IT MAY BE LATER THAN WE THINK
Br. Wilbur W. Poe
An intelligent survey of this subject demands a review of history, both civil and ecclesiastical, for many centuries in the past, and particularly during the second presence of our Lord.
All Scripture divinely inspired, being profitable for teaching, conviction, and correction in righteousness, we have no hesitancy in declaring all the counsel of God. # 2Ti 3:16.
Our Lord, foretelling evidences that would accompany his second presence in the earth, said he would find a "Wise and Faithful Servant," who would be giving meat in season, whom he would make ruler over all his goods. The spiritually enlightened, through the study of the Word and recognition of fulfilled prophecy, have identified that Servant to have been the author of the Studies in the Scriptures, the Tabernacle Shadows, etc.— # Mt 24:45; # Lu 12:42.
It is believed he also was the Laodicean Angel, the last special servant to the church in the flesh. WHY IS THIS BELIEVED? is a demanding question. It was he that dispensed Harvest Truth, "Making plain upon tables," the vision of the ages. (Hab. 2:2; ## Re 3:14; 10:7) It was he that harmonized the doctrines of election and free grace, and disabused our minds of the diabolical theory of eternal torture for the non-elect. It was he that identified the sounding of the antitypical Jubilee as the message of restitution, which began to sound, at the inception of the great antitypical Sabbath Day, which coincided with the return of the Lord, in the year of 1874.—# Ac 3:19-21; # 2Pe 3:8.
It was he that first recognized that the end of the Gospel Age had been reached, with a great change of Christian work. No longer could one be invited to sow seed, for the harvest was ripe. The time for bringing in the sheaves had come. It again became true that "Other men laboured (in sowing) and we are entered into their labors." However as at the first advent, the message that gleans ripe wheat, from the previous sowing, incidentally is sowing seed for the new age. The harvest of an age always being within the incoming age.—# Mt 13:39; Reprint 5950
It was he that found in the scriptures, God’s system of time measurements, which if changed one single year destroys the harmony, which is the greatest evidence it is of Divine Intention. (Reprint 5367) It was he that discerned God’s method of revealing the length of the creative epochs, through the known measurement of the seventh epoch during which God rested from his creative duties towards his human creature, from the creation of Adam until he shall gain assume the control of the human race at the beginning of the eighth day. # Ge 2:1, 2.
This period has been demonstrated to be 7,000 years in length, and is proven to be correct by historic events appearing at the end of the work-a-day period of 6,000 years, typed by Israel’s Sabbatic arrangement in which they worked six days and recuperated from their weariness on the seventh. This being no coincidence, is proved by the great increase of knowledge, and the lessening of the excessive labor and sweat of face—a part of the original curse. That the creative days were each 7,000 years in length, when considered in the light of fulfilled prophecy, is mathematically demonstrable.
It is the accuracy and the harmony observed in the true Bible chronology which we shall herein demonstrate, as follows:—either shorten or lengthen the long period of time, produces only confusion.
The true chronology indicates that the work-a-day week, allowing for two years of innocence in Eden, ended in the year 1874. If true there should be historical evidence that humanity truly are on the way from, or out of the thorns, thistles, excessive labor and sweat of face that came as the result of Adam’s transgression. One hundred hears ago, humanity were living not too differently than were the contemporaries of Abraham. What has happened? The common laborer today, who is conspicuous by his absence in many of the largest industries, is enjoying in his home, conveniences that Solomon, in all his glory, never even dreamed of. What are they? You name them. For me to do so would take up all my allotted time at this service.
Adam, according to Bible Chronology was created at the juncture of the sixth and seventh days of creation, which by the aid of our knowledge, which has demonstrated the seventh day to be 7,000 years long, was created at date 42,000 years from the beginning of the first day. To this we have added the work-a-day period of the great week, which has indeed demonstrated a great change has silently appeared, at the proper time.
Time features, plus foretold evidences, establish that the long promised Messiah has returned, and is directly responsible for what is happening in the earth. But suppose we should concede that this chronology is wrong (which we do not), and we seek to extend the period just 100 yrs. That seems to be a very simple matter until the great disharmony is discerned.
Let’s assume that the time from Adam’s creation to the end of restitution is a period of 7,100 years, instead of 7,000 so clearly shown in our calendar. 7,100 x 6 gives us the date 42,600 for Adam’s creation. To that we ad the period of the work-a-day week (6,000 yrs.), which gives us a total of 48,600 for the beginnings of restitution, at the presence of Christ, when this long promised refreshing is due. You may ask what is wrong with that? Doesn’t it sound reasonable? Not until one realizes we are only at the date 48, 096 does one begin to sense the error of the theory. Do we realize that if such sophistry is accepted, the Lord would not be due to come for more than 500 years? — # He 4:10; # 2Pe 3:8; ## Re 20:2; Vol. VI, pages 49 and 50.
Human life being so short it is not possible for a succeeding generation to completely sense the experiences of even the immediate past. Think of the advantages we nave over the early church, even when Apostles were still with the. For example, the brethren at Thessalonica, not living when it was possible to measure the times and seasons, because many prophecies had not as yet found fulfillment, apparently concluded the Lord was already invisibly present. That incident serves to show the value of the Bible Chronology.
Paul having more visions than they all, told them the Lord’s return could not become a reality until first there had been a falling away and the Mystery of Iniquity revealed—yet Paul had no idea when the Lord would come.—# 2Th 2:3.
Paul must have been familiar with Daniel’s prophecy which Jesus quoted. Jesus in giving the first evidence of his second presence (using the Diaglott interlineary rendering) said that when you see the Abomination spoken of by Daniel "Having stood" in the Holy Place, then will be time to flee into the kingdom. That indicates there would be considerable question relative to the particular time, right up to the return of the Lord.
This thing that first must appear, has appeared, and has been recognized as having run its course. Daniel said "The judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion to consume and destroy it unto the end." — # Da 7:26. Chronologically and historically, the system came into judgment in 1799, and our Pastor stated that "Since that time there have been separations between church and state but no new unions." He again stated "It has been revealed and since 1799 is being consumed by the spirit of the Lord’s mouth." —Vol. II, pages 353-355; 273, top; Vol. III, pages 39 (foot note); 49, 50; Vol. IV, pages 37, 38, and the large foreword, page VII. Revelation 13 provides a preview of what ignorance, ambition and affluence can do for the professed people of God.
A) The rise of a beastly government, in a time of great restlessness (sea) in the Pagan Roman Empire. The pressures of the time moved the Dragon (civil power) to give its support and its seat of government, to the Beast, moving its offices to Constantinople. Later Justinian decreed that the Bishop of Rome should be the head of all churches. The centuries of warfare between the Bishops and Emperor being set forth in Rev. 12. Justinian’s decree became effective just 1260 years prior to 1799.
An intelligent discussion of the symbols of Rev. requires that we keep in mind the harvest-developed guidelines. (1) "A beast is a government." A church supporting a state, or a state supporting a church, does not qualify—there must be amalgamation; the two elements must be commingled in one entity. (R. 320) (2) A symbol must not be used to teach a doctrine, but to illustrate one already plainly taught elsewhere (Q. Book P. 225, #2) Rev. 20 must be understood in the light of # Isa 9:6. (# Ro 4:17; R. 4609; Vol. I, p. 258) (3) Symbols must be used uniformly. In the use of metaphors the thing said is never the thing meant. Only ideas and characteristics are associated. To unscramble a message from God one must use His symbols. God has only one code book. (4) Nothing should be understood to be typical unless the Bible in some way so indicates. Remember our Pastor’s condemnation of careless type making. A composite Beast arose from the sea (restless condition) to rule over the nations for 1260 years, and was worshipped by all whose names were not written in the Lamb’s book of life. This Beast was supported by ten separate powers.
B) A second Beast with only two horns (powers) arose from the earth (organized society). This became a reality when Henry the 8th assumed headship of the church in England. The new Beast had characteristics similar to the original one. This made the original Beast seem more respectable in the eyes of those not spiritually enlightened. This Beast came into existence close on the heels of Luther’s campaign against Papacy; and Luther’s later acceptance of assistance from the Princes was the beginning of the healing of the wound of the first Beast that seemed unto death.
The great "wonders" of V. 13 were not miracles, but prosperity without the blessing of the Pope, at the time when most all people, considered the Pope on an equal with God. "Heaven" being ecclesiasticism, and "fire" the pressures used against nonconformists.
The success of the second Beast gave spirit to other disgruntled, ambitious would-be leaders. The third entity termed an "image of the Beast" must qualify under our guideline, and did, the earlier Protestants, such as Luther and Calvin, and other, became allied with the state.
Thus the Evangelical Alliance was born in Freemason’s Hall, London, Aug. 19-23, 1846, at a meeting of about 800 delegates from many Protestant countries. The Alliance consisting of various persuasions, adopted a 9-point platform within which all were expected to work. Such humanly established platforms or fundamental teachings, are intended to control the thoughts of the people, and as the Bible states they are ties of bondage. ## Re 13:17.
As I have already stated—it was the Anglican success that gave encouragement to other independents. It was our Pastor’s thought that Anglican group finally would merge with the Alliance, and that he had been awaiting for 30 years a movement in that direction. Bro. Russell in 1913, wondered if recognition of Alliance preachers by the Anglicans might not be all that the scriptures intended, but he expected more—R. page 5349.
There has been more. The World Council of Churches, at Amsterdam, in 1948 with the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the presiding Bishop of the council did not end the fraternization. There have been several, and one in particular, held at Cleveland, Ohio, in l950 where 35,000,000 Protestants adopted the name of National Council of Churches of Christ of America, and presided over by Rt. Rev. Henry Know Sherrill of New York, the Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America, as the first President. It was accompanied with great fanfare, trumpets and a large human cross.
Dr. Ralph W. Sockman, minister of the Church of Christ in N. Y. was quoted by the press as saying, "These church agencies are not weak organizations. . . The Protestant church was never farther from bankruptcy than today—he almost used the words of the Revelator—## Re 3:17; 13:17.
Notwithstanding all this fulfilled prophecy, an impasse has been reached by Bible Students. Some. having lost faith in the chronology, are removing the landmarks, and setting new ones, while others are standing firm on the chronology, but are placing in the future, some things that may have had considerable fulfillment in the past.
While the difference is great, yet in the final analysis, it amounts to almost the same, because it is having considerable effect on recognition of fulfilled prophecy, with some saying the smiting of Nebuchadnezzar’s image has not yet taken place, while other continue to hold that the Church-state institutions are to reappear.
If the iron and clay of the vision represents church and state, it surely has been disintegrating since 1914. And, on the other hand, if the smiting has not as yet taken place, where shall we find church and state kingdoms to smite today-the kings having almost disappeared and church and state is almost a thing of the past. Let’s not forget the Harvest-developed guidelines. An Image of a beast consists of an amalgamation of the two entities. Furthermore let us remember the Image of the Beast is no longer so designated in the last appearances in Revelation—that our Pastor mentioned in the 1912 foreword to Volume IV.
Some seemingly have overlooked our Pastor’s treatment of Psalm 149:7, 8 and # Da 2:35, 44 in the years of 1914. 1915-5 articles on Psalm 149 and 3 on Dan. Q. Book, p. 427, #2; R. page 5451; 5631, 5632; 5804-top.
Evidences accumulate daily that the symbolic Euphrates is indeed drying up, and that seems in harmony with # Isa 34:4; ## Re 6:14. It is a gradual process—the great River Euphrates was not diverted in one single night.
A few evenings ago we were viewing on TV an interview of the Dean of a Western University. She was asked how many students attend church. The reply was "Very few." "Do you attend church?" "Occasionally." "Why not regularly?" "I do not like what I hear when I do attend." She said old standards are Passe," and that the "students might use the Bible for book ends should they find one in their room."
A helpful statement by our Pastor is found on R. page 5854 col. 1, par. 2—"Prophecy was fulfilled on every hand at the first advent, but the disciples did not understand it until later. It may be so here." The Gospels were not written for over thirty years after the cross, , which gave time for understanding some things not at first understood.
The Pastor predicted that the most serious tests might come upon those having the greatest knowledge of Present Truth. (Vol. IV, p. 581, bottom) # Mt 24:24 supports that conclusion—great trials right during the presence of the Lord. Such predictions move me to wonder just how effective a test would be if we had the key sheet, with all the answers. Such a test would neither be fair, honest or effective, and would not be approved in a civil service run-off.
Bro. Russell in 1912 expected the smiting of the Gentile ten-toe members in Europe within 2 years. Someone has changed that to read "few years." When the conflict began he expected the powers there, the princes both church and state to pool their resources in a gigantic attempt to regain and hold together their supposed God-given authority, and he expected terrible persecution. At this point, may we refresh our minds with an-other guideline—"We are to remember. . . that Bible prophecies are rarely understood much in advance of their fulfillment." (Reprint page 5824, col. 1, bottom of page.)
The main fulfillment of Rev. 16, must be found in Europe, the area in which the Holy Roman Empire held control. We never had a king and we could not qualify as any part of an Image of a Beast.
The grinding processes were understood to have begun in Europe. Feb. 1, 1915—"We see the kingdoms of this world being dashed to pieces." Now we are 66 years beyond 1914, and since hind sight is said to be better than foresight" may we seriously consider some historical facts which seem to fulfill, not only the break up of church-state kingdoms in Europe, but the evidence seems to show that it was "the Divine-righters" that were seriously affected and it was the same group or remnants of the ten-toed kingdoms that sought to re-entrench themselves. There was such an eruption as Bible Students were expecting in 1914, and it affected the fragments of the Holy Roman Empire—that cannot be disputed.
The cry for Social Justice soon emanated from the Vatican. Every country in the Western Hemisphere that could be enrolled, had its Father Couglins, Sir Arthur Moselys, Mussolinis and Hitlers. Fascism was incubated in the mind of Catholicism. The plan when it was born, brought to life an amalgamation of church and state elements in the Roman area, which combined Catholic Italy, and Protestant Germany with the Fascist powers, and they conquered almost all the territory once ruled by the church. Hitler having as his pattern Charlemagne, boasted he was building a Reich that would last a thousand years.
Did that bring persecution? Yes! The greatest mass persecution of all time of non-conformists. Countless persons who would not yield to the Devilish spirit which emanated from the unholy trinity, were killed, imprisoned or persecuted, not to mention 6 million Jews destroyed.
Someone may ask—is there any historic record to support the mighty at-tempt to regain authority in the very shadow of Rome? The following evidences are respectful]y submitted: Funk and Wagnall’s New Standard Encyclopedia, Vol. 6, page 359, 1934 edition-"The withdrawal of the French garrison of Rome in 1870 led to the downfall of the Pope’s temporal power, which was restored in name, when Italy ceded Vatican City to Pope Pius VI, Feb. 11, 1929."
Vol. 17, p. 220, "The Lateran Treaty": —"In 1929 negotiations were concluded in Rome for the settlement of the Roman question and a treaty for reconciliation between the Holy See and Italy granted sovereignty and independence to the Pope and a concordat between the Holy See and Italy. The treaty of reconciliation settling the sixty year controversy between the church and Italy was signed in the Lateran Palace, Feb. 11, 1929. The Vatican accepted 750,000,000 lire in cash and one billion lire in Italian State Bonds as indemnity for the loss of temporal power in 1870. . . On Mat 27th, King Victor Emmanuel signed the bill giving effect to the treaty. On July 25th: Pope Pius VI left St. Peter’s to take part in a Eucharist procession.
Vol. 18, page 511 says that Hitler’s principles were those of Fascism.
Vol. 31., p. 506, "On July 8, 1933, the Vatican signed a concordat with Germany.
Adhering to our. guideline, that symbols must be used uniformly, may we not consider this as the possible beginning of the fulfillment of ## Re 17:8? The Beast comes out of the abyss to go to destruction, not to rule again. ## Re 16:16 using different language says the three spirits assemble for Armageddon.
In conclusion, may I say that the long held theory that the Beast that comes out of the. Abyss is "Communism" finds no support from the writings of Brother Russell, and violates the guidelines followed by the brethren prior to Brother Russell’s death.
WILL THE TEN KINGS AGAIN RULE THE EARTH WITH THE BEAST? It is very improbable! The 1260 years being in the past, should ten kings reappear, they must rule alone. It is obvious that John in ## Re 17:12, was reemphasizing the events of ## Re 13:1 —there they did give their power and authority to the bear.
Professor Young renders the "one hour" the "SAME" hour, and they did rule with the Beast, the only time the Scriptures permit such an application—539 to 1799