaped the vine, he therefore cries “with a loud cry to him that had a sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.” Verses 19, 20: “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press even unto the horses’ bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”MWV1 139.1

    This last harvest is the great battle of God Almighty, when the wicked of the earth will be cut off by famine, pestilence, and the sword; “for with these three will God plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” The whole vine of the earth will be gathered, and cast into the wine-press of the wrath of God. This is the last cup of the indignation of God, poured upon the kingdoms of the earth. Here the kingdoms of the earth, spoken of in Daniel’s vision, will be broken to pieces, and carried away like the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and no place found for them. Then Psalm 2:9 will be fulfilled: “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth.”MWV1 140.1

    Ezekiel 38:19-23 shall then be fulfilled: “For in my jealousy, and in the fire of my wrath, have I spoken. Surely, in that day, there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence; and the mountains (meaning kingdoms) shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him, throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God; every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him (Gog, meaning the wicked or persecuting world) with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone.”MWV1 140.2

    Again, Ezekiel 39:17-20: “And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God: Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves and come, gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice, that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, (pretended christian kingdoms,) that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice, which I have sacrificed for you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and all men of war, saith the Lord God.” These prophecies of Ezekiel, I am confident, are only to be fulfilled after the gospel harvest, and at the time of the harvest of the vine, when God will be sanctified-all nations on the earth will see him, and every tongue confess, and every knee shall bow, when “his glory shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”MWV1 141.1

    All who believe that the harvest of the world is this mundane system, must and will acknowledge, that in the description given in this chapter there is not the least allusion to a reign of a thousand years of great happiness and prosperity before the harvest, before the wine-press is trodden without the city. “O no,” says the modern millenarian, “we do not profess to believe that the wicked kingdoms, and kings, and wicked men, will be permitted to lord it over God’s people then; but we believe that the battle of the kings, and the harvest of the vine, the destruction of war, for ‘the nations will learn war no more,’ must be before our millennium!” Very well, brethren; I ask, what is meant by these words, “and the earth was reaped?” Mr. Cambell says, in his Illustrations of Prophecy, page 378, “As the vintage succeeds the harvest in the course of nature, so it is subsequent to it in the prophecy, and will be by far the most terrible. The figure of a harvest is frequently used to denote the gathering of the righteous, but the vintage seldom, if ever, in the Bible.” What does Bro. Cambell mean? He means that the gathering of the saints is before the destruction of the wicked, in plain English; or it is a “vagary,” and has no meaning. Then, page 380, he says, “This will be the gathering of the clusters of the wicked for the great battle preceding (before) the reign of the saints.” Then, speaking of this reign, page 409, he says, “The SOUL of eminent piety-will live and reign in the persons of Christians during the thousand years, not the bodies of the dead.” But what does brother Cambell mean? say you. There appears to be some darkness in his Illustrations. True; but you never read one of those writers in your life, who did not leave you in greater darkness than before you read their illustrations. Mr. Cambell is the most fortunate of any of their writers, and is deserving of most praise. Why? Because he has said very little on this reign before the resurrection; and if he had quoted all the Scripture, as he has, and then said that little less, his illustrations would have been excellent. But as it is, we hope it will do little or no harm.MWV1 141.2

    But what does he mean? say you. I answer. He, in the first quotation, acknowledges that the first harvest is the gathering of the saints, then afterwards comes the harvest of the vine, which is the destruction of the wicked. Then the SOUL of piety will live and reign in the persons of saints (or Christians) during the thousand years, not in dead bodies. No, nobody can for a moment suppose that a “SOUL of eminent piety can live in a dead body a thousand years.“.” But where does he get his knowledge of this “SOUL?” I suppose he gets his account from Revelation 20:4. John says, “And I saw the souls” (Bro. Cambell says “he saw the soul”) “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.” Bro. Cambell has improved much upon John; he says, “of eminent piety.” What a great improvement is this! Beheading, witness, word of God, worship, beast, image, mark, forehead, hands, all, all left out. John further says, “and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Bro. Cambell says, “will live and reign in the persons of Christians during the thousand years.” Christ, through John, says, “This is the first resurrection.” Bro. Cambell says, “Not the bodies of the dead.” Here, my dear reader, is a specimen of your teachers, that are so highly applauded by all the popes and cardinals in the land. Why? Because he has outdone the pope himself. The pope has made new laws; but Bro. Cambell has in this exposition made new scripture!MWV1 142.1

    Christ says, “The harvest is the end of the world.” Cambell and Smith tell us that the world will not end until more than a thousand years after the harvest. Christ says, “Let the tares and the wheat grow together until the harvest.” Bro. Cambell says, “The wheat shall grow a thousand years after the tares are harvested and burned,” that is, if you and I can understand him. What a plain contradiction between our Savior and these popular writers of the present day. The world, and the proud pharisees, my dear reader, love their own. Anything that will put off the evil day, and “cry peace and safety,” will be accepted by our bigoted editors and worldly-minded priests. But, my dear friends, study for yourselves, be sure you get the mind and will of God. Lay your foundation sure. Let no man deceive you by any means. Many who say, Lord, Lord, shall not be able to enter in; but those, and those only, which do the will of our Heavenly Father, shall have right to the tree of life and enter through the gates into the city. Do not, my impenitent friends, delay the salvation of your souls until the harvest of the gospel is past; and then, in the end, have it to say, as said the prophet Jeremiah, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” AMEN.MWV1 143.1

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