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Heavenly Visions

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    THE TIMES BEFORE APPOINTED

    J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH.

    THE apostle Paul told the Athenians that God “hath determined the times before appointed.” Acts 17:26. This is not only true in relation to the opportunities given to “seek the Lord,” but is also true when applied to the times of his special call to the sons of men-the times when he sends forth his apostles to herald a specific truth for a special time.HEVI 21.3

    The idea is well expressed by D’Aubigne, in his history of the great Reformation of the sixteenth century, when he says: “God, who prepares his work through ages, accomplishes it by the weakest instruments when his time has come.”-“History of the Reformation”, book 2, chap. 1, par. 1.HEVI 21.4

    The Scriptures present a special message to be given, declaring, “The hour of his judgment is come” (Revelation 14:7), and there shall “be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God [the gospel work, Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:9; 3:8, 9] should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:6, 7.HEVI 21.5

    Before the apostles of the second advent of Christ could go forth with such a message, there must be gained by them, from the prophecies, a knowledge of those “times before appointed,” which lead up to the judgment.HEVI 21.6

    To Daniel, who, in his prophetic visions heard the most respecting these prophetic times, it is said: “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.... The words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” Daniel 12:4, 9.HEVI 21.7

    From this language it is not to be understood that the whole book of Daniel was “closed” and “sealed” so that Daniel could get no information from his own prophecies. These words must therefore relate to some definite truths in the prophecy that were to be made clear when God’s time for their accomplishment should come. Daniel was one of the prophets who had searched “what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you.” 1 Peter 1:11, 12.HEVI 21.8

    Daniel then had light concerning the gospel of Christ, and of his work as the real “High Priest of our profession.” To him had been given a view of the great tribulation through which the church of Christ must pass. While having a view of these persecutions, he heard this question and the answer to it: “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation [the two great powers that were to persecute God’s people-the pagan and papal powers], to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden underfoot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:13, 14.HEVI 22.1

    From the time Daniel heard those words, his mind was greatly burdened in regard to this tribulation that was to come upon the Lord’s people. At another time he was told that “some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end; because it is yet for a time appointed.” Daniel 11:35. Still filled with anxiety, and while “searching” to know “when” that sad scene shall close, he is instructed to “shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end”. Daniel 12:4. Still his mind is not satisfied, and in vision he hears one, on the “waters of the river,” inquire, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” The answer is given, but it does not reveal to his comprehension what he so much desired to know; for he says: “I heard, but I understood not; then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 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.... But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:6, 8-13.HEVI 22.2

    This language shows that it was the final termination of these prophetic times, that was then of so much interest to the prophet Daniel. He is told, “Go thy way.” This was virtually saying, You need not inquire any more about this time, it is not in your days; but when the end of the days come,-the close of these prophetic times,-thou shalt “stand in thy lot.” The Review and Herald, May 30, 1899.HEVI 22.3

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